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Risk in Context Podcast: Women embracing opportunities in the risk and insurance industry

Gender diversity is critical in fostering innovation, bringing together different perspectives, and creating a more inclusive work environment.
Young black businesswoman in office working on laptop

Gender diversity is critical in fostering innovation, bringing together different perspectives, and creating a more inclusive work environment. When individuals feel comfortable sharing their ideas, being vulnerable, and speaking their truth, organizations — including those in the risk and insurance industry — can avoid groupthink and improve decision-making.

For young women starting a career within the risk and insurance industry, seeing female role models across all departments and at all levels can help them envision their future within an organization. This representation may also help attract more young women to the industry as they see the potential for career advancement and understand that it is possible to balance work achievements and personal responsibilities.

In this episode of Risk in Context to mark International Women’s Day, Kelly Looney, CEO of the UK Construction and Surety Practice within Marsh Specialty, speaks with Liz Walker, Analytics Solutions Leader for Marsh in the US and Canada, and Megan McClellan, the Southeast Zone leader for Marsh in the US. They talk about the importance of gender diversity, the need for female role models and diverse succession plans, and the challenges and opportunities for women advancing their careers. Jane Smith, Marsh's Energy and Power Leader in the Pacific, Kaj Patel-Wright, a Vice President within Marsh's Financial and Professional Liability Practice in the UK, and Amirah Kamarudin, a Senior Broker within Marsh Asia's Aviation and Space Practice, also share their thoughts and advice for young women entering the risk and insurance industry.

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Key takeaways

Representation is critical at all levels of an organization.

Witnessing the success of female role models who have reached top leadership positions can greatly impact younger women, enabling them to recognize their own potential and envision a clear path for their own career progression.

Humanize the journey to show what’s possible.

Everyone has responsibilities outside of work. By sharing how they are able to balance work and other responsibilities, women in leadership positions can inspire and empower younger colleagues to believe that they too can advance in their careers while effectively managing their other commitments.

Organizations should consider diverse succession plans.

Achieving gender diversity at all levels of an organization requires intentional succession strategies that identify and nurture talented women from the early stages of their careers, ensuring they are provided with ample opportunities to grow and advance professionally.

About our speakers

Kelly Looney

Kelly Looney

CEO, UK Construction, Infrastructure, and Surety Practice, Marsh Specialty

  • United Kingdom

Kelly Looney is the CEO of the UK Construction, Infrastructure, and Surety Practice within Marsh Specialty where she is responsible for addressing clients’ complex risks as well as leading strategy and people initiatives. She sits on the UK Specialty Leadership Team and Marsh’s Global Construction Executive Committee. Her extensive geographical and technical experience brings our clients industry-leading insights and solutions that transcend traditional transactional construction insurance. She is an active participant of many construction industry groups and a strong supporter of various diversity and inclusion networks. She is currently a lead sponsor of Marsh’s Women Building Bridges initiative, which is aimed at increasing female representation within the industry.

Megan McClellan

Megan McClellan

Southeast Zone Leader, US

  • United States

Megan McClellan is the Southeast Zone Leader for Marsh in the US, responsible for client retention and initiatives, new business, and talent development across the region. She has been with Marsh since 2012, and before her current role served as the Southeast Zone Sales Leader and as a senior advisor and the Practice Leader for Marsh's Financial and Professional Liability (FINPRO) Practice in Washington, DC. Prior to joining Marsh, she practiced law, representing insurance carriers in insurance coverage matters.

LIz Walker

Liz Walker

Analytics Solutions Leader, US and Canada

  • United States

Liz Walker serves as the Analytics Solutions Leader for the US and Canada at Marsh. In this role, she leads a team in developing and delivering analytics solutions that empower clients and colleagues to make informed risk financing decisions with confidence. She is also actively involved in promoting inclusion, diversity, and belonging at Marsh and leads the Marsh Advisory Inclusion, Diversity, and Belonging Council for the US and Canada.

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Jane Smith

Head of Energy and Power, Pacific

  • Australia

Jane Smith is the head of Marsh’s Energy and Power Practice in the Pacific. She has more than 36 years’ experience in the insurance industry and has worked with some of Marsh’s largest Australian and global clients. She has spent the majority of her career working in the energy, power, and utilities industry and has an excellent understanding of the issues and complexities in the sector. She spends the majority of her time utilizing her experience and expertise to help our major clients drive strategic outcomes. She is the recipient of multiple industry awards.

Kajal Patel

Kaj Patel-Wright

Vice President, Financial and Professional Liability Practice, UK

  • United Kingdom

Kaj Patel-Wright is the Client Executive Team Lead in the Financial Lines, Private Equity, Mergers & Acquisitions team in London. She started her career in insurance in 2017 after completing a law degree and joined Marsh in 2019 and is currently part of the FINPRO Rising Professional Network Committee.

Amirah Kamarudin

Amirah Kamarudin

Senior Broker, Aviation and Space Practice, Asia

  • Singapore

Amirah Kamarudin is part of the Aviation and Aerospace Asia Practice. Based in Singapore, she focuses on supporting and developing growth strategies for the Aviation Practice in the region and helping clients overcome risks. She joined Marsh in 2021 after completing her degree in International Business at Loughborough University in the UK.

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