Gauteng Women in Insurance (GWII) is pleased to announce that Catherine Naidoo (Innovation Group), has assumed the position of GWII President for 2022.
On behalf of Catherine and the GWII Committee we would like to thank Catherine Pienaar (2020/2021 GWII President) for all her efforts in leading GWII during the past two years. Catherine’s effort and contributions as President will always be appreciated.
Stepping in as the new President, Catherine tells us about herself, how she came to join the GWII and why she believes she is suited to the position of President.
Q. Tell us a little about yourself and your career in insurance.
R. I am currently an Executive at Innovation Group, heading up the Product Development, Underwriting, Pricing and the Support Account Management teams. I would say one of my biggest accomplishments in the last two years of my career has been assisting young people in identifying the path that they need to take, in setting and achieving milestones, in order to achieve their career goals.
Like most of us, the insurance industry found me, it is often not planned and happens quite unexpectedly. My career started off in banking, as a contract employee fresh out of school, and at the end of the banking contract, I found myself in the short-term insurance business of the same Banking Group; moving across from underwriting to claims and across all lines of business, including HOC, Personal Lines and Commercial Lines business. My passion for the industry and hunger to learn and grow resulted in me managing UMA relationships, heading up a regional office for an Insurer and managing large portfolios of business, to product development where I was able to bring all the facets of insurance that I have acquired through my years of experience, to now give back, by applying it when developing products. I am intrigued by understanding customer behaviour through the lifecycle of a policy, their ever changing needs and wants and how to use data intelligence to predict future behaviours.
I am a wife and a mother to two incredible teenagers. I value the time I spend with them and just watching the characteristics that distinguish them. My late mum was a single parent since I was 10 years old and played a significant role in moulding me into the woman that I am today. She has demonstrated what it truly means to remain strong through your difficult times, and in the midst of adversity, showed me that there are always opportunities.
Q. How did you come to join the GWII?
R. I have been a member of GWII for many years, and mainly attended the Leaderwalk and CPD events. My actual appreciation for what GWII represents came to me as a sponsor representative, through my involvement as a table host at the GWII Leaderwalk. When the opportunity arose to join the committee, I eagerly accepted and here I am. The opportunity to serve and give back to an industry that I absolutely love and have been a part of for over 25 years is an honour to say the least.
Q. What is the purpose of GWII?
R. GWII is an NPO that was established by a group of women to enhance the position of women in the short-term insurance industry in Gauteng. The core purpose of the GWII is to build a sustainable platform for all women in our industry, by offering appropriate opportunities to promote and support the professional advancement and personal development of women through relevant networking and leadership programmes.
Q. Why do you believe you are suited to the position of President?
R. Because of my passion for the industry and women within it, wanting to make a difference and knowing that women are a strong force, and together, we can!
Q. In the President’s shoes… what qualities do you believe are important to have?
R. In any leadership role I believe in strong servant leadership skills. This comes with having a vision of achieving organisational goals, strategic thinking and bringing in change. Leading with integrity, authenticity, adaptability and impact are some of the traits I think are important to have.
Q. No doubt you’re very proud of your institute. But is there anything you’d particularly like to improve or introduce during your tenure, and make it even better? In other words, what will you be bringing to the table?
R. I will be bringing in fresh new ideas, energy and a drive for innovation through up-to-date and relevant content through our 2022 events, for our existing members and to attract the next generation of industry colleagues. I am big on driving an inclusive culture.
Q. Being involved with the GWII suggests furthering yourself, your peers and your industry. Which of the three is most important to you?
R. It would, without a doubt, be furthering the industry. I believe that the core purpose of any member of the GWII Committee is to provide a service to the women and leaders in our industry.
Q. Going into 2022, what can GWII members expect, in terms of events?
R. The GWII, in 2021, showed great tenacity in spite of the challenges the world has faced. We stayed focused on driving our strategic objectives and delivered on most of our commitments to the industry and our sponsors. In 2022, expect MORE! Relevant, up-to-date and fresh content, more in person events and more emphasis on giving back to our members, sponsors and community.
Q. Will GWII be hosting more virtual events in 2022, are we going to go back to the normal way of doing things or will it be ‘an as we go along’ kind of thing dependent on the COVID-19 situation, as per this year?
R. For 2022, the Committee has adopted a hybrid model which will cater for the new norm. The calendar includes both in-person and virtual events. We are fully aware that the future is unpredictable and uncertain, and we believe that our experience and ability to adapt quickly to change will allow us to achieve the 2022 events, despite what the future may bring.
Q. Now that we have a little bit more clarity, do you have any last words you wish to share with our readers as we head into the year 2022?
R. We have proven to be a resilient industry through the last two years and have so much to be thankful for. I encourage GWII members to keep their eyes on their personal and professional goals for 2022. Remember, that in midst of adversity there is opportunity, search for that opportunity and build a support structure to help you through the rest.
Q. Your message to members?
R. We are excited about our continued partnership into 2022. Let’s go out and bring more colleagues to register, in 2022, to allow us to reach more women in the industry. We are conscious of the financial pressures and have elected to keep our fees the same as last year. I know I speak on behalf of the GWII Committee when I say that we are committed to you, our members and our sponsors.