HONAN ON THE MOVE: A Careers Spotlight Series – with Honan’s Shabab Maqsud

Q&A

 

1. Welcome Shabab, and thanks for stepping into the Honan Careers Spotlight! First things first … as a child, what did you want to be when you ‘grew up’?

I wanted to be a pilot! Watching aeroplanes flying up in the sky used to amuse me as a child and I’ve always wanted to learn how to fly a plane and travel to different parts of the world.

 

2. You’re currently the Head of Client Service – Global Benefits,  and an invaluable member of  Honan’s Global Benefits Team. What does this role entail? 

My role involves helping businesses protect their most important asset – their employees. I am responsible for supporting the overall growth and retention strategy of our business whilst ensuring we consistently deliver to a high standard and share the latest insights in this quickly evolving space with our clients and stakeholders. 

 

3. You’ve been in your current role for a few months now, but began your career with Honan as a Client Manager – Employee Benefits. Tell us a little about your journey at Honan – where it started, and how you’ve progressed through the business since day 1 …

My journey at Honan started as a Client Manager in Employee Benefits, where I was responsible for managing a portfolio of clients. Over the years, I took on more responsibilities outside my normal role, challenging some of the ways we approached problems by suggesting alternative ideas and remaining curious and proactive. This allowed me to work with different people and teams and further develop my understanding of the wider business.

 

4. Tell us a little about your personal education pathway/s – what led you to where you are now? How closely do your formal qualifications match your current career?

Having a strong educational background to match the relevant skills and technical expertise is extremely important in our line of business.

I moved to Australia from Bangladesh when I was 19 to study a Bachelor of Commerce at Macquarie University. I was good at Commerce in high school, and I remember looking at photos on the internet of Sydney and how beautiful the city was. I knew I had to get myself here and Macquarie University was one of the best in Australia for international students. I successfully completed my studies there and I’m very fortunate to call this city home now.  

I also completed a Diploma of Financial Planning and an Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning to kickstart my career in this field. 

 

5. What inspires/excites you most about the work you do each day? 

Honan has achieved significant growth and the potential for our continued evolution in the future is extremely motivating. Always looking for ways to improve and seizing the opportunities to contribute and help shape our future is what really excites me about my job.

 

6. In the scheme of career progression, what is one of the most challenging obstacles you’ve come up against? How did you overcome it?

At times, one of my biggest obstacles has been responding to things I’m not sure of by overcomplicating them in my mind, which can lead to self-doubt. I am extremely lucky to be surrounded by great leaders in the business who I have approached in these moments. They have helped guide me in the right direction and encouraged me to back myself.

 

7. Noting career ‘success’ is often underpinned by leveraging strengths and superpowers … tell us, what’s one of yours?

My resilience is my biggest strength. I never give up!

 

8. Magic happens when organisational and personal purpose collide. What is it about Honan that keeps you coming back each day? 

I am a ‘people’ person and so finding the right culture and team was very important to me. At Honan I have found both. I work with very talented people who are incredible human beings, and they are definitely a key reason I come back each day!

 

9. If you could share one piece of ‘career’ advice with your younger self what would it be?

Be patient and remember to enjoy the journey.

 

10. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live tomorrow.” What’s next on your learning agenda?

I love helping my family, friends, and colleagues around me to become the best versions of themselves. I am interested to take this into the business world and learn how to lead and manage people in supporting the overall growth strategy of our business.

 

 

Discover more in the HONAN ON THE MOVE series

Meet our Head of Client & Operations | Honan Life Insurance Group – Katherine Beards

Q&A

Katherine Beards – Head of Client & Operations | Honan Life Insurance Group

Office: Melbourne

Joined Honan: July 2016

 

 

A quote capturing your approach to your role

“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” Dwayne Johnson

 

Tell us about yourself

Before joining the Honan family, I worked in Superannuation for 5 or so years. There is a lot of cross-over between these areas, so the switch to life insurance was fairly seamless. A personal experience made it abundantly clear to me the importance of having an adequate personal insurance safety net in place. This first-hand experience is where my passion stems from.

Outside of work, I have a wonderful husband and two young boys who love basketball. You can usually find us having a game of 2v2 at the local courts on the weekend. I’ve also recently completed a Bachelor of Business (Financial Planning) which I’ve been working on part-time for the past 5 years, and I am thrilled to have achieved that!

 

What does the Head of Client & Operations do?

Together with the broader team, I work with Honan Life’s financial advisers to ensure our processes are efficient and our compliance requirements are met. This involves overseeing the underwriting and implementation process and making sure all advice documentation reaches our clients in a compliant manner. I am responsible for the relationships we have with the insurers, which allows us to continue to deliver quality advice and outcomes to our clients.

