SCOR’s premium income is nearly €14billion pa; its balance sheet stands at €43 billion; it has 2,700 or so staff and a staff ratio of 48% female/52% male. Karen Graves has been its COO in London since 2010. She has also been to AirSP before. So it was very apt, and we were very pleased, that she accepted our invitation to be our speaker at our meeting in March which, this year like last, celebrated International Women’s Day.
Karen talked with quiet fervour about how women can develop their careers in the London market, the problems to be overcome and strategies for leadership and management. She is convinced that the market is open to advancing women to the most senior positions. While no-one denies some difficulties, the market has changed out of recognition from its profile and attitudes of thirty years ago.
She believes that it is important to get away from stereotypes. The market wants talent, pure and simple, and by demonstrating their skills, hard work and commitment a level playing field can be found and used by women who want to reach the top. So her message to women is simple: onwards and upwards! And to men and women that this is inclusive: it is about good people, the market (and the world) has ample room for all people of talent and that diversity helps arrive at the best solutions to problems.
The important message to take away is that the London market is about people. People are different from each other, and the difference between male and female is just one of all sorts of differences; and we are better together. The important thing is that we work together, whoever and whatever we are, to build the organisations we work for and the market, for the best future for all. We need to build attitudes and structures that make the best use of all talent. Ever increasingly, we are doing. We must just never let up!