“Enjoy the small things, for one day you’ll look back and discover they were the important things,” wrote Kurt Vonnegut, an American novelist and humorist. When A-Plan Insurance’s CEO Kelly Ogley (pictured) reflected on how she got into the insurance industry, saying that the decision that launched her 20-year career was a simple “either/or.”
“Like a lot of individuals who ended up in insurance, I was simply searching for a summer job to earn some money,” she said. “I went to my local employment center, like you did at the time. I spotted an ad for a job as an insurance filing clerk there. When I was 16, I had no idea where I was headed or what I wanted to do.
“Shell had also given me the first female apprenticeship, something they were quite proud of. However, when I arrived to Shell for the initial meeting, everyone seemed to be a little unclean, while everyone in Swinton appeared to be extremely pleasant. That was all my fault “”sliding doors” moment: “Would I seem clever or dirty?”
Ogley said that when she first began working in insurance, she had no intention of staying long. Instead, she assumed she’d figure out her professional path as she went along, which she accomplished by falling in love with the work in a roundabout manner. It was almost an immediate match made in heaven, from how rapidly things changed to how varied each day was to who she worked with.
She described how a little decision can alter everything, and she considers herself blessed and privileged to have had such a diverse career and to have loved every step of the way. There have been both major and tiny events that stand out in her journey so far. The first was when she originally chose to work in insurance. Then, while working as a broker for Swinton, she was invited to travel to the firm’s headquarters as part of an initiative to reform the way things were done.
“That was very alarming,” she added, “since I didn’t even know what process reengineering meant at the time.” “But I seized it, and that’s what I’d encourage anyone: seize every opportunity that comes your way. And since I accepted that secondment, my career took a totally new turn and became more varied, which I believe has contributed to my current position as CEO.”
It was her first opportunity to try something new, but it wouldn’t be her last. She was cautious at first, but she ultimately grabbed it with both hands. She also said that it is fascinating to observe how all of the many pathways in a career finally come together. For example, his stint as Swinton’s head of acquisitions has paid off handsomely, since inorganic expansion is an important component of A-plan. Plan’s
“Joining A-Plan was a genuine turning point for me, and it was an enormous pleasure to be a part of such a terrific organization with such a great culture,” she added. “Within two weeks of arriving, I told Carl Shuker, now CEO of Howden’s UK and Ireland company, ‘I’ve returned home.'” I’ve felt the same way ever since. That’s all about the culture here, which is something I’m quite interested in: making choices with people in mind. We prioritize our workers and our customers, which makes me very proud.
Being chosen CEO seemed like a logical next step for someone who understood the firm from the inside out, and Ogley was moved by how the market responded to her appointment. Working your way up in a business or profession, she says, offers you a true knowledge of how everyone contributes to the company’s success and allows you to build genuine empathy for your colleagues and peers.
Ogley said that the criticism she has received as well as her personal experiences have showed her how crucial it is to work with leaders who have traveled similar roads to her own. And, when it comes to insurance and attracting the next generation of brilliant individuals, she emphasized the need of believing that having the correct attitude is more essential than having the proper background.
She said that there is no one method to get an education or a job, and that her choice to return to school at night to obtain a Master’s degree late in her career demonstrated this. Professional credentials may be obtained in a variety of methods and at various periods. It is vital to realize that not everyone want to attend college immediately after high school and pay for it.
“We’re trying to find out how to convince more individuals to get insurance on purpose as part of Howden,” she added. “When I ask a new individual who works in insurance how they got there, they always claim they stumbled into it. Few individuals declare that was their ideal job or career objective. We want people to realize what a fantastic sector we have and that they do not have to attend college when they reach the age of 18. Instead, they may come to us and we will train them, making this available to everyone.
She said that it was past time for insurance firms to enter the market and discuss these issues in schools. She considers herself fortunate to have fallen into the position, but she would want to see the next generation of talent choose to work in the industry. It’s a fantastic sector and a real meritocracy, as seen by the careers of individuals like her, Carl Shuker, and David Howden, who all began working in insurance directly after high school.
“The greatest approach to promote the insurance sector is via its employees and the careers they like,” she says. “And when people inquire what you do for a livelihood at a dinner party or other social gathering, you tell them, “I work in insurance, but it’s not as dull as it seems.” There is always a catch. But, in actuality, it’s enjoyable, keeps you moving, and you learn something new every day. I believe that the fact that the industry is always evolving is what keeps us all engaged. But we need to have such discussions because otherwise outsiders would have no idea how dynamic we are.”