ANZIIF – Rising Stars in Insurance

By Posted on : 21 Mar 2017 0 Comments

“Building long term career success requires individuals to consider themselves as an entrepreneur and their careers as a start-up” – Reid Hoffman, Founder of LinkedIn.

I had the opportunity last week to attend the ANZIIF Rising Stars in Insurance seminar in Sydney, where the topics revolved around:

  • Career ownership
  • Developing strong interpersonal skills
  • Leadership
  • Networking
  • Resilience and managing change
  • Identifying opportunities


The panel of insurance professionals included:

Damien Mu – CEO AIA

Adam Hines – Director and Owner of Aether Insurance & Risk

Chris Healey – Head of Strategy & Operations for Australia & New Zealand at Swiss Re

Daniel Fogarty – Industry representative and ANZIIF board member

Emma Doney – Queensland Manager at YDR Chartered Loss Adjusters

Margot Andersen – Director of talentinsight Australia, Founder of Insync Network Group and Facilitator for the day.

The panel discussed how, with the economy and insurance market changing, it is operating in ‘VUCA’ mode – which stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. The Insurance market is now looking at broader skills outside of just ‘insurance’, and professionals within the industry are not only working harder and longer, but smarter.

Sharing some insights from the Future Work Skills 2020 report from the Institute for the Future for the University of Phoenix Research Institute they touched on the 10 skills for the future workforce which are:

1. Sense-making

2. Social Intelligence

3. Novel & Adaptive Thinking

4. Cross-Cultural Competency

5. Computational Thinking

6. New-Media Literacy

7. Transdisciplinarity

8. Design Mindset

9. Cognitive Load Management

10. Virtual Collaboration

Feeling overwhelmed when we think of our career is very common. We need to keep in mind that we need to be constantly filtering and eliminating ideas if they are not conducive to ensuring you reach your long-term goal.

Career management is something that you cannot outsource; it is something that you need to ‘own’. Partnering with your organisation, finding your voice and talking about what it is that you want will help you to stay on the front foot – too often people can come unstuck and exposed if not proactively managing their career.

Right to Left: Emma Doney, Margot Andersen, Adam Hines, Chris Healey and Damien Mu

Some insights and comments from the panelists:

Damien Mu – CEO of AIA

Damien has always found a sense of purpose in what he does, and likes to make a difference. Although he never thought he would be in life insurance, after he found himself within the industry he felt he found a purpose in his career.  He was making a difference in people’s lives and helping Australians in their time of need. Damien raised the importance of investing in your networks and building an authentic and genuine connection.

Chris Healy – Head of Strategy and Operations at Swisse Re (where 1 in 3 Australians are re-insured)

When asked about networks, Chris answered that personal and professional networks tend to often mould into one.

Emma Doney – YDR Chartered Loss Adjusters

Emma was asked: “how to become the person who people want to follow?” Her answer to this question rang true with my beliefs. Emma said the key was to make your team laugh – enjoy your colleagues company and have a laugh yourself.  Culture is so important for me in my business.

When Emma was asked about her favourite failure, her answer was spot on. She simply stated that she doesn’t believe in failure – failure is defined in a different way for each person. Emma felt it is more about challenges and making mistakes, but that you can always create opportunities and learn from the challenges.

Daniel Fogarty – ANZIIF

Daniel, board member at ANZIIF added to Emma Doney’s comments that failure makes you reassess what’s important for you in life. He really encouraged us to assess:

  • What is important in your life?
  • What are your personal values?


A question was asked to the panel about networking and the importance of managing your career.  The advice from the panel was to:

  • Tell your story
  • Feel the fear and do it anyway
  • Build on the quality and depth of relationships


Walking away from this seminar, I felt that understanding your purpose and finding purpose in your career is key.  Why do you do what you do every day? What is your motivation? But at the same time, understand what is important to you personally.  For me personally, family is a big factor in what I do what I do – the fact that I love what I do is just a bonus. We all get so caught up in our busy day to day work life, that we do not get a chance for some ‘time out’ to have some fun and enjoy our clients’ and colleagues’ company.

In regards to managing your career, play the long game and always keep your long-term career goals in place. We don’t need to be in this on our own, and asking for help is often the first step in understanding how to better manage your career!