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.
A strong and focused leader, Jo has been a team member of GB since 2016. A colleague nominated her, feeling that she fits all the requirements of an inspiring female leader. Dedicated, focused, and hardworking, Jo inspires her team every day. She strives to deliver excellent outcomes to her stakeholders - either herself, or through her team. She combines an excellent balance of a professional approach with a friendly nature that leaves everyone feeling listened to and important regardless of what she has on her plate.
Jo played a key part in the coordination and facilitation of the Catastrophe ramp up whilst still providing business as usual services to the rest of GB Australia. Jo demonstrated strong leadership skills during this time through leading by example and coordinating available resources where possible. Since her commencement at GB she has played a key part in an overhaul of the HR services offered and the way in which the HR team interacts and service their clients (the rest of the business). Through her efforts, she has successfully molded the HR team, and has turned them into a friendly and approachable service for the business.
We sat down with Jo to talk about her career, her motivation, and why she believes International Women’s Day is important.
When did you join GB and in what role?
In March 2016 as National HR Service Delivery Manager.
What does your current role involve/roles and responsibilities?
Currently it’s mixture of being HR Business Partner to corporate services and the Brisbane office, as well global HRIS projects, recruitment and onboarding for start-ups, and overall responsibility for key national HR operational activities.
What has been your journey to get to your current position?
When I left school I didn’t get into uni so I found myself needing to get a job! I was an EA for 8 years, and while working as an EA I started studying HR.
My first job in HR was when I was 25, so I started quite late. I’ve worked in some large organisations in a broad range of industries, working my way up through the ranks to where I am today.
Was it hard to break into the male-dominated industry of insurance?
Fortunately, my role goes across any industry. I guess HR is a traditionally female-dominated field, so I really haven’t faced any issues.
Were there any challenges you have had to confront? How did you overcome these challenges?
Only internal challenges, pushing myself outside my comfort zone.
One example - 15 years ago, I took a job purely because it would force me to speak in front of other people. At that stage I had a fear of public speaking. This job put me out of my comfort zone. I knew if I did not do it then, it would never happen, and would potentially limit my career. So I took the job to face my fears, and it was certainly worth doing.
How has GB supported you and your career?
GB has provided me with the opportunity to take on different challenges, things I’ve never experienced before. I’ve certainly learnt to be more flexible, adaptable and resilient.
It’s also been great to have the opportunity to work for a global organisation; to learn about the complexities involved and get exposure to projects at a global level.
What is the driving force behind everything you do? What keeps you motivated?
Helping others achieve. Whether it be managers achieving results, employees being successful in their roles or the business succeeding - enabling and helping others achieve is what motivates me.
Also the people that I work with (directly and indirectly), they are fabulous people, and a big part of what gets me out of bed each morning.
GB is lucky that we have a very diverse workforce. I love that we do, and we should be celebrating it.
Who has been the biggest influence of your success?
My manager at my last job - Jennifer St. Ledger. She was my manager for 6 years at Goodman Fielder, she’s now Head of HR for McDonald’s. She is such an inspirational, supportive person and a big reason I am where I am today.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
I’m humbled to be nominated for this profile, however, for me, IWD is about recognising all women.
There are so many amazing female leaders and employees within GB. Speaking more broadly, its recognition of women in general and important role they play in society. Whatever that role is - there is a lot of importance in the work that women do.
IWD theme for 2019 is #BalanceforBetter. What does this mean for you?
As a wife and mother, working and juggling home life. For me to be successful at work, I need to balance work with home life. To be successful and productive in both areas, I need to find a good balance.
Who is a woman that inspires you the most and why?
Jacinda Adern, PM of NZ. For me, she embodies what an inspirational leader is – she is intelligent, passionate, kind, and we get to see all those parts of her which are inspirational, especially in the political environment. She seems to be a great leader, we can all learn from her style.
What advice would you give to women who are considering pursuing a career within the insurance industry?
Probably the same advice I’d give to women pursuing a career in any industry. It’s important to have confidence and believe in our skills and abilities and have a go. It’s better to have a go than live with regrets. If you want it badly enough, you can make it happen – it may just take a lot of hard work.
What advice would you give for to others on how they can best support women in their careers?
Treat everyone (not just women) individually. We all have different backgrounds and stories. Use situational leadership. Lead people differently depending on own their own personal situation. Every female will have a different story and different requirements, find out what they are to enable them to be their best in the workplace.