Today, we’d like you to meet Shirley Warner, Managing Director Business Change & Transformation, GGB-UK, Specialty.
Tell us about your role at Gallagher
Last year I was asked to create and lead a Business Change and Transformation team for GGB-UK, Speciality. I said yes as being able to make a difference and improve things for the better is my area of expertise; plus I was not ready to hang my boots up quite yet!
I also am an active supporter of Gallagher Gives Back – as a team, we have achieved some incredible fundraising for our local communities, most recently the sponsoring of 2 puppies to receive training and become fully fledged guide dogs.
Tell us about your pathway into the industry
I was born in North London and my parents were publicans, so I was brought up in pubs for most of my life. From a really young age I could pull a pint better than most adults!
Having decided that higher education wasn’t for me, I went to work determined to work hard and build a career that would make my parents proud. My first role was in the Accounts Department at Alexander Howden (that later became Aon). I had the opportunity to progress from Accounts to leading all aspects of operations until I had the opportunity to be part of the team leading the outsourcing arrangements from Aon to Xchanging Broking Services.
From there, in 2012 I joined Gallagher to lead Technical Operations, helping to build a new operating model, prior to me moving to my current position.
Describe what you like most about Gallagher
Gallagher is, I believe, a forward-thinking company that is using its breadth of people expertise to create opportunities to develop future talent, whether that is through their mentoring schemes, talent development programme, like Runway in GGB-UK or the intern programme in the US.
What’s been your career highlight to date?
A career highlight for me was my first senior appointment. I was the first female Managing Director in Alexander Howden Reinsurance Brokers back in the 1980s and being able to share that news with my parents (who were very proud).
What excites you about the industry?
People sometimes ask me why I work in the industry, having being around for 40-plus years, and it is simply because there is still real opportunity to make a difference. I also get to do it working alongside amazing talent each and every day.
How is Gallagher helping women face their future with confidence?
There is opportunity for colleagues at Gallagher, regardless of gender and the training and investment we receive can help us face our future with confidence, whichever direction that takes us.
Personally, I am passionate about helping develop talent and I have over the years, had the honour to coach and mentor some first-class colleagues that have gone onto great things.
I hope that the work we are doing in the Inclusion and Diversity space and our development programmes (which I have been involved with) will create further opportunities and reduce the gaps for under-represented groups.
My Mum was my inspiration - she came to England from Ireland aged just 16 with only her brother here. She built a good life for herself and her family - she is where I get my inspiration and work ethic.