Interview with Lavinia Gal
SM: For years, the name Lavinia Gal has been equivalent to a successful woman not only as part of Safety Broker, but also in insurance. How difficult is it for a woman to pave a solid path in the insurance market?
You need determination and hard work, dedication and passion for what you do, the courage to face challenges and a clear vision of the set objectives. These are the “must haves” (so to speak) of attaining success in such a masculine market.
I also believe it is important for one to feel they are trusted and supported; as a woman, you need to persevere and earn the others’ trust by proving you are a reliable partner.
Under such circumstances, one’s path in insurance can only be successful.
What if we were to list – at first sight – the most important achievements of the Safety Broker Cluj subsidiary during its 6 years of activity?
According to us, each project which we managed to complete, whether easier or more difficult, was an achievement; the satisfaction each of them generated was proportional with the level of difficulty thereof.
However, one of the major achievements during the 6 years was represented by the creation and the consolidation of a team of reliable and competent professionals.
By relying on “the right man at the right time”, professional achievements will not cease to appear.
SM: During the past years, more and more women have held very important jobs and coordinated areas having quite a high development potential; you are both the Safety Broker Deputy Director General, and the Safety Broker Cluj subsidiary Director. Do you think that, in addition to your personal merit, this could be a recognition of women’s value as entrepreneurs?
Entrepreneurship is something you learn. You also gather experience by learning from your mistakes; all in all, you end up making the right and good decisions :). In addition to each individual’s personal qualities, it is important to be open and brave and surpass these challenges and move on.
SM: How different do you think the insurance brokerage market and the West clients’ approach are compared to the rest of the country?
I believe that the clients’ approach is more related to their typology and the geographical area.
During the latest time, we have had requests from well-informed clients, who know exactly what they want and who expect to be promptly advised, at the highest professionalism level.
I am personally satisfied with this, because it proves that clients’ interest in insurance products is enhanced.
As far as the insurance brokerage market is concerned, it is different at both local and, all the more so, at regional level, given that each company has its own vision and adapts its strategy depending on the set objective.
5.SM: Do you believe delicacy and that sixth sense which characterizes women can be of help in this market, or does one need to be like an iron lady to reach a high level of performance?
I do not believe in the “Iron Lady” phrase, because a woman does not need to be “manly”.
My belief is that a woman can make the difference in this masculine market because of her characteristics: delicacy, elegance, refinement. Power, strength of character, and deterination are better looking dressed this way :)
SM: For the year 2016, Safety Broker has set out to have a different client approach, by designing a new sales strategy, and by this I mean direct sales and the approach of corporate clients. How were these actions perceived and implemented in Cluj?
Safety broker has been number 1 in the top of Romanian brokerage companies for 3 years, with a very well developed national network. The direct sales strategy aiming at corporate clients occurred naturally, like a development business horizontally, by enhancing the quality of our provided services and raising them at the highest level of professionalism.
We started implementing this project in Cluj with new professionals in our team who I am certain will cause us to have outcomes that at least rise at the expected level.
SM: What has the individual Safety Broker Cluj team set out to achieve in 2016?
What we intend to do is to become better and better each year, to break our own records. We intend to raise the amount of intermediated premiums, as well as the quality of our provided products and services.
And, of course, to harmonize with the 2016 company objectives.
SM: All business persons rely also on the help of their team. Do you believe that a woman team leader is different from a man?
Be they a woman or a man, the person who coordinates a team must stay integrated in the team. And this is achieved by staying human, competent, by leading by example…, and being modest :)
9. SM: The insurance field is also very popular and quite demanding as far as its practitioners are concerned. Which was the most difficult time in your career?
We perform our activity on a restless market, undergoing many changes, therefore, we often need to cope with difficult times. However, our biggest challenge was the year 2009, when the Safety office in Cluj was opened. We were coming from the banking industry then, moving to a market that was already “occupied” by many brokerage companies. We had to bring something new in order to make it in the Cluj market and its neighbouring areas.
10. SM: Can a woman feel fulfilled in all aspects of her life, or does she need to choose between her career and her family? How can she attain balance between the poles governing her professional and personal lives?
I do not believe that a woman needs to choose between her career and her family. When you like what you do and you benefit from the support of your family, you can have both. In my case, my family’s support mattered a lot. I am sure that I would not have experienced professional performance on my own. My family helped a lot. And when a child comes into this world, it is the highlight of a woman’s fulfillment, which in fact translates into more energy and more involvement in the other areas of her life, including the professional one, provided that she loves what she does.
11. SM: Lavinia, before I thank you for accepting to answer our questions, will you please give some advice to those young women out there who intend to have a career in insurance brokerage – what do they need to do to succeed in what they set out to do?
I have always encouraged young people (men and women alike) to have a career in insurance. It is a beautiful, dynamic, and elegant occupation which, when performed professionally, can award you with great satisfaction.
12. Finally, what message would you like to send to the Safety Broker team, upon its 11-year celebration?
I wish it many successful years, achieved objectives and keep the same attitude, which makes the difference in the brokerage market! Happy Anniversary!