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.
Jolanta (or JJ as she is known) is an honest and passionate team leader at GB. As a Team Leader, she has impressed her colleagues with the dedication and focus that she applies to her work, and the way she motivates and inspires.
Originally from Latvia, JJ immigrated to Australia 6 years ago. She has been with GB since 2017 and has in even that short amount of time, has shown her ability to swiftly become aware of what needs to be done where, and when, and has shown tremendous amount of initiative.
A coworker felt that JJ was a perfect candidate to nominate as an influential female leader, after seeing how she has developed her team, and the success she has had, all while dealing with illness in the past few months.
JJ lives and breathes the GB values. She takes accountability and responsibility above and beyond her role, and inspires her team to do likewise.
We sat down with JJ 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?
I’m from Latvia and when I left there I moved to England. I worked in hospitality for a year, to learn English. My first corporate role was in England as a Motor Claims Consultant.
From there I worked my way up through personal injury claims consultant roles, then I decided to leave England and travel. As a condition of my visa, if I wanted to stay a second year I had to work regionally, so I came to the NT to pick chilies!
I then found a motor accident claims consultant role for an insurer, and moved across to GB when we entered the NT market in 2017. I joined as an Eligibility Manager, then was promoted to Team Leader for the workers’ compensation team.
What does your current role involve/roles and responsibilities?
As a Team Leader my role is focused on developing the team and helping them succeed, achieving their goals and KPIs.
Was it hard to break into the male-dominated industry of insurance?
In my personal experience, no, it was not. It was two men who interviewed me back in the UK and gave me a chance to enter the insurance industry. Both men and women have supported me throughout my career, and I enjoy working in teams where there is a good gender mix.
Were there any challenges you have had to confront? How did you overcome these challenges?
I think females can get better at supporting each other, by encouraging each other to strive for success. There can be a lot of competitiveness between females and, at times, that can be tough. I just want to get in there and do a good job.
How has GB supported you and your career?
I am a single mum, and have no family in Australia, but GB has been like my family and have provided me flexibility so I can spend time with my daughter.
In the past few months I have been dealing with an illness, and GB has been so supportive. I have had the strength to fight my illness because of this support and I have felt so encouraged because of the people here at GB. I work with some very special people.
What is the driving force behind everything you do? What keeps you motivated?
I am a very competitive person! I’m goal driven, so in my personal and professional life I set targets and goals to keep myself motivated.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
I grew up in Latvia, and IWD is a very big day there. The streets are so colourful, and one of the lovely traditions is that every woman receives a flower. Not everyone can be a mum or wants to be a mum, so having a day dedicated to women is a wonderful way to acknowledge, appreciate and celebrate women.
IWD theme for 2019 is #BalanceforBetter. What does this mean for you?
Personally, I want to have a good career and be the best mum possible, and still have my own identity. To have a workplace to support me and allow me to have this is brilliant, it’s a great balance.
Who is a woman that inspires you the most and why?
There isn’t one specific woman. I tend to follow and read about different women, depending on what is happening in my life at that time. I follow people I can relate to, depending on where I’m at in my journey.
What advice would you give to women who are considering pursuing a career within the insurance industry?
Don’t worry about the perception that it’s a male-dominated industry, give it a try! There are a lot of successful women in the insurance industry.
And if you stumble along the way, those experiences can give you clarity on what you value and sharpen your focus on what you want to strive for. Don’t let fear hold you back.
What advice would you give others on how they can best support women in their careers?
We all need to encourage each other, build relationships and learn how to support each other. When you see passion and dedication in someone, help them to share their knowledge and inspire others.