 

What are the 3 things you find most motivating about your role?

Having clients walk away in a better position than when they first came to us. This could mean saving on premiums or having a well-rounded, more comprehensive insurance portfolio to support them.

Genuinely making a difference for our clients during times of vulnerability. We see this firsthand when a claim is paid out. The sense of pride that follows when the financial pressure is alleviated for a client (allowing them to focus on their recovery), is a true privilege.

We have such a close-knit team with a wealth of experience, as well as a vibrant and positive culture, so every day is different!

 

At Honan, our values form the foundations of our unique culture. What is your biggest learning from your time at Honan Life?

It’s refreshing to work for a company where our clients are at the forefront of everything we do. The drive to do better for our clients makes me incredibly proud to work at Honan.

 

Your core focus for the year ahead at Honan Life?

Empowering our team with additional tools and knowledge to further enhance our capabilities. I’ll also be focused on fine-tuning our operational efficiency, resulting in better outcomes for our clients.

 

Recommended further reading / a great online resources/a podcast?

The Smiling Mind App is an excellent resource to have on hand for quick and easy meditation and mindfulness exercises.

 

Meet our Operations Manager, Underwriting Facilities & Strata – Matthew Henderson

 

Meet Travis Gauci – BRIC’s new Head of Professionals

Q&A

Travis Gauci – Head of Professionals, BRIC

Office: Melbourne

Joined Honan: August 2021 

What quote captures your approach to your work/leadership/life?

Forever the student” Sensei – Patrick Pinto.

To me, this means no matter what you know, remember to stay humble, and if you stop learning then you will be left behind.

 

Tell us about yourself

My first introduction to the insurance industry came from working at the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF) during university. This gave me the perfect introduction to a career in insurance and I pursued a Graduate role with insurance firm Willis. I worked in the Financial Lines Corporate team before transferring to Commercial Risks. I found the technical complexity of SME risks to be just as fulfilling as their larger counterparts, especially when addressing entire portfolios or even entire professions. I joined Gallagher, managing schemes and Facilities, primarily specialising in Professional Indemnity, Management Liability, and Cyber products. Most recently, I led a team of underwriters at Chubb and oversaw the digital distribution of their Financial Lines products. While I have been consistently focused on Financial Lines products, I have enjoyed approaching these risks from a broad number of perspectives spanning technical analysis, client service, portfolio management, systems and efficiencies, underwriting, and business development.

The silver lining of Melbourne’s lockdowns is the opportunity to spend a lot more time with my loving family. My two girls with a third on the way keep me very busy. Outside of work I’m a novice martial arts enthusiast, currently focused on kyokushin karate. I’ve also developed an interest in crypto currencies and blockchain technologies, and have enjoyed exploring both the technical innovations, and the disruptive changes these technologies herald.

 

You have just started in your new role with BRIC, can you share with us a little about what specialist skills and experience (your special sauce) you will bring?

The experience and skills and relationships already in the BRIC business are seriously impressive. My task is to leverage the collective capabilities within BRIC and the resources of Honan to amplify the talent that exists!

 

You have had an extensive career. Can you give us a highlight that stands out?

I could tell you about some hard-to-place risks that were highlights, but actually, what I am most proud of was leading a multi-state team at Chubb through the challenges presented by COVID and helping them to feel supported, understood, and engaged. Being virtually invited into my team’s homes really amplified the human aspect of work, and the fact that everybody was facing different challenges and a lot of listening was key.

 

For those that may not be aware, can you explain what the purpose of your role as Head of Professionals at BRIC is?

Working in what is arguably the hardest area to place insurance (coverage for building surveyors and engineers), the purpose of my role is to assist clients and work with our insurance partners to satisfy their requirements at the same time – and delivering all of that in a transparent way. I’ll also be focused on fostering talent and looking for opportunities to help my team develop and excel.

 

You have worked across Financial Lines insurance for SMEs through to large complex risks for ASX-listed companies and international corporate businesses, what is the biggest change you’ve seen in the Insurance industry in the last 5 years?

There has been a drive for efficiency and digital distribution, but concurrently, there have been significant changes in the risk landscape (e.g. climate change, cladding crisis, regulatory changes, growing cyber risks). This creates a tension for insurers and brokers to simultaneously streamline processes, while needing more information from businesses to address these emerging risks. Let’s call finding that balance an industry wide work in progress.

 

What was it about this opportunity that drew to join BRIC and the Honan family?

