1. Tell us a bit about yourself?
I am the eldest of three girls and hail from the village of Umbogintwini in KwaZulu Natal where I spent my childhood growing up in the bliss of a small factory community. My father worked for AECI and my mother was a stay-at-home mom and housewife. As a child, I enjoyed an uncomplicated life of school, sports, Sunday school, and youth, which is where I eventually met my husband of now 21 years. Our present life tends to concentrate on family, pets, and our love for the outdoors – oh, and a little dabbling in furniture restoration.
2. What work do you do?
Just before my 21st birthday, I was employed as a temp at PFV (Priceforbes Federale Volkskas) doing office administration. I soon caught the eye of the marine insurance claims director Barbara Bodley who quickly employed me in the marine claims division TRMS (Transportation Risk Management Services) where I stayed until 1999 when I got married.
My husband and I did a short stint in the United Kingdom before we moved to Johannesburg in 2002 when I joined Alexander Forbes. Following Marsh’s acquisition of Alexander Forbes in 2012 I eventually worked my way up to Marine Practice Leader for South Africa being afforded many great work experiences.
3. How long have you been in the industry?
I started in 1994 and took a break for 2 years so all in all around 25 years.
4. Has your work always been your passion? Tell us why?
Right from the beginning I knew marine insurance was my passion.
No offence to any other class of insurance but marine is filled with so many unique product areas one can specialise in and every day is filled with new and exciting challenges and opportunities.
5. Being a woman in the industry – what does it take?
There is no doubt that the working world can be a tough environment to navigate and whilst it is important to remain self-motivated with clear goals and perseverance the key is to ensure that you forge long-lasting relationships in all aspects of your chosen career.
6. What has been the most difficult challenge of your career?
There is certainly convenience in being able to have those quick face-2-face conversations with colleagues, industry peers, or friends, whether to chat about technical issues or just to touch base on work or life matters. The past year and working from home have in my view hampered our tangible social interaction, and personally speaking, Zoom or Teams just doesn’t measure up. It remains a reality that this lifestyle will most likely continue for some time and the challenge for the future is to achieve this responsibly.
7. What advice do you have for other women in your industry?
There are a couple of things that stand out for me 1) is to remember to encourage one another, our lives can be filled with a lot of noise and interference and sometimes we just need to be reminded that we can do it if we stay the course, 2) nurturing and mentorship, I have had the opportunity over the past couple of years to be involved with a number of graduate programmes which have yielded amazing young talent and I believe that if we are to continue on our path to achieving great things then what better way than to impart our knowledge and wisdom to the next generation.
8. Plans for the future?
To ensure that I am learning and adapting every day to new experiences and seeking ways to work more efficiently and ultimately achieve the utopian work-life balance…
From a recreational perspective personally, I hope that when the borders are finally opened my husband and I can take a trip to Tuscany.
For the past 19 years, Juliet worked for Marsh Pty Ltd where she was responsible for the marine specialist division identifying new business targets, formulating growth strategies, creating team awareness and compliance with in-country insurance legislation, particularly in the African region.
She has forged strong, strategic industry relationships – her insurance network not only extends to local markets but also to international marine markets, viz. London and sub-Saharan Africa including Mauritius.
Juliet is a member of the IISA and has completed various advanced insurance and management programmes and training courses over the course of her career.