Blog

Meet the President – Kieran Dixon, President of The Insurance Institute of Galway

05-Sep-2022 10:28:15 / by Carol Donaghy

Carol Donaghy

Galway-1

Each year our Local Councils appoint a new President. We sat down with our 2022/2023 cohort and chatted to them about their priorities for their year, how they got involved with the council and the benefits to their careers. Here is Galway President, Kieran Dixon's interview.

What motivated you to initially get involved with your Local Institute?

I was lucky enough to have a very enthusiastic colleague, Ann Scott, (a former past president of The Insurance Institute of Galway) in our office in Galway when I first moved here twenty-two years ago. Ann signed me up to the Local Institute in the first five minutes of joining the company and I have loved it ever since and been grateful for the many opportunities and experiences it has afforded me.

When did you decide to join Council and what appealed to you about it?

I joined Council in 2001. Firstly, I loved the collaborative nature of the Council where people from different companies and fields of expertise came together to work for the greater good of all members – I found this hugely inspiring. Secondly, the wonderful (and different!) personalities and professionalism of those on Council was and remains one of its unique and appealing attributes - it is the place to be if you work in insurance!

I’m sure it’s a great honour to be appointed President of your Institute – what does the role mean to you and what will be your main priorities for the year ahead?

On a personal level yes, I am delighted to be appointed President and honoured to follow in the footsteps of my illustrious predecessors, particularly, my immediate predecessor Majella King who did such an excellent job in difficult circumstances over these past couple of years. My priority in the coming year is to re-engage with our membership base – in particular our newer members – I believe this to be especially important as so much of the personal touch was lost during Covid. We will be running a full schedule of events and I look forward to meeting up again with members old and new throughout the year.

Has being involved in your local insurance community benefitted you – if so, how?

Being a member of your Local Institute is a fantastic way to become involved in the local insurance community – it allows you to meet others in the industry, to learn, to engage and to have some fun. There is literally no downside – all of us can only benefit from more involvement with our Local Institute and it can enhance both your professional and personal development.

Starting out in a career in insurance can be daunting, what advice would you give to those just beginning down this path? Do you think involvement with a Local Institute is important at this stage?

I think the earlier you engage with your Local Institute the more it can help you – firstly, educationally – you will start to think of and become more informed on what qualifications you need and how to go about getting them. Also, you will meet mentors and professionals in other complementary fields who can provide you with insight and advice. Lastly, of course socially there are a range of events where you can interact with other professionals and build your network of peers. It is a welcoming, democratic place for all.

Do you think it’s important for the Local Institutes to give back to the local community? Can you tell me about any plans / activities you have scheduled with this focus in mind?

We are part an integral part of the community in Galway, and in that respect, I feel it is important we lead by example. We have always placed a significant value on giving back. This year we are taking part in the “Time to Read” initiative which aims to improve the reading abilities of younger children in disadvantaged schools. The Local Council will also be participating in a “coast clean” initiative where we will be literally getting our hands dirty as we take part in a beach clean-up here in beautiful Galway. These are just two initiatives we have planned, and we will be looking at others, but these two really get to the heart of what we are all about – being part of and contributing to our local community.

Are there any aspects of the local Insurance community that you think have been lost/changed since you started your career (attitude towards education, networking, social)? Is there an opportunity during your year to reintroduce / re-energise some of these?

Well, I suppose the world has changed just a little bit since I started out! However, fundamentally people have not changed, and I think it is important that as much as possible we have as many face-to-face interactions with members this year as possible, particularly after the last two years. I also feel it is important to aim some events perhaps more towards our younger members and to that end I am delighted that we have an Insurance Institute of Galway team taking part in the famous Corinthians Tag Rugby series. Later in the year I would love to see the NxGen (a programme targeted specifically at newer/younger entrants in the sector) interactive quiz come back – a great fun event with an educational twist.

How can members get more involved if they want?

Local members can contact any member of the Local Council for more information. We also send out details to members of all our events and going forward we will have our own dedicated LinkedIn group for Insurance Institute of Galway members. In time we would see this becoming our main communication channel at a local level for interacting with members.