Meet the new joiner – Sharon Brown

By Genasys
22 February 2024
Sharon Brown Genasys Board Advisor
Meet Sharon Brown, our new Board Advisor
 
You’ve chosen to join Genasys at this point in your career. Can you share what specifically drew you to our mission and how you envision contributing to our goals?

I was initially drawn to Genasys Technologies by your Group CEO – Andre Symes – we were on a panel together and just hit it off. I was having a moan about the state of software provision to MGAs, and his understanding and empathy aligned perfectly with the plight of the MGA.  I don’t believe I have ever encountered anyone so passionate about delivering the best solution to its clients. The company’s commitment to leveraging technology for more efficient, transparent, and user-friendly insurance solutions resonates with me. I hope my background in change and transformation and understanding the real issues that MGAs face will further enhance our offerings, drive growth, and deliver value to our clients and stakeholders.

From your perspective, what are the key challenges and opportunities facing the insurance industry in the context of digital transformation?

The insurance industry stands at a crossroads of digital transformation, facing challenges such as navigating regulatory landscapes, ensuring data security, and updating legacy systems. These are matched by opportunities to use AI and machine learning to improve risk assessment and enhance customer experiences via digital platforms.

I have selected and integrated several policy software and underwriting platforms throughout my career. I feel that my view from a client’s perspective is key, allowing me to assist Genasys in addressing and anticipating customer needs and fostering the development of innovative, client-centric solutions.

Looking back over your career, could you share a pivotal moment or decision that significantly influenced your professional ethos or approach to advising companies?

One of the game-changing moments in my career came when I took on the challenge of leading a digital overhaul. It was a real eye-opener for me. I learned firsthand how crucial it is to be open to change and how tech can really push the needle on what we can achieve – the icing on the cake was data integrity – being able to trust and act on the output! Tech should be woven into the fabric of business strategies, enabling teams to be nimbler and future-ready.

Could you give us an insight into how you stay abreast of industry trends and the role of innovation in maintaining a competitive edge?

FOMO – I fear missing out – I want to stay at least on par with industry trends but ideally ahead of them. I continuously engage with various sources, including industry journals, tech conferences, and thought leadership forums. Networking with peers in the MGAA and participating in roundtable discussions also provides invaluable insights. Innovation plays a crucial role in maintaining a competitive edge; it requires not just following trends but anticipating future shifts and preparing to pivot strategies swiftly and effectively.

 Building effective relationships within a board can be complex. Can you share how you’ve navigated these dynamics in the past or a strategy you find effective?

Active listening, respect for diverse perspectives, and a collaborative approach to decision-making. I’ve found that transparency and clear communication are key. Establishing a common vision and aligning on goals early on can facilitate smoother interactions and more effective governance. You won’t hit it off with everyone, but empathy and understanding are always key.

In your view, what specific qualities do you believe set exceptional companies apart in terms of culture, innovation, or market approach?

A company’s heart! A company that practices kindness and empathy shines differently. It touches everything they do, from how team members support each other to the genuine care they show their customers and the broader community. It’s about creating an environment where everyone is respected and valued, making the workplace not just a place to work but a community that stands together through thick and thin. It’s not just about what we achieve but how we achieve it—by bringing our whole selves to work, leading with empathy, and never forgetting the power of a kind word or action. That’s the kind of company I’m proud to be a part of.

Reflecting on your journey, what advice would you offer to those just starting out in the insurance industry, especially in navigating its current transformations?

For those just starting out in the insurance industry, embrace the ongoing transformations as opportunities for growth and innovation. Seek to understand the technology driving these changes and develop skills in data analysis, digital literacy, and customer-centric design. Adaptability and a willingness to learn are your greatest assets in navigating and contributing to the future of insurance.

 You’ve previously mentioned having a “menagerie of animals” and are an experienced horsewoman. Can you tell us a little about that part of your life?

My world revolves around my family and my animals. In addition to my husband (Neil) and two grown-up children (Oli and Lauren), I have two horses – Woody and Barney, four dogs, two cats, six ducks and many other foster animals. My day starts at 5.30 am, collecting eggs, mucking out stables and feeding everyone. Our animals provide a grounding presence and a source of joy and relaxation. Horse riding has taught me the importance of patience, trust, and the powerful connection between humans and animals – and that it’s a long way to fall! It’s a wonderful balance to the fast-paced world of insurance and constantly reminds me of the importance of empathy and mindfulness in all aspects of life. However, it’s not a cheap therapy!

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