WOMEN IN REINSURANCE

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Women in Reinsurance (WiRE) organises four major events every year.  Our events include mentoring, personal development workshops and networking events. 

 

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EXECUTIVE PROFILES

WOMEN IN REINSURANCE

INSPIRING LEADERS SERIES

VANESSA TEO

Women are increasingly gaining influence and recognition in the corporate world. Multinational companies are increasingly committing to gender diversity and this is a big opportunity for women to take lead roles or roles which were traditionally dominated by men.

Vanessa Teo

CFO & COO – Great American Insurance Company

An Interview with Ms. Vanessa Teo

KATY FAIRWEATHER | 17 OCTOBER 2019

What’s one important leadership lesson you’ve learned in your career?

Never shy away from responsibility but to lead by example.

 

You are an inspiring female role model.  What are some of the important things that you are doing, that have contributed to your success?

Its a combination of a few key factors:

  1. Building a committed and driven team –  by setting out clear/concise directions

  2. Inculcate/Nurture by providing sufficient guidance to team members, equip them with workable tools needed to achieve their full potential. People are central to the success of any organization

  3. Setting clear vision and drive towards that same vision to completion

  4. Accountability

  5. Adopt a positive attitude and a ‘can-do’ mindset

  6. Be prepared to challenge the status quo

 

Who are your role models? / Who inspires you? and why?

The CEO of Great American Insurance Company, Singapore branch, is my role model. He is driven, has a very strong sense of business acumen, is visionary and he has the agility to navigate in an uncertain environment to make precise business decisions.

 

What has been the biggest challenge you have encountered?  How did you handle it?

The biggest challenge I have encountered is being a female senior executive in a male dominated industry. The Singapore general insurance industry has a traditional environment with key roles predominantly led by men.

 

I do not think I can change such traditional mindset hence I will just continue to focus in partnering our CEO to lead Great American Insurance Company to a greater heights. I believe the critical success to being a leader is perseverance and the ability to take prompt step(s) to meet the ever changing landscape.

What is the best or worst decision you’ve ever made?

The best decision I have made is starting Great American Insurance Company in Singapore. This has allowed me to put my abilities and persevering spirit in the formation of a new insurance company in Singapore.

 

What are the biggest opportunities you think are available to women today?

Women are increasingly gaining influence and recognition in the corporate world. Multinational companies are increasingly committing to gender diversity and this is a big opportunity for women to take lead roles or roles which were traditionally dominated by men.

 

What does diversity mean to you in a practical sense?

Diversity in a workplace would mean all employers are given the same opportunities regardless of their race, gender, age, disabilities and religion. Practically, it is about creating a culture that value individual differences for the collective benefit of the organization.

 

What is your one advice that you would give the WiRE members and other women in the industry today?

With equal abilities, do not wait for your achievements to be noticed. Speak up and demonstrate how you exceed standards. Believe in yourself, stay confident, focused and remain relevant.