Securing insurance for complex and hard-to-place risks is incredibly energising and the societal good of the building industry has always appealed to me. The ability to work in that area of risk, coupled with the calibre of the BRIC team and the energy and resources within Honan and contributing to the synergy of the two was literally impossible to say no to!

 

What is your core focus for the year ahead at BRIC?

I’ll be amplifying the technical capabilities within BRIC via the resources and professionalism of Honan. I’ll be adding the sizzle to the existing BRIC offering!

 

Finally, can you provide us with a recommendation. A book /a series /a podcast?

Jimmy Rees’ Meanwhile in Australia series on YouTube has provided a lot of laughs lately!

 

Meet our Head of Client Service, Newcastle/Hunter – Dominic Brettell

 

Meet our Head of Client Service, Newcastle/Hunter – Dominic Brettell

Q&A

Dominic Brettell – Head of Client Service, Newcastle/Hunter

Office: Newcastle

Joined Honan: January 2011

 

A quote capturing your approach to your role

Deliver on your promises.

 

Tell us about yourself

Growing up in country NSW, I moved to Sydney when I was 15 and I now live in Newcastle, which is the perfect mix of regional, coastal, and urban settings. I’m a family man with a wife and a 2 ½-year-old son with another on the way. I love sport, especially basketball (despite the two torn ACLs I experienced while pursuing this passion!)

Prior to insurance, while completing my Business degree I worked in child welfare, caring for at-risk youth in residential care settings. It was a challenging, eye-opening experience working with marginalised kids and their families and it gave me perspective on life. I left welfare, motivated to gain expertise in the corporate world and to bring these experiences back to the welfare/NFP sectors later in life.

Since joining Honan in 2011, I have worked in Real Estate, Strata, and Corporate insurance. I’ve also overseen our Claims and Workers’ Compensation teams and helped develop our partnerships capabilities. Now, I provide Honan services to the Newcastle/Hunter and Central Coast region, expanding our presence in regional Australia.

 

What does the Head of Client Service do?

My current role in Newcastle is less than 12 months old so it is like starting a business, albeit with the support of an international brand and a blueprint from previous expansions into capital cities.

Initially, my role focused on developing a business plan and strategy for Honan’s expansion into the region, which has now progressed to the implementation stage. This involves new business and partnership development, building Honan’s brand presence in the region, servicing existing clients, and providing insurance learning and development opportunities to the business community.

 

What are 3 things you find most motivating about your role?

  • I have a great passion for meeting people and learning about different businesses. Many business people don’t have time to properly address their risks and/or do not fully understand the advisory role of an insurance broker. I find it very motivating to play my part in the success (and protection) of businesses through the work Honan does.
  • Growing up in a country town, I witnessed firsthand the importance of community. In my new regional role, I am driven to support the local, school, and business communities which are very much intertwined in regional Australia.
  • Being part of Honan as it has evolved over the last decade is a source of pride. We have a fantastic team and working remotely with my colleagues motivates me every day.

 

Noteworthy trends?

Prior to 2020, vast numbers of Sydneysiders were relocating to regional and coastal towns for the lifestyle, and COVID-19 expedited this trend. Simultaneously, the sophistication and size of businesses in regional Australia, coupled with population growth has driven demand for products and services that were previously only available in the capital cities. Much of this change has been enabled by technology and I expect this trend will continue. Honan saw the opportunities in Newcastle/Hunter, the largest regional economy in Australia.

 

The biggest learning from your time at Honan?

The value of persistence and the importance of good people. We spend more time with our colleagues than our families (at least we used to), so having people around you who share the company values and contribute to its culture is essential. The right people make persisting through challenges, achieving high standards (and enjoying yourself along the way) that much easier.

 

Your core focus for the year ahead?

To connect with as many people in the region as possible, to learn about their businesses, and find opportunities to add value.

 

Recommended further reading / a great online resource /a podcast?

I always recommend spending more time with your family and friends. That’s what is most important.

 

Meet our Operations Manager, Underwriting Facilities & Strata – Matthew Henderson

 

Honing-In on Our Teams: ProEx

Q&A

 

1. THE CRUX OF WHY YOUR TEAM EXISTS?

Our team of financial lines insurance specialists negotiate insurance placements and provide tailored advice and risk management solutions to Professionals and Executives.

 

2.  A QUOTE TO CAPTURE YOUR TEAM’S ETHOS?

“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” ― Phil Jackson

 

3. IF WE WERE A SPORTS TEAM, WE’D BE CALLED …

Aces, because we go above and beyond for our clients to achieve the highest results.   

