Career Wellness Month – an interview with Tracy McLaughlin (GIB Insurance Brokers) on her experience with mentorship

For the year of yes, this month, we looked at career wellness, sponsored by Norton Rose Fulbright, and how to achieve emotional intelligence as a springboard to success! Part of this Challenge was a FREE EQ test by EVOLVE EQ.

In addition, the GWII hosted two online webinars, in collaboration with EVOLVE EQ, which focused on professional growth and unlocking members full potential.

To close off the month’s challenge, we chatted to Tracy McLaughlin, Chief Operating Officer at GIB Insurance Brokers to discuss her mentorship experience.

About Tracy

I originally wanted to be a lawyer (those TV lawyers from the 80’s were an inspiring bunch!) and completed a BA LLB at the University of the Witwatersrand. I spent some time as a legal adviser before being offered a role in the insurance industry and so my almost 30-year (and counting) insurance career started.

I have always been a broker, starting out at Investec Insurance Brokers, spending some time at two independent brokers and ending up at GIB Insurance Brokers where I am currently the Chief Operating Officer responsible for governance, systems, claims, stakeholder relationships, Empower knowledge centre and transformation.  In addition, I manage my own portfolio of strategic clients.

As part of my desire to “pay it forward” in an industry that has given me so much, I was elected to the IIG Council in 2013 and served as the President of the body in 2016.  The highlights of my year as President include the official launch of the Insurance Leadership Development Programme (ILDP) through GIBS Business School as well as the launch of the IIG’s Roots and Wings mentorship programme.   I was privileged to represent the IIG as a delegate on the 2017 ILDP program and completed the program with distinction.

A firm believer in the importance of continuous personal and professional development, I have completed various insurance qualifications and am a Fellow of the IISA.

Outside of work, I am wife to Michael and mom to 2 young adult men.  I play bad golf and enjoy mountain biking.  In my spare time I enjoy reading (Scandinavian detective stories being a favourite!).

A Q&A session

Q.   What does career wellness mean to you?  

R.    It’s trite, but the old “work-life balance” comes to mind.  Sometimes work takes precedence and the balance shifts but sometimes life takes precedence, and the balance should also shift.

Q.   What five words would you use to describe a successful career?
  1. Engaged
  2. Connected
  3. Growth
  4. Authenticity
  5. Purpose
Q.   What does mentorship mean to you?

R.   Being able to give back – “pay it forward”.  But it also means teaching AND learning.  The best mentorships I’ve been involved in have been where both the mentee and mentor grow through the process.

Q.   Have you had a mentor / mentee? What did you learn from the experience?

R.   I have been fortunate to have experienced both.  The best learnings have been to be authentic and to hold yourself accountable to the process.

Q.   Your advice to someone who is starting their career?

R.   Take opportunities that present themselves, even if you are being asked as “Plan B” – say YES even when you don’t think you’re 100% ready for the new opportunity – you will learn as you go.  Career development is not always linear and that’s okay.

Q.   Your advice to someone who is “seasoned” in their career?

R.   Keep on learning and growing and put your hand up to mentor!