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Reflections from an Insurance President

Joanne Marriott

Taking on the responsibility of being the Nottingham Insurance Institute President isn’t a job for the faint-hearted. It requires perseverance, determination and passion, all the qualities of Russell Scanlan’s Commercial Manager, Joanne Marriott.

Joanne was President of the NII and, during her two-year reign, set new records for the institute. From taking on the role during a global pandemic, hosting virtual events, raising money for charity and ensuring the long-lasting legacy of the institute, we’re proud of the work Joanne achieved. As Joanne now steps down from her Presidency role, we asked her to reflect on the highs and lows. Here are her answers:

After handing over the Presidency title, what are your overall reflections on your time in this role?

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time as President and all the people I’ve connected with over the past two years. I’ve learnt new skills and pushed myself out of my comfort zone – I’ve certainly learnt a lot and it’s helped me grow as a person in my career.

It has been hard work – most definitely, but it’s also been interesting and rewarding.

What were the top two goals you set out to achieve during your Presidency and to what extent did you manage to achieve these goals?

Ensure that our prestigious bi-annual event, InsurED, went ahead even in the pandemic virtual world.

I was so proud to be able to stand up there (in front of a camera, no less) and welcome over 130 delegates to a full day of virtual training. This covered hot topics in the insurance industry, the day was a success and we had great feedback. I couldn’t have done it without the help of Helen Wilcox and Cath Ball, whose experience were invaluable. This is what the NII Council is about – sharing knowledge and experience to achieve the best results for our members.

Raise money for Charity.

With 2020 being a washout for charity events, I really wanted to be able to raise as much money as we could over my two years. 2021 was tough as we were in and out of lockdowns and people were still cautious about attending events. 2022, however, proved to offer everything I’d hoped it would and over the two years we raised a significant amount for the Insurance Institute Charities and Cancer Research UK. We raised around £6,000 over my Presidency, which was amazing.

What was the biggest challenge you faced as President?

The biggest challenge was lockdown! We all had to learn new ways of communicating and navigate so many different platforms. Eventually it became second nature. Engaging with members in the new virtual world was definitely a challenge. By continuing to offer hot topic Continuing Professional Development (CPD) sessions and providing help and advice to our members on other career matters, we continued to achieve what the NII is here for – support our members.

Becoming President during lockdown was a steep learning curve because I had to quickly learn how to use the tools the CII provides us with to communicate with members virtually. What you have to bear in mind is that, despite being volunteers, the CII sets up KPI’s to achieve, and our results are reflected in the amount of the annual Grant we receive. I’m proud to say that in year one we scored 98% and in my final year, 100%!

Where there any other challenges you faced?

Coming back to face-to-face events was also a challenge – people had become used to not having to leave their desk to access quality training sessions.

By finding fantastic speakers we have been able to make headway and the face-to-face events we have organised have been very well attended. Our very first face to face session, held at the Nottingham Playhouse, was Communication through wine tasting, hosted by the very knowledgeable Jeff Heasman. We knew combining CPD and wine would be a hit and we weren’t disappointed.

As you transition out of Presidency, what advice or words of wisdom would you offer to the next President of the NII?

Embrace the role. Yes, it can be challenging and time consuming at times, but the rewards will most definitely outweigh these. Also, enjoy your time as President – especially the Dinners – the time flies and before you know it you’ll be passing the baton on to the next President.

Finally, don’t be dictated to by tradition. Yes, it has its place, but don’t be afraid to push the boundaries and put your own stamp on things; if you don’t try then you’ll never know if it can be achieved.

What do you hope for the future of the NII?

The NII is 125 years old this year and my hope is that we will continue to go from strength to strength and engage with even more members than we already do now that we don’t have the constraints of the pandemic. As Vice President and  part of Development Team, I’m looking forward to working with a great team of people to help the new President fulfil his hopes for the next 2 years and offer our members even more. I’m also hoping our members will continue to help support our charities this year and build on such a great 2 years.

For more information about the Nottingham Insurance Institute, please visit: https://www.localinstitutes.cii.co.uk/nottingham/home/


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