Spotlight on…is an initiative of WICI (Women in Credit Insurance) aiming at highlighting females working in the Trade Credit Insurance business. Every month, a new interview article will be published on ICISA website. 

Carley is a founding board member at WICI and has worked in insurance for 15 years in Leadership & Sales/Business Development, recently leaving a Branch Director & Head of Sales position at Aon to set up her own consultancy in Spain. Carley continues to work closely within the industry on two key areas that she is passionate about: Growth through Cross Sales and Coaching & Mentoring ambitious females with career progression.

What are your top 3 tips for a successful career in the trade credit insurance industry?

Be brave – do things before you think you are ready. Imposter syndrome is real but everybody feels it, you’re not the only one. Take the risk to put yourself ahead even if it means getting out of your comfort zone.

Build and use your network early. Don’t be afraid to approach and ask for help from senior people in the industry. Most really want to help more junior people succeed and are happy to have a chat or do anything they can to help those that want to progress.

Learn about sales. You can go a long way looking after clients as it is a very important role but if you want to progress, commercial acumen is important. Having confidence and understanding how sales work will go a long way.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learnt during your career?

Listen to everyone, take in as much information as you can from all of the people around you and learn from their experiences. Then, decide which are the good things, make them your own and develop your own path.

What are the biggest obstacles to career growth in our industry?

As in most industries, there are very few senior roles. But in Trade Credit, people also tend to stay in those roles a long time! This can mean a lack of options for progression or an assumption that it’s near impossible to achieve which may lead to a loss of talent from the industry.

How did you get to where you are today?

I have always taken on more work and asked for more responsibility to broaden exposure as quickly as possible. I’ve also had some incredibly supportive managers and mentors who trusted and supported me which allowed me to grow and I am incredibly grateful for.

What is the best advice you would give to an aspiring leader?

Focus on the people around you. We are in a people business but it’s not just the clients who are important. The people in our industry tend to stay and those relationships will last an entire career. You will grow up with those colleagues and many will become friends. You will come across them again so as many have said before – do not burn your bridges! Always move forward on good terms.

Some of the most enjoyable events I have had the pleasure of attending have been ‘work’ events and I’m very lucky to have spent that time with friends.

What are the biggest challenges facing our industry?

Overall lack of education and knowledge of our products to anybody who isn’t already in the industry or who buys the product. Even now we have only just over 13% global penetration (according to ICISA) and it still feels like there is a huge misconception of what the key product provides and the value that it actually brings to businesses.