GWII President’s reflections of 2022…

The year 2022 heralded a change in the Gauteng Women in Insurance (GWII) committee with Catherine Naidoo stepping in as the President of GWII.

Having served as the President for the past year, in which she steps down at the end of 2022, FAnews, on behalf of GWII, spoke to Catherine about where it all began and what the future may hold.

A Q&A session

Tell us about what the year 2022 has been like for the GWII?

The year started off with great optimism and lots of innovative ideas that I could bring to the committee, it’s members and the industry in my role as President.  In reality, it felt like I was spun around and my reign as President was over.

At GWII, the Committee had a very clear vision and, clearly understood the goals that were required to be delivered to our members and the broader industry.  Our strategy was to focus on driving and delivering on the mission and vision of the Organisation and we aimed to achieve that through the following goals for 2022, which includes but was not limited to the following:

  1. Growing women in the short-term insurance industry.
  2. Growing our paid member base and our member base as a whole.
  3. Focusing on transformation and diversity.
  4. Quality of speakers and events.
  5. Increasing sponsor reach.
  6. Increasing sponsorship to support a hybrid model versus a predominantly virtual delivery in 2022; and
  7. Giving back to society through our charities Cornerstone Women, FORA and Johannesburg Care Foundation.

Everything we do at the GWII is aimed at enhancing the development of women in the STI. I would like to share some of the statistics that will speak for itself:

Our Member Base:

  • GWII paid members grew by 24% YOY;
  • Unpaid members dropped by -3% which is a positive; and
  • The overall member base increased by 6%.

Sponsor Reach:

  • Facebook followers increased by 9%;
  • LinkedIn members increased by 35%; and
  • Twitter followers increased by 5%.

Sponsorships (It has been a very difficult year for most organisations, yet we have seen an increase in support YOY from our sponsors):

  • Main sponsorship decreased by -9%;
  • Co-sponsors increased by 32%;
  • Prize sponsors increased by 70%; and
  • Overall sponsorships increased by 16%

Charity:

Our main charity for 2022 was Cornerstone Women.  Funds for our charities are collected from members attending the events as an entrance fee.  An amount of R64 000 was collected for 2022 and a cheque was handed to Cornerstone Women at the GWII Year-end function.

The support we receive from our Sponsors and members enabled GWII to provide better quality events; source dynamic, global/award winning speakers that were able to transfer skills and knowledge to our members. We were able to gain the confidence of industry leaders, who partnered with GWII, to share their skills and knowledge through the events.  The content and topics of each event was carefully thought through and relevant for our experiences in 2022, to ensure we were able to equip our members and leaders to better deal with the changes and challenges of 2022.  Most importantly we brought in balance with motivational events and a bit of fun through our Mix ‘n Mingles.

To summarise 2022, GWII was able to successfully deliver on our mission and vision through the 2022 calendar of events, as planned together with our sponsors and industry partners. Throughout the year, we have had phenomenal feedback post each event from all attendee’s members and non-members.

The one commitment that we did not deliver on was the Women in Leadership Program and this was mainly due to the timing of the programme resulting in the lack of support.  A decision was made to rather run the programme at the beginning of 2023, as opposed to August.  I encourage you to please look at this programme, as it is uniquely designed for women, and it focuses on areas of leadership development that you would not ordinarily learn in a class room.

A lot of things have changed. What were the biggest changes for the GWII this year?

  • Being the first woman of colour to lead the GWII I would say was one of the biggest transformational changes, evidencing GWIIs commitment to transformation. I hope my unique experiences have brought about positive changes of inclusivity, growth and resilience within the organisation and in terms of what was delivered in the last year.
  • Adopting and fully integrating a hybrid model of delivering our events, knowing that this approach comes with its own risks.
  • Building stronger partnerships with other Industry Bodies – The IIG has had a long-term partnership with GWII on the Women’s Day event and this continued in 2022. GWII has built on that to support each other better in the future.  We did this by including the GWII President in some of our GWII events as an IIG representative.  This included our Women’s Day and Leaderwalk. GWII has also reached out to FIA and started engaging on future collaborations.

As a President, what are some of the challenges you have had to overcome?

In the early parts of the year, we faced uncertainties with the C-19 restrictions and regulations and other economic challenges.  Some of the challenges we faced included:

  1. The wearing of masks at the events or not.
  2. Allowing members who have elected to vaccinate to attend the events at the risk of losing members that didn’t believe in the vaccine.
  3. Adopting a hybrid model meant our virtual events were impacted by the loadshedding.

I believe we had gained sufficient experience in the previous two years, to be able to plan for these risks.  We followed all C-19 protocols as they were issued by the government.  Where members were not vaccinated, we did not exclude them but invested in mobile tests kits, which we used at the event and lastly, we ensured that all committee members, guests and speakers that were involved in delivering the events had adequate back-up to reduce the risk of delays.  I am proud to say that we have not lost any members or not had any of our events due to these challenges.

Any inspiring last words you wish to share with our readers, as you step down from the position of President?

Five years ago, if I was asked where I would have seen myself in 5 years, I would have never told you that it would be leading an Industry Body like GWII.  I am so glad that my journey in life has brought me to this point.

Never underestimate your ability to contribute and give back to society.  Your unique journey and experiences can help someone overcome their challenges.  Most importantly, the value of networking in your own career journey is immeasurable, never let the opportunity pass you by.  Network! Network! Network!

At GWII, we have built a camaraderie of women that support each other.  The camaraderie is inclusive and welcoming, which is what makes us unique.  I encourage you to reach out and join us in 2023.

Catherine announced Shaazia Khan as the new President of the GWII for 2023, with Catherine Albertyn as Deputy President.

Read up on the committee in our January newsletter.