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

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. Today, we’d like you to meet Monica Dancer.

Tell us about your role at Gallagher

I’m a Business Operations Manager for our UK Retail division, supporting the entire branch network. Our team supports the business in revenue growth and are involved in everything from Standard Operating Procedures, call scripts, acquisition integration, delegated authorities, offshoring, regulatory reporting, audits and more!

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

A part-time retail assistant at Debenhams. Working in the retail industry is tough; you’re on your feet all day and have to put on a smile for each and every customer no matter how rude or entitled they are. It taught me the importance of moving on from a bad experience before you face the next situation.

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

I’m not sure if I should be sharing this but I wanted to be a clown! Some may say I succeeded…

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

Choice. I studied Economics at university so was attracted to a job in financial services but didn’t know which role specifically. Insurance is in the family; my step father is an insurance broker, my grandfather worked for a Lloyd’s syndicate, and my uncle was a claims manager. I managed to secure an internship at Giles Insurance Brokers - before it was acquired by Gallagher - and had a fantastic summer, exposed to a whole raft of internal and external stakeholders. I loved the buzz of the industry and couldn’t wait to get back after my final year.

What excites you most about the industry?

Being part of an industry that makes a real difference, but sometimes we lose sight of that. Insurance helps to rebuild people’s lives when disaster strikes; insurance also supports and facilitates business, and without it commerce could not exist. The industry is steeped in history and yet has to move with the times; with every new piece of technology comes a new insurance requirement and I find that exciting.

What has been your career highlight so far?

Tough question… Last year I was very lucky to be awarded the inaugural CEO award and had a fantastic evening at London’s Savoy. I’m also very fortunate to travel to our Gallagher Service Centres in India, which is always an amazing experience and our colleague hospitality is second to none.

What one piece of advice would you give to your younger self or offer to those just starting out on their careers?

Be patient. We live in a world of instant gratification with Netflix enabling us to binge-watch whole series in a weekend, Amazon Prime delivering our goods overnight, and Just Eat bringing whatever food we fancy right to our doors. So it can be difficult to wait, to just absorb everything going on around you and understand that - sometimes - things take time.

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’?

We need to start educating children at a younger age when gender isn’t a factor in career goals. When children are learning about probabilities in mathematics, it’s the perfect opportunity to introduce the concept of risk and insurance. There is a lot of focus on getting young women into STEM subjects, which is great, and perhaps the financial industry could learn from the work going on in that area.

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

Global company with family values

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

The industry’s ageing population– a large proportion of the insurance workforce will retire in the next 10 years and we need to ensure we have a new generation to fill the gap.

Which three inspirational famous people — past & present — would you invite to a strategic offsite to devise a plan to overcome the industry’s biggest challenges, and why?

It would really depend on the challenge but three people I admire and would love to speak to:

  • Michelle Obama – a determined, intelligent and inspiring woman who has overcome a lot of adversity with dignity remaining true to her family and morals
  • Stephen Hawking – an inspiring man who kept his sense of humour despite his life-limiting condition, and of course it would be handy to have a genius at the table
  • Stephen Fry – knows a lot about just about everything so a useful addition, and seems to have a great sense of humour

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

My family call me Mac. My sister was three when I was born and obsessed with the ice cream van song ‘Yankee Doodle’. She wanted to call me Macaroni and I’ve never shaken the nickname…