 

4. GIVE A SHOUT-OUT TO A CLIENT  YOUR TEAM IS PARTICULARLY INSPIRED BY RIGHT NOW, AND WHY?

Our ASX-listed client Nearmap is an Australian success story and a pioneer in the field of aerial imagery. Nearmap is a market leader in high-resolution aerial imagery, using artificial intelligence to provide on-demand verifiable insights for their clients at scale. Their service also aids Government and relief authorities following natural disasters, providing post-event captures to support response efforts. Nearmap’s images are several times clearer than those available from satellites, and with planes only capturing the Australian mainland every few months, Nearmap gives businesses access to the latest, clearest imagery to help them do their jobs.

 

5. REFLECTING ON THE YEAR TO DATE, HIT US WITH YOUR TEAM’S TOP 2 HEADLINES.

Becoming the regional member of the global TechAssure network, complementing our specialist offering in the Technology sector. Comprised of brokerages that are peer-reviewed and vetted for their expertise, the TechAssure network provides market-leading risk management tools and information to our technology clients.

Partnering with our new Honan RE Singapore Placement Team to access offshore insurance markets on our large complex placements.  The launch of Honan Re came at an opportune time when the market needed additional capacity, enabling us to offer clients coverage that meets their changing circumstances.

 

6. HONAN’S ‘WITH YOU ALL THE WAY’ BRAND PROMISE IS ONE WE’RE PROUD TO HONOUR IN BOTH OUR DEALINGS WITH CLIENTS, BUT INTERNALLY ACROSS THE BUSINESS TOO. WHAT DOES ‘WITH YOU ALL THE WAY’ LOOK LIKE WITHIN YOUR TEAM? 

“With you all the way” means working together to achieve the best outcome for our clients, whether it’s discussing emerging trends, using our collective knowledge, or managing strategic relationships to develop solutions for hard-to-place risks.

 

7. IF YOU COULD PICK ONE BRILLIANT PERSON – DEAD OR ALIVE – TO JOIN YOUR TEAM, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

Cathie Wood – founder, CEO, and CIO of Ark Invest, an investment management firm. Wood was named the best stock picker of 2020 by Bloomberg News. She would be the perfect addition to the team because not only is she incredibly persuasive in her arguments, she has the proven results to back up her discerning claims. 

 

8. LOOKING AHEAD, WHAT IS YOUR TEAM MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO OVER THE NEXT 6-12 MONTHS?

We look forward to seeing our clients and key insurer partners when COVID-19 restrictions ease. Maintaining these strong relationships with trusted partners enables us to continue to deliver competitive solutions for our clients.

 

 

Meet the Honan Global team here

 

Risk & Reward with Australia’s Emma Jeffcoat

Q&A
Former Surf Life Saver, Ironwoman turned Professional Triathlete (and Registered Nurse), Australia’s Emma Jeffcoat is equal parts resilient, focused, and community-minded. She is also one of six triathletes preparing to race the individual and teams relay events in Tokyo this month.

Ahead of her departure, Emma visited Honan HQ for a chat with our CEO Andrew Fluitsma and COO Laurence Basell. Sharing her incredible journey to date, Emma covered the benefits of exercise for mental health and wellbeing, and the biggest risks she has taken to get this far.  

 

FIRST UP, QUALIFYING FOR A SPORTING EVENT OF THIS CALIBRE IS NO EASY FEAT! WHAT WOULD YOUR TEN-YEAR-OLD SELF THINK OF THIS ACHIEVEMENT?

 

She would think it was a dream come true, literally! A true sports fanatic, I played so many different sports as a kid, always watched the Olympics and my family is very competitive. To know I’d made that dream come true would blow my 10-year-old self’s mind.

 

 

WHAT FIRST DREW YOU INTO THE WORLD OF TRIATHLON? DID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO BECOME A PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE?

By the end of high school, I knew I wanted to be a professional athlete on an international level. I remember being challenged on this at high school. People would say “What happens if you’re not good enough?” or “What happens if you break a bone?”. My response was always “Yeah, but it’s what I want to do, it’s my dream”.

Any time you win a race on the circuit, it’s just incredible. It’s what you go out to achieve every time, but quite often the stars don’t align.

 

For me, winning cements the belief that you can be the best, and when you pull it off, it’s so surreal! You just think “I actually made this happen”.

 

 

 

 

Nothing beats that feeling after a good race. Then you go back to training the next day and think “ah, back to work!”

