Meet Ellen Warner: Supportive, collaborative Project Manager

Every International Women’s Day, GB recognises and celebrates the accomplishments of the inspiring women we work with. This year, we asked our people to nominate an inspiring female leader that they work with, and we were overwhelmed with dozens of very worthy nominations. After a tough process, eight women were selected to be profiled for 2019, based on their amazing accomplishments over the past 12 months.

All of the women featured in these interviews will represent GB at the Women in Insurance Leadership summit in August. Click here to read interviews from last year's inductees.

Ellen Warner is a Project Manager at GB, and a stellar leader that guides her team by example, showing them the benefits reaped from diverse thinking and collaboration when it is applied to support service design and delivery.

Ellen has filled key resource gaps and taken on big challenges to ensure GB continues to deliver for their customers. She shows empathy and support for her team members and drives culture with her unique sense of humour. When she is absent from the office her enthusiastic presence is missed by her team.

A co-worker nominated Ellen, after recognizing her talent and abilities as a team leader, and a key figure in GB's future.

We recently sat down with Ellen to ask her a few questions.

When did you join GB and in what role?

I first joined GB in 2014 on 6 month contact as an Admin Assistant, while I was still at university. I fell in love with the culture and the atmosphere of GB. I rejoined GB when I finished university 2016 as a consultant for the NSW Workers Compensation consulting team, I am now a Project Manager- responsible for overseeing various projects across the Personal Injury Industry.

What does your current role involve/roles and responsibilities?

As a project manager I am responsible for overseeing various projects across the Personal Injury Industry, ensuring they meet and exceed the clients’ expectations – creating a positive brand image for Gallagher Bassett in the market. In addition to my role, I am studying my post grad law degree.

Was it hard to break into the male-dominated industry of insurance?

I have been fortunate to be placed in team managed by Mark McKie and Kate Fegan, who are both very passionate about equality in the workplace. They strive to have female leaders in the business.

Without them, it may have been more challenging. They’ve been great with supporting me with juggling uni, personal life and work. They allow study days, or work from home days if I’m too sleep deprived to get into the office!

My managers (Mark and Kate) have always given their time to teach me different opportunities, and have focused on how they can support me down the track. GB has been so flexible, and I feel there is a mutual trust and respect there.

What is the driving force behind everything you do? What keeps you motivated?

I am extremely proud to work for GB, and I want to ensure that GB succeeds and builds a good reputation in the market. That motivates me to do my job well.

Variety also keeps me on my toes - I am always learning, which motivates me. Whether it be new legislation, personality of different clients or anything else that comes along, I’m motivated by learning new things.

Who has been the biggest influence of your success?

My managers, Kate and Mark. They have been absolutely wonderful, and true supporters to help me be successful.

Who is a woman that inspires you the most and why?

My mum. She finished uni when I was 16. She was studying full time while she worked full time, all while raising 3 kids. She was always there for us. She always demonstrates hard work and determination, and never complains.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

It’s a chance to recognise and celebrate the achievements of women in workplace and all facets of life. To celebrate how far we’ve come, and focus on how far we still have to go in terms of changing people’s attitudes towards women in the workplace.

IWD theme for 2019 is #BalanceforBetter. What does this mean for you?

When I think of BalanceforBetter, I think it’s about bringing gender equality, not just in the workforce but all aspects of life – for example media coverage in sports, equal prize money etc.

It’s also about balancing the way women are perceived when displaying a certain behaviour. I have seen examples of males and females display the same behaviour and while the female was described as ‘scary and pushy’, the male was described as ‘confident and assertive’. I think we have a way to go in this area, in changing perceptions.

What advice would you give to women who are considering pursuing a career within the insurance industry?

It’s a fantastic industry, I love it. Be confident in yourself. Trust your gut. Don’t be intimidated, give it a crack!

What advice would you give others on how they can best support women in their careers?

Women need to support other women. Treat everyone equally, shouldn’t be any differences, we all should all respect and support each other.

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