My LV= GI life by Bobby Sinha, Application Owner
I joined LV= General Insurance (LV= GI) in August 2019 as Application Owner, Level 2 in the IT team. I manage a team of eight people, both based at LV= GI and from a third-party IT services provider in India.
The application I own underpins our Guidewire products, so it’s critical that it’s running properly and we deal with any glitches quickly. My team acts as a Level 2 support and triage for any issues raised – primarily by the Customer Service team (IT Service Desk) – whether that’s a page not displaying properly, or a function not working within the application. My job is allocating these issues across the team and ensuring we respond and deliver solutions on time (within defined SLAs). I’m also involved in future changes, helping to find permanent solutions to those issues or any new features or product enhancements, so I go to a lot of meetings!
Before LV= GI, I was working in India and managing 60+ people, most of whom were men. It was a difficult job – men can be domineering and there are sometimes egos at play. This doesn’t apply to all men of course – the majority will welcome guidance and mentorship. But my experience was definitely challenging at times, and often men who worked for me would expect me to take orders.
My experience at LV= has been very different – the team here have been very supportive and encouraging. I was judged on what I’d done and what I knew; they asked smart questions and set a very different tone. It’s been very empowering for me and I’d absolutely encourage more women to join the business.
There’s no denying that the way men and women communicate is different, and that’s something that all employees have to understand. My policy is to always be friendly, step up to every challenge, meet people in the middle and show results; it’s about building relationships as much as anything else. I’ve shown that I’m competitive and experienced and I understand the technicalities of the role. I have the right skills and can deliver results, at which point nothing else really matters.
For me there are four key ingredients to success as a woman in IT – resilience, communication, confidence and empathy. If you can take knock-backs, express yourself concisely, show conviction in your data and your ability, and be able to understand other people’s point of view, you can manage any team and deliver results. As my team grows I’d love to employ more women – it provides a different perspective and a balance of thinking and this is an approach that really works. Men and women bring different qualities and communication styles, and in my experience men and women working together in this field can really complement each other.
I’ve been a member of the Diversity & Inclusion team at LV= since 2019, which focusses on better understanding and action across the board, from involvement to acknowledging things like International Women’s Day and World Aids Day etc. It includes a dedicated team that focusses on initiatives around women in the community, women in management and women in tech – it’s hugely empowering to be part of that.
I feel very much valued at LV= GI, and I’m lucky enough to have a manger who mentors and supports me. I trust my bosses implicitly and feel like I’ve earned their trust too. I feel like I belong and get back what I put in – when I arrived the welcome was warm, and I was immediately made to feel like part of the team. I’m still learning, but that should be something everyone is open to at every stage of their career. It’s been a big cultural shift for me and my husband, moving from India, but he’s adapting to the culture and has been hugely supportive of my career. I have a good work/life balance, and a great support network around me, both at home and at work.
In the future, we need to change our attitudes and pre-conceptions to encourage more women into IT and tech careers, to create environments where women are treated equally, empowered and supported when they’re pregnant or nursing or working mothers. We need to stop seeing the differences between men and women as a challenge, and instead recognise it as an opportunity. The old notions that men are technical and women aren’t are outdated and no longer helpful.
At LV= GI people are respectful and respected, people listen and are empowered to make the most of the opportunities on offer here. I think they’re doing everything they can to create an inclusive and welcoming culture where senior women can thrive, and I think we should absolutely celebrate that.
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