 

HIT US WITH YOUR TOP THREE CAREER MILESTONES TO DATE.
  • Lately, it’s been making the Australian Team! Someone told me the other day that in its 21 years as an Olympic event, I’m around the 20th female to make the Team. For a country with such high-quality triathletes over this period of time, I feel even more proud.
  • Making it to the World Championship podium Mixed Team Relay in 2019.
  • My World Cup series wins in Mooloolaba (Australia), Chengdu (China), and Tiszaujvaro (Hungary).
CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR TRAINING SCHEDULE?

Physical training alone is around 35 hours a week – that involves six swims, six runs, five rides, three gym sessions, and three Pilates sessions. On top, there’s treatment and recovery – physiotherapy, massage, seeing an acupuncturist or chiropractor. Then there are additional things like seeing a dietitian and doing meal prep, which is a big part of my day, starting the day prior! It’s also important to get enough sleep and stretch…so it’s definitely a full-time gig! I try to keep myself balanced though. I’m not someone who thrives when I’m completely triathlon focussed, so I still do things I enjoy like seeing friends and going out for dinner, but I tone that down ahead of races. If I were to treat myself, it would be going out for pizza and an ice cream later!

 

HOW HAVE YOU MAINTAINED FOCUS AND MOTIVATION IN THE FACE OF DISAPPOINTMENT AND SETBACKS OVER THE YEARS?

Especially after the uncertainty over the last 18 months, a lot of people have asked how I stay motivated.

It’s funny because even though this epic event was delayed, I never once questioned whether I’d be motivated to keep at it. That really made me realise how much I love the sport and the work I put into it. For me, the motivation comes from genuinely wanting to be the best version of myself in what I do.

There are some days that I’m not feeling it and I struggle to get out of bed, but for the most part, my motivation is to be better than the me I was yesterday and not to compare myself to others. It’s really easy in individual sports, but what I have learned through injuries and challenges is that comparing yourself to someone else steals the joy out of the sport, and you start devaluing yourself.

 

HONAN HAS IMPLEMENTED A WELLBEING PROGRAM AS PART OF ITS SOCIAL IMPACT STRATEGY, AND YOU RECENTLY JOINED IN ONE OF OUR INITIATIVES AS WE LAUNCHED OUR NEW CYCLING KITS. COULD YOU SHARE SOME OF THE BENEFITS EXERCISE HAS HAD FOR YOUR WELLBEING?

Exercise influences whether or not I have a good day. I always feel better after I do it. You might be having a bad week, but if you make a start, whether that’s going for a walk for a coffee or a swim, a ride or run, whatever that looks like, you’re guaranteed to feel better afterward. Even when some days feel overwhelming, after making a start and getting some fresh air, you can generally feel able to get through what lies ahead.

 

WE OFTEN TALK ABOUT PERSONAL, PROFESSIONAL, AND SPORTING ACHIEVEMENTS IN TERMS OF RISK AND REWARD. WHAT’S THE BIGGEST RISK YOU’VE TAKEN IN YOUR CAREER TO DATE AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN?

At the end of 2019, I moved to Melbourne. I’m such a home and family orientated person and I’ve always lived in Sydney. I wanted to be coached by Danielle Stefano (based in Melbourne), but to do that required relocation. My life was in Sydney, I had just bought an apartment, I was working casually as a nurse, and I didn’t know many people in Melbourne. Faced with this choice, my Dad told me to lean in and go for it.

Whenever I feel cautious about something, I’ll look at the options, and where I can, I lean into challenges. Even if it doesn’t work out, at least you’re not left with questions or regrets.

Making the move was the best decision and the risk paid off. The improvements my coach Danielle and I have made together have been unbelievable.

 

 

AT HONAN, WE’RE ALWAYS INSPIRED BY THOSE WHO EMBRACE INNOVATION AND THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY. WHAT ROLE DO INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY PLAY IN YOUR PERFORMANCE AND TRAINING?

The biggest change has been to our bikes. The technology in the bikes is so impressive in terms of aerodynamics – the wheels are disc wheels instead of rim brake wheels, the marginal gains you can make through knocking 100 grams off here, or changing your setup on the bike means you can improve your pace by up to 5km/hr because your shoulders are more tucked. For running, it’s the famous carbon plated shoes. It’s like running on a trampoline.

Coming from winter in Melbourne, acclimatising to the conditions in Japan will be a big adjustment, but the technology we have makes this more manageable. I’m currently training in a chamber that’s set at 35 degrees, with 70-90% humidity. It’s really tough!

 

COVID RESTRICTIONS MEAN THIS GLOBAL SPORTING EVENT WILL LOOK A LITTLE DIFFERENT, WITH NO CROWDS, LIMITED GATHERINGS, AND TIME SPENT WITH YOUR TEAMMATES. HOW ARE YOU PREPARING FOR THIS?

