Following International Women’s Day (8 March 2019), we’ve been running a month-long series and placing some of our Gallagher women ‘In Focus’.
women in focus julia kenny

From apprentices and team leaders to divisional leaders and Executive Committee members, we wanted to showcase some of our great talent but also highlight the diverse range of opportunities and specialist areas a career at Gallagher can offer. Next up, we’d like you to meet Julia Kenny.

Tell us about your role at Gallagher

I am an Associate in UK Construction, I have recently joined the company and as a team we are looking to significantly develop the UK Construction business.

What was your very first job and what did that teach you?

It was working as a receptionist for a GP and it taught me to always be polite to the receptionist, they have all the power.

Did you have a childhood career ambition — and are you prepared to share it?

I wanted to be a gardener… too much Ground Force!

How did you come to work in risk management & insurance: choice or chance?

Choice. I was looking for insurance grad schemes post-uni and stumbled upon the JLT grad scheme 2 hours before it closed… I was working at a temp office job and grabbed my bag at half 3 to go home and complete the application. In that respect it was chance….

What excites you most about the industry?

I think it is widely recognised that the industry needs to evolve, be that in terms of diversity, inclusivity or technology. I think it will be interesting to watch how different companies respond.

What has been your career highlight so far?

Being chosen to join the team at Gallagher and being part of their ambitious growth plans.

What one piece of advice would you give to your younger self / What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

To treat people fairly.

The insurance industry as a whole continues to face the challenge of an under-representation of women at senior level — what do you believe could help ‘move the dial’?

A continued move towards flexible working, company policies can change easily but it takes a longer time to change attitudes towards flexible workers.

I think once people can be judged on their output and their impact rather than how many hours they can do at their desk, we will see more women reaching the top.

Describe what you like most about Gallagher in 5 words….

Ambitious, empowering, opportunity, inclusive, family-ethos

What do you see as the industry’s greatest challenge?

Attracting and retaining a diverse mix of talent.

Which three inspirational famous people — past & present — would you invite to a strategic offsite to devise a plan to overcome that challenge, and why?

  • Jascinda Ardern to talk about the role of policy in helping people to manage a work life and family life.
  • Inga Beale to explain how she rose to the top and what made her stay.
  • Sheryl Sandberg to share her experience of working in a diverse company and discuss the importance of feeling supported at work.

And finally, tell us something about you which people might be surprised to learn

I have the fastest Park Run time on my team.