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. 

Sarah Murrow joined Euler Hermes Americas in February 2004 and held a number of roles within the commercial underwriting and distribution areas of the business, including Regional Head of Broker Management from 2011-2016. In 2016, Sarah relocated to Paris and assumed the role of Head of Commercial Underwriting & Product Development for the Euler Hermes Group. Sarah was appointed the Regional Head of Market Management, Commercial Underwriting & Distribution for Euler Hermes’ Northern Europe Region, based in London in August 2017. In June 2021, she was appointed to her current role as CEO of Euler Hermes UK & Ireland, the first woman to hold the position. In March 2022 Euler Hermes was rebranded to Allianz Trade.

Sarah holds the role of Chairperson on both the ABI Trade Credit Committee and Women in Credit Insurance, a working group of ICISA. Sarah holds a BA degree in International Relations from Roanoke College and an MBA from Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

What is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?

The biggest challenge facing leaders today is navigating the relentless pace of change impacting all business sectors. Adapting strategies swiftly is crucial for sustained success in an ever-evolving landscape. Additionally, adjusting leadership styles as the context requires – for example, between eco-leadership and ego-leadership – is a critical success factor.

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

Don’t be afraid to voice what you want. For much of my career I waited for promotions and opportunities to be presented to me before I eagerly pursued them. What I’ve come to learn, and this is important for both men and women alike, is to share with others what your ambitions are and to be the broker for your own career. No one else is spending their day thinking of how to promote you or give you want you want. You need to make your goals known and be proactive in going after what you want.

What do you do to ensure that you continue to grow and develop as a leader?

In addition to taking continuous classroom and online trainings, I also read. I typically do this on my train commute into and from the office (which is a nice transition between my work and home life). I read, ‘The Ride of a Lifetime,’ by Robert Iger earlier this year and it is one of my favourite business books so far. It came as a recommendation from Mark Abrams at Trade Finance Global (TFG) and I can recommend it to anyone reading this article. The book includes a number of important lessons in leadership from The Walt Disney Company CEO.

What is one frequent mistake you witness leaders making?

One prevalent mistake I often witness among leaders is a tendency to delay decision-making. This hesitation can hinder progress, erode team confidence, and impede the organization’s ability to adapt swiftly to dynamic challenges. Leaders who recognize the importance of timely decisions tend to foster a more agile and resilient environment. Sometimes failure to make any decision can be worse than making a wrong decision!

How did you get to where you are today?

I think there are three leading factors contributing to my achievements to date:

      • Take risks: Accepting international assignments, first in Paris, then in London, unlocked a number of opportunities for me professionally. It was hard, and a bit scary to leave the comfort of the USA, but the risk was well worth it and has paid off.
      • Working hard: As the saying goes, nothing worth having comes easy. We each choose the level of effort we put into any task and I’ve found that hard work, applied consistently, always pays off.
      • Building relationships: Word of mouth promotion and personal recommendations are incredibly powerful – especially in an industry as niche as ours is. I’ve found that focusing on building and nurturing relationships has been helpful in accessing opportunities.