Every International Women’s Day, GB recognises and celebrates the accomplishments of the inspiring women we work with. This year we asked our GB fam to nominate an inspiring woman that they work with, and we were overwhelmed with many worthy nominations. After a tough process, nine women were selected to be profiled for 2021, based on their amazing leadership and accomplishments over the past 12 months.
All of the women featured in these interviews will represent GB at the Women in Insurance Leadership Summit.
Meet Michelle Klobas, a trusted, influential, and personable member of the Gallagher Bassett family.
As GB’s Client Services Director, Michelle is responsible for driving high quality partnerships across all GB clients. Michelle’s systematic, consistent and personable approach has had a far reaching impact, on not only the team and wider team, but also our clients.
Described as genuine and true to herself, Michelle’s positive and optimistic leadership characteristics are recognised both internally and externally, as is her immense commitment and dedication to her immediate team, the company, colleagues and clients.
We recently sat down with Michelle to find out more about her.
Do you have a career highlight to date?
I have been very fortunate in my career and have been given many opportunities to develop and grow.
Many years ago, I commenced in Insurance as a claims officer and have been able to progress to my current role at Gallagher Bassett.
When I first moved into a Senior Leadership role, I believed as a Senior Leader we had to know everything, always be strong and be confident in everything we do and have superior capabilities in all aspects of our role. However, my experience has shown me that we all have vulnerabilities, at times lack confidence and can be nervous and we are always learning. I see the greatest skill as a leader is to lead with integrity and mirror the behaviour you want to see in your teams. Showing vulnerability is a strength in a leader.
What motivates or drives your passion for the insurance/risk management industry?
This industry has an array of opportunities available and in my own experience, your personal brand is everything. You are always remembered for who you are, how you behave, and your work ethic.
Our industry is heavily embedded in people’s lives. We can make a real difference to them and their families – a real privilege to be given. We have been given a unique opportunity to help people in many ways. It’s often the little things that make a difference and to receive a thank you from someone you have helped is special.
Would you recommend the insurance/risk management industry for the next generation of women entering the workforce?
My advice to women entering the workforce is to not be afraid to try new experiences as you can do anything you put your mind to. Have a great mentor to help guide you along the way and always remember, you can have a profound effect on someone’s life, directly or indirectly. Be true to your own self and call out behaviour if you think it is not appropriate.
How is Gallagher Bassett helping you face your future with confidence?
I have been with Gallagher Bassett for just over twelve months and what stands out to me is ‘The Gallagher Way.’ It is not just something that is written on a piece of paper, they are behaviours I see being displayed every day.
Being part of the GB family is having someone that supports you and having your best interests at heart. We are a team and can only achieve success together. Over the past year, I had to manage an illness in my family and GB was the first to say “look after your family first and we will manage everything else at work”.
Who is your inspiration or role model?
My inspiration comes from a very special person I met who is in charge of the Trauma Unit at the Alfred Hospital.
Due to unexpected circumstances I met this inspirational female who showed me strength, empathy, vulnerability and compassion. She is always in my thoughts and drives me to the best person I can possibly be.
What does equality mean to you? And what is your commitment to helping forge women’s equality?
Equality to me means treating everyone with respect and dignity.
As women, it is important to celebrate our successes as we often accomplish one thing and move onto the next without taking the time to celebrate and appreciate our achievements. Be proud of what we accomplish and don’t be afraid to outwardly celebrate them.
I recall a conversation I had with a female leader who had a reputation of being difficult to deal with. Post a meeting we had, she pulled me aside and candidly told me she knew her reputation was difficult but felt she had to behave in that manner in order to survive as a female in a leader’s role. Her words have always stayed with me and my commitment is to support women to be true to ourselves and we do not have to act in a manner because we feel we have to because of our gender.