For triathlon, it’s less of a factor than swimming or athletics. For us, there often aren’t large crowds because we travel long distances. What will be hard is adjusting our expectations. Our friends and families won’t be there to support and celebrate with us, and it will be a fortnight until we can see them. We have an awesome triathlon team though, and we’re very close. My coach is coming over too, which makes a huge difference!

 

MAINTAINING QUALITY CONNECTIONS WITH OUR PEOPLE, PARTNERS, AND THE COMMUNITY SITS AT THE HEART OF WHAT WE DO AT HONAN. WHAT RELATIONSHIPS & CONNECTIONS HAVE BEEN CRITICAL TO YOUR SUCCESS?

My family and friends are my support. Although some of them don’t quite understand what I do, they back me 110% and that means the world to me. If I have an average race, my friends just give the best advice and say, “Well there’s another race in two weeks”. It definitely puts things in perspective! My coach Danielle has been amazing. On days where I don’t back myself, she reminds me why she backs me and challenges me to be the best version of myself. She’s been pretty instrumental over the last two years.

 

WHAT’S ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE TO SOMEONE CURIOUS ABOUT GETTING INVOLVED IN TRIATHLON?

You don’t have to be amazing at all three legs! I wasn’t, I could just swim, and I’d never ridden a road bike! Honestly, just give it a go and have fun with it. Find a group of like-minded people, give it a crack. It is quite addictive. Triathlon is challenging, so set a goal, enjoy the process and the feeling…you’ll know what I mean once you do one!

 

YOU’RE HEADING OFF SHORTLY, TELL US WHAT THE NEXT TWO WEEKS WILL LOOK LIKE?

We’ll taper from this week, so the total time and distance in training will decrease a bit. This allows you to freshen up so by race day you’re energised and ready to go.

We fly out this week, (with regular Covid testing in between) and will be living in the village. Racing for the women is on the 27th and the mixed team relay is on July 31st. Then we’ll be out in 48 hours, so the time will fly. I just want to make the most of it because it’s going to go so quickly.

 

THREE WORDS TO CAPTURE HOW YOU’RE FEELING RIGHT NOW?

Proud. Humbled. Stoked!

WHAT DOES SUCCESS LOOK LIKE TO YOU IN 2021?

My Dad asked me that the other day. It’s not about the outcome.  It’s about walking away from the experience knowing I gave 100% on the day. One thing I’ve learned from listening to former Olympians is that while they realise what an accomplishment it was in hindsight, they were too stressed or focussed or hard on themselves that they didn’t enjoy the experience at the time.

Representing Australia is a huge achievement in itself! I race best when I’m comfortable, relaxed, and out there to have fun. I know I’m going to give 100% on race day and there’s not much more that I can ask of myself!

 

Discover more in our Q&A Series: Catapult Sports.

 

Photography by: Stef Hanson Productions

Meet our Financial Controller – Carolyn Wenger

Q&A

 

Carolyn Wenger Financial Controller

Office: Melbourne

Joined Honan: February 2018

 

A quote capturing your approach to your role

“Luck or success is what happens when preparation meets opportunity” – Roman Philosopher Seneca.

 

Tell us about yourself

I spent the first five years of my career at Ernst & Young in audit and assurance, working with clients in the Minerals, Energy & Utilities sectors.  Having completed the Chartered Accountants program, I moved to London for two years, where I worked in a financial accounting role at Shell London.  This was one of the most amazing experiences of my life!  After returning to Melbourne, I spent over ten years at Spotless Group Ltd as the Corporate Accounting Manager.           

I come from a place of ‘say yes’ and ‘go away and figure it out later’.  This approach to new challenges has given me experience across statutory reporting, accounting for acquisitions, and systems migration.  In fact, it was my expertise in these areas that that led to me being offered this role at Honan, with my first project being the migration of the financial accounting system to Oracle.  

Outside of work, I love spending time with my husband and my two children, who will be off to high school in the not-too-distant future.  We enjoy going to the beach and catching up with family and friends. 

 

What does the Financial Controller do?

  • I oversee the day-to-day operations of the Finance department across all regions (Australia, Asia, and New Zealand). I ensure Honan meets all its financial and regulatory compliance obligations to maintain our Australian Financial Services Licence.
  • Together with the COO, Laurence Basell, and the wider Finance team, we provide timely financial results to the Brokers, Management, and the Board to enable decision making.
  • There has been a focus on merger and acquisition activity and the resulting integrations have been keeping us busy!

 

Noteworthy trends?

