Celebrating successful women for all their hard work and effort creates a pathway and steppingstone for aspiring women who seek guidance, motivation and inspiration.
Gauteng Women in Insurance (GWII) recently chatted to Aneri van den Berg, Key Account Manager at Genasys Technologies about her journey and career in the financial services industry, how she balances personal and work life and what advice she would give to women in the industry.
A career journey
Q. Tell us about your career in the insurance industry… how did you join the industry? Tell us about your journey.
A. I started my career in the insurance industry as a Personal Assistant to our CEO, Steve Symes and Managing Director, Eugene Wessels.
I got invested in our clients and became more involved in the daily management of the accounts and client relationships. An Account Management position opened up, and my application was successful. My journey then took off within the industry.
As Genasys Technologies grew, I was appointed as a Key Account Manager. My roles and responsibilities grew within the Joburg office.
Working with people is extremely rewarding and I have the most amazing dedicated teams. We all bring our support to the business to make it successful.
Q. As a woman in the industry, what challenges and opportunities have you faced throughout your career?
A. Since I joined the insurance industry I have had countless opportunities and have met wonderful people and mentors that have helped me to own up to the strengths that make me unique.
My biggest opportunity every day is working with people. You are only as strong as the team behind you, and I have an amazing team that supports each other. They are hardworking and passionate about their work. It makes my task so much easier.
Everyone encounters challenges. When you face challenges, you build resilience. Overcoming this, creates an opportunity to use your platform of difficulty, to help others overcome theirs.
Q. What is rewarding about your career?
A. Building meaningful relationships and meeting key people in the industry that make strategic decisions about their operations and financial performance is rewarding.
Also, everyone has a purpose and everyone is gifted in something. It is very rewarding to help people find and develop that gift, to help them see the value they add and to show them that they do matter.
Q. How do you maintain work and personal life balance? It must be challenging at times, especially for a woman who has such a demanding career.
A. I try to keep a routine, stay organised and plan ahead. To balance work and family requires constant adjustment, but I have an amazing family and mentors that support me, and have faith in me.
We create special and meaningful family activities to ensure quality family time and we stay active. I have two very active sons and they challenge me in so many good ways. I could not have done it without my family, the support at work and without prayer.
No matter how difficult my day is, I always remind myself that joy comes in the morning. Each day brings new expectations and opportunities
Q. What advice would you give young females starting out a career in the industry?
A. You are unique and your distinctiveness will set you apart. Do not try to fit a certain mould set by other people. Focus on being true to who you are, and stay confident in your abilities. Work hard to achieve your goals, have pride in all you do but never lose sight of what is really important in life. Stay humble.
Q. What advice do you have for working mothers who are career driven?
A. I learned too late in my life that I do not have to be a super mom. Everything does not always have to be perfect.
Being a mother is difficult (but also rewarding) and building a career can be very stressful. Balancing work and motherhood seems nearly impossible, but you have got this. My sons taught me not to take life so seriously and to find beauty in every situation.
Plan well but be flexible, things do not always go according to plan. Be gentle with yourself, laugh and enjoy every moment you have with them.
Q. Working remotely for the past two months has been very different to what you are used to. How has Genasys made the transition of working remotely?
A. We are in a very fortunate position to be in an environment where we already support our client’s remotely. We predicted the lockdown and Genasys made sure all staff were well equipped to work from home.
Working remotely, without the social aspect of working in the office, does have an impact on people. We do, however, have daily stand-up meetings with all staff to ensure we are focused on what needs to be done, to keep track on progress and ensure we keep the team connected. As a team we function very well and support each other in every way.
We are extremely proud of the team and what we are achieving in lockdown. Our staff have shown that they are committed to making this work. We challenge technology and we punch our boundaries outwards, yet we have so much fun at the same time.
We are innovative and we can adapt easily to challenges.
Q. Any final words, or words of wisdom you wish to share with your GWII members?
A. Be bold and courageous. Strive to do everything with passion, integrity and intention.
Morgan Harper Nichols said, “Maybe you were made for this very moment; to walk bravely through blazing fire, and by grace come forth as gold.”