Happy International Women's Day 2018! On this special occasion of 8 March, Asia Insurance Review congratulates all the women who have contributed to the enduring power of the insurance industry and wishes all of you a meaningful and successful career. Today, we speak to Ms Peggy Quek, Chief Partnership Distribution Officer of AIA Singapore, for her perspective on women in insurance, work-life balance for a busy working mother and how AIA as an organisation empowers its female staff.
- What do you think of the current state of women in insurance in Asia/Singapore?
Insurance is traditionally male-dominated, but this is rapidly changing. Today, women are not afraid to challenge social biases to achieve career success, and there are many extraordinary female leaders in the industry!
For example, 8 of our 12 executive committee members are female – superwomen who drive our business to greater heights.
- How does AIA achieve diversity in recruitment?
We have always focused on placing our best person with the right skillset in each role, regardless of gender.
Importantly, we recognise that a combination of different skills and management styles is required to deliver on our commitment to place our customers at the heart of everything we do. This is why we provide equal opportunities to men and women in our company, and support all aspiring leaders in developing their careers.
- Tell us more about your activities in AIA Women’s Network and how companies can support women in the insurance sector?
I started the AIA Women’s Network (AIAWNW) in 2017. With our mission statement – Where Empowered Women Empower Women – the AIAWNW is a forum for the women of AIA Singapore to connect with, inspire and empower one another.
We seek to recognise, identify and collectively overcome the common challenges that women face in the corporate world through sharing of experiences and mentorship programmes. We also encourage men to attend these events so that they, too, can make a difference by bringing these insights back to better support their wives, daughters, friends and colleagues.
I strongly believe that organisations must have a coaching culture to support aspiring women leaders. The thing is, while HR may encourage such initiatives, their success must be powered by the community within organisations. This is why I urge all men and women to step up to empower the women around you to achieve their successes.
Today, I am extremely proud to be working in an environment where the leaders and community support women in achieving their goals and aspirations as we work together to empower Singaporeans to live healthier, longer, better lives, and hope for the same in all organisations in Singapore.
- What do you see are the current challenges to gender equality in insurance? And what do you think can be done about the gender pay gap in Singapore?
Everyone is remunerated based on their own merits. Equal opportunities are offered to women and men as we recognise that a combination of different skills and management styles are required for different roles.
- How would you advise women to achieve a balance between work success and family, from your personal experience?
Believe in yourself, never give up, and don’t be afraid to lean on those around you, as this support will enrich your life in countless ways. It is crucial to define what success means to you and not be afraid to challenge social biases in achieving it.
Success is a lot of hard work and sacrifices will have to be made, so we must prioritise the things we want and need. Always ask yourself: “What matters most to me?”
For me, my children are my life. As a single parent who just wants to provide them with the best, my greatest challenge is balancing my commitments to my family and my career.
I am blessed to have the understanding and support from the strong, intelligent and well-connected women around me have helped me get to where I am today. I have also had the honour of working closely with many outstanding men, whose unfailing support, respect and confidence in me as their leader in our male-dominated industry have propelled me to be the best I can be. Together, we have celebrated good times and been there for one another through challenging times, inspiring one another to try harder for the things that matter.
And even as we give our all for the things that matter, it is also extremely important to keep a healthy mind and body to help manage the challenges of balancing all our competing priorities. This is why I also make time for personal training sessions, yoga and golf. Besides keeping me active, the regular golf games also constantly present different challenges that come with different lies on the golf course, honing my patience and strategic thinking!
I hope that all organisations will take one more step – no matter how small – in the right direction this International Women’s Day.