The world is demanding more data in shorter timeframes and in more formats to make decisions in real-time.  There is a convergence trend of finance and operational data, and the lines between finance and operations are blurring. We have moved our systems to open, cloud-based applications, to ensure data can be shared and analysed.  This allows the team to leverage data and analytics tools including Tableau and PowerBI.  This trend is expected to increase in the coming years, and we are extending the reporting and availability of data.

We see a trend, post-Covid, of staff continuing to want the flexibility of working remotely, and therefore the availability of remote, cloud applications for staff to work anywhere and anytime is critical.  This is particularly important in Finance as many roles can be performed remotely and to ensure we can attract and retain the best talent, this flexibility is a must. 

 

What do you find most motivating about your role?

  • I genuinely enjoy coming to work and I am very lucky to be supported by a great team who are enthusiastic and willing to learn. Coaching our junior staff and watching their development is a real highlight for me.
  • I’m passionate about my work (even though it’s accounting) and I am always striving to make efficiency improvements.
  • There is always a new challenge around the corner!

 

Biggest learning from your time at Honan?

I have never been one for planning my career journey too far ahead – I have felt fortunate to have a great job and raise my children but working at Honan has allowed me to dream bigger. I have since discovered that with the right support to encourage me to grow and have more confidence, my career development opportunities are limitless.

 

Your core focus for the year ahead?

  • Right now, it’s on the year-end audit process!
  • Implementation of our new broking platform.
  • Embedding enhancements to our reporting capabilities, which will empower all parts of our business.

 

Recommended further reading?

Patricia Cornwall – “The Kay Scarpetta Series” – crime novels that centre around a fictional, brilliant, forensic pathologist.  I discovered these books in my late teens and I am very excited that the 25th book, ‘Autoposy’ will be out later this year.  This will be going on my Christmas wish list!

 

Meet our Head of Client Service (QLD) – Adam Richardson

 

Q&A with Circle In Co-Founder, Jodi Geddes

Employee Benefits

Meet our innovative new Honan partner – Circle In, offering a leading global HR platform to support working parents and caregivers.

Co-Founder, Jodi Geddes shares the latest insights on employee wellbeing, the importance of supporting working parents, and exciting trends to watch in the Employee Benefits space.

 

Honing In on Our Partners: The Australian Private Hospitals Association

Medical & Health
The Australian Private Hospitals Association (APHA) is the peak national body for private hospitals in Australia. As APHA’s Insurance and Risk partner, we spoke to CEO, Michael Roff about the network’s evolution, and the challenges they anticipate for the term ahead.

 

THE CRUX OF APHA?

Ensuring the ongoing sustainability and continued development of the private hospital sector in Australia.

 

REFLECTING ON THE LAST 5 YEARS, HIT US WITH APHA’S TOP 5 MILESTONES.

  • Securing a $1.3 billion private hospital COVID viability guarantee from the Commonwealth Government.
  • Addendum to the 2025-2025 National Health reform Agreement to limit public hospitals harvesting privately insured patients at the expense of public patients.
  • Participation in Private Health Ministerial Advisory Committee to deliver key private health insurance reforms including instant upgrade for mental health, improved transparency in private health insurance products, youth discounts and Second Tier default benefit.
  • Development of the Private Psychiatric Hospitals Data Reporting and Analysis Service with funding from the Commonwealth Government.
  • Development of the APHA Benchmarking Service of key private hospitals outcome measures.

 

AT HONAN, MAINTAINING QUALITY CONNECTIONS WITH OUR PEOPLE, PARTNERS & THE COMMUNITY SITS AT THE HEART OF WHAT WE DO. WHAT RELATIONSHIPS & CONNECTIONS HAVE BEEN CRITICAL TO THE SUCCESS OF APHA IN RECENT YEARS?

APHA benefits from its good relationships with both sides of politics (i.e., major parties). We are also in regular contact with the key players in Government departments, other industry stakeholders including doctors, health fund suppliers among others, and of course our own members to ensure we are representing their interests.

 

THERE HAVE BEEN SIGNIFICANT INCREASES TO THE COST OF PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE OF LATE, WHAT IMPACT DO YOU SEE THAT HAVING ON THE PRIVATE HOSPITAL NETWORK?

Actually, the last two years have seen the lowest premium increases for around 20 years.  However, with the costs of providing healthcare increasing, this means health funds have a reduced capacity to compensate hospitals for their cost increases. This is further exacerbated by COVID-19 requirements which have further increased costs and reduced levels of activity.

 

WHAT ARE THE TOP 3 CHALLENGES THE PRIVATE HOSPITAL NETWORK IS FACING, POST-PANDEMIC?

