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Assn. of Local Authority Risk Managers
Before she took up her post at ALARM in August 2006 Lynn Drennan was executive director of the Cullen Centre for Risk and Governance, and Head of the Division of Risk, at Glasgow Caledonian University. As chief executive of ALARM, Ms. Drennan heads the United Kingdom’s association for risk management in the public sector, which has over 1,800 members. In addition, Ms. Drennan has conducted research projects for public and private sector clients, and has served on committees of the Chartered Insurance Institute, ALARM and the Institute of Risk Management.
Q: Who has had the greatest influence on your career and why?
A: "I am fortunate in having had a number of line managers who encouraged and provided opportunities for me to learn and progress. The expression ‘feel the fear but do it anyway’ pretty much sums up the first 10 years of my career. It never occurred to me to say ‘no’ to taking on interesting tasks or projects, if I thought I could learn from them. The result was that one good thing tended to lead to another."
Q: What advice would you give young women entering the industry today?
A: "Aim for the highest qualification you can in your chosen field; join a professional body and actively engage with other members by attending or presenting at events and offering to serve on committees; and remember that you only get out of life what you’re prepared to put in. If you don’t feel enthusiastic about your work, then you’re in the wrong job and need to make a change."
Q: If you had the ability to change one thing about the industry what would it be?
A: "I would like to see greater emphasis on continuing professional development, both in terms of soft skills and technical knowledge, and greater recognition of professional qualifications and standards. Too often, the industry pays lip service to these aspects and does not provide real support and incentives to staff that will enable learning to take place, encourage innovation, and ensure continuous improvement in service delivery."
Business Insurance's report on "Women to Watch" is our attempt to identify some of the women who are leading change in commercial insurance, risk management, employee benefits and related fields.