Emigrating to Australia after a UK-based career in banking Gallagher National Operations Manager Ally Morris looked for an alternative way to use her skill set and discovered that the insurance industry delivers ample opportunity to satisfy both her restless intelligence and care for other people.
Consultative and open minded, Ally uses strategy to help drive Gallagher’s business and add value, always motivated by the desire to help both colleagues and clients. While striving for simplicity she juggles multiple projects and contacts with aplomb – a genuine multi-tasker.
Previous professional roles
- Bank Manager, Lloyd's Bank
- Project Manager, Lloyd’s Bank
Years in the industry
With Gallagher since
Describe yourself in 3–5 words
- A bit impulsive!
How did you get your start in insurance?
If I am honest, probably like most people I fell into insurance. I emigrated from the United Kingdom with my husband and 11-month-old baby in early 2012 and, given that my career to date had been in banking, I assumed that I would continue in that vein. Back then the banking sector in Australia was in a bit of a decline and the big four were not recruiting so I started to look at my skill set and how I could use that in another field. That is when insurance popped up onto my radar and I have never looked back!
What attracted you to the industry?
I was attracted to how varied and complex the industry is. I was used to advising my banking clients around their personal risks, however, being with a company that only deals in insurance was a real eye-opener and it gave me a whole new respect of the staff working in this field, and how incredibly knowledgeable they need to be to ensure clients are fully protected. I also felt very excited about how I could use my existing skills in another industry to both learn and develop, but also make a difference in how the business operated.
I have a couple. For me being part of a highly driven team, who work together to ensure our business succeeds. Everyone has the end goal in sight and we work as team to ensure we meet our aspirations and objectives.
Another highlight is that I have been very lucky to work with some amazing leaders who have had belief in me and my abilities as well as offering support and mentorship to develop my career.
Career path progress
I started in banking straight from school as a teller. At the time I didn’t think it would be my destined career choice but I ended up staying with the same company for 21 years! Working for one of the UK’s big four with over 20,000 employees created a myriad opportunities that I grabbed with both hands and over the course of my career I had nine different roles in the business, one of which involved being part their international banking division base in the south of Spain (a tough gig but someone had to do it!).
I am one of those people who loves to learn and as a result can get bored easily if I feel there is not enough challenge in my role. That is something I have never experienced at Gallagher. Here I am empowered to do what I am good at, to be involved and to make a difference.
What are some of the challenges for the industry?
I think recruitment can be a challenge in this industry as people have a tendency to move around so for us here at Gallagher it is about creating a good employee value proposition that makes us an employer of choice. We want the talented insurance professionals to think of Gallagher first before any of our competitors. Another area of challenge is obviously the hardening market and more so now than ever we need to be on top of our game. Our growth will come from the service we offer and the relationships we build so it is incredibly important to ensure our clients receive consistent, expert advice and that we have brokers who are willing to go the extra distance to look after our clients.
What do you enjoy most about working at Gallagher?
I know this is a bit clichéd but I love the fact that we are a global business that still has very much a family feel to it. At Gallagher you are a person and not just a number. I feel respected by my peers and executive leaders alike and I have a true sense of empowerment to make a difference. Another thing I like is there is a genuine desire among the staff to work hard to make the business be as successful as possible – we strive to be one team and to help each other be successful.
Advice for young women entering the industry
Often women have a tendency to undervalue themselves so my advice would be to be bold and have confidence in your abilities. If you don’t know how to do something then seek out the answer, push yourselves to learn more – knowledge is power, so use it!
More Gallagher women achievers
You can also read more about some of our female leaders by clicking the link below
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