  • “Second Wave” health insurance reforms, including prostheses and out-of-hospital care.
  • Health insurance membership and implications for costs and revenue.
  • Vertical integration (health insurance entering the health care provider market).

 

INNOVATIVE CULTURES AND A COMMITMENT TO ONGOING EVOLUTION ARE COMMON HALLMARKS OF SOME OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL ORGANISATIONS TODAY. WHERE DO YOU SEE PRIVATE HOSPITALS IN THE NEXT 10 YEARS? 

The private hospital sector is a strong and vibrant part of Australia’s health system, providing high-quality services to the majority of the population. Australia’s private hospitals take pressure off an already over-burdened public health system, as evidenced by the work done to support the public sector during COVID-19, particularly during Victoria’s second wave. This role will continue to grow and develop, in part due to the improved relationships and understanding built during the Pandemic.

 

 

 

Discover more in our Partner Q&A Series: Bowens

HONAN ON THE MOVE: A Careers Spotlight Series – with Honan’s Natalie Bruce

Q&A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Welcome Natalie, and thanks for stepping into the Honan Careers Spotlight! First things first … as a child, what did you want to be when you ‘grew up’?

It’s funny, I think a lot of people in the insurance industry can relate to the idea that it wasn’t exactly what they aspired to do when they grew up.  I wanted to play basketball professionally or become a vet. As it turns out, I actually included ‘Become an Insurance Broker like my Dad’ in my grade 4 autobiography!

 

2. You’re currently a Customer Service Team Lead and an invaluable member of  Honan’s Real Estate Team. In 1 sentence, what does this role entail?

I’m currently training and developing our newly created Landlords Customer Service team, to ensure we are providing the best possible service to our clients as a one-stop-shop for Property Managers and Owners.

 

3. You’ve been in your current role for a few months now but began your career with Honan as a Client Executive within the Strata team. Tell us a little about your journey at Honan – where it started, and how you’ve progressed through the business since day 1 …

I joined Honan’s Strata Team in September 2019, with 4 years prior experience at a smaller brokerage in Far North Queensland, where I handled domestic including Strata, Commercial (SME), and claims handling. Over my 18 months in Strata at Honan, I’ve gained invaluable broking experience whilst still having exposure to diverse lines such as Professional Indemnity, Management Liability, and Cyber insurance.

An opportunity opened up when Real-Estate became included in our Strata division, and the Landlords Customer Service Team was established.  I transitioned into my new role in April 2021 and I am lucky to be working with and mentored by great people at Honan, including Teighan Carr and Matthew Henderson.

 

4. Tell us a little about your personal education pathway/s – what led you to where you are now? How closely do your formal qualifications match your current career?

After graduating from school, I took a job at a broking firm (as previously mentioned) to “save money for overseas”, working in the compliance and privacy side of the business.  I went on to study in the US while playing basketball for 6 months before coming back to Australia.  This was an incredible experience! When I returned home, I continued my studies in Psychology, but I struggled to find the motivation to continue my degree.

I saw my old firm was advertising a trainee broking role for their general insurance portfolio, which I grabbed with both hands! I obtained my Tier 2, 1, and Diploma in General Insurance, all while working full time.

6 years in, I have the experience and knowledge to confidently lead and mentor a team.

 

5. What inspires/excites you most about the work you do each day? 

Being able to find solutions for our clients. A ‘one size fits all’ approach doesn’t work for everyone’s insurance needs, so there are plenty of opportunities for problem-solving and creative thinking.

 

6. In the scheme of career progression, what is one of the most challenging obstacles you’ve come up against? How did you overcome it?

So far, the biggest obstacle was having confidence in my ability to make the jump from being a Client Executive to managing people.

I stopped overthinking and just went for it!

 

7. Noting career ‘success’ is often underpinned by leveraging strengths and superpowers … tell us, what’s one of yours?

I’ve always believed my biggest strength is my ability to build relationships and empathise with others. I use these a lot in my role, both with clients, and my team.

 

8. Magic happens when organisational and personal purpose collide. What is it about Honan that keeps you coming back each day? 

The people I work alongside every day.

 

9. If you could share one piece of ‘career’ advice with your younger self what would it be?

You learn the most from the people you work with; everyone has a different perspective and level of knowledge, but together you can always find a solution.

 

10. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live tomorrow.” What’s next on your learning agenda?

My new role has a lot more involvement in the operations of the division. I want to expand my knowledge on process and people development to ensure I give my team the opportunities to learn, succeed and progress in their roles.

 

 

 

Discover more in the HONAN ON THE MOVE series

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