Having access to mentors and role models — especially for black professionals — can be integral to one’s success. We spoke to Rob Kale, an underwriter at specialist insurance company Beazley to understand how he utilised mentors and role models to help to drive his career.
“I had a long route into insurance and my current role,”Kale shared. “After studying law, I worked at a firm as a paralegal and later as an administrative assistant. I wanted to work in London and saw the Lloyd’s Market as being a place with variety and breadth of job opportunities. I was lucky enough to be given an interview at a couple of syndicates and Beazley offered me a role.”
“I think it’s important to have good role models, but they do not necessarily need to be in the workplace. It’s important to have a mix of people with different backgrounds, ethnicities, and experiences in any company.
Lloyd’s of London is the world’s leading insurance market and can boast that it provides specialist services to businesses in over 200 countries and territories around the world. As one of the first members of his family to ever attend university, Kale did not have a clear path to success to follow. It took him seven years to become an underwriter, the position he currently holds at Beazley. Kale remembers: “Looking back, one of the key things for me was having experienced, professional people around me from whom I took every chance to learn. It’s also invaluable to have supportive colleagues and be part of an organisation that offers opportunities to develop and grow”.
But Kale also understands that no matter how hard you work on yourself, the “imposter syndrome” can be an issue with many young professionals. He suggested that one way to deal with this situation is to speak to others who are just starting out – as it’s likely they feel the same too. According to a recent study by the Journal of General Internal Medicine, up to 82% of all people have reported that they’ve felt like they were not worthy of the job or joy that they are currently experiencing. It is human nature to feel like an “imposter” at some time during your career.
And despite there being comfort with familiarity, Kale encourages those interested in career ascension not to be narrow-minded in selecting mentors. “I think it’s important to have good role models, but they do not necessarily need to be in the workplace. It’s important to have a mix of people with different backgrounds, ethnicities, and experiences in any company. The differences provide a broader knowledge base that helps a business thrive,” he advised.
Kale explained that as well as corporate leadership training, Beazley has four employee networks that contribute to creating an inclusive environment, as well as raising awareness of factors that contribute to people feeling like they are on the outside. We have an inclusion and diversity steering committee team within the company,” he commented. “The team’s remit is to increase inclusion, diversity, awareness, and understanding of difference as part of a healthy successful modern business. This involves setting open targets around diversity within the organisation and within senior and board-level positions.”
BYP’s mission is to change the black narrative. When we asked Kale what ‘changing the black narrative’ means to him, he commented: “It’s about opportunity and realising the opportunity. That means enabling people to have access to opportunities that they might not have been given before.”
To learn more about Beazley or to apply for any of their available or upcoming roles please visit their jobs board here.