International Women's Day 2022
07 March 2022
International Women's Day 2022
This International Women’s Day, we want to shine the spotlight on some of the women who are breaking the bias and building Howden into a better, stronger, more sustainable company every day.
As a company, our strength comes from our people. So each year we ask our employees to nominate their colleagues for our international Toro de Oro Awards, which celebrate individuals and teams who have achieved amazing things. This year, we were wowed by the nominations for our female colleagues, who have all shown resilience, drive, and generosity in the face of adversity.
Each of the women below was nominated by her colleagues in recognition of her achievements over the past year. Each of them have achieved very different things, but they have all gone above and beyond to support their colleagues and clients, truly embodying our People First values.
Congratulations to all of the nominees, and thank you.
Inspiring leadership - Racha Moukayed & Constantina Kapetanaki
Racha is the Managing Director of Howden Guardian, our office in Abu Dhabi. She stepped into the role in December 2019, just months before the Covid pandemic swept the world into lockdown. Despite the enormous challenge of leading a business through a global pandemic and a business merger, Racha has taken Howden Guardian from strength to strength.
Racha received nominations from 13 members of her team, who recognised her for her supportive leadership, proactive approach, and commitment to sustainability. They described her as inspirational, resilient, empowering – a “hidden hero” and an “incredible superwoman”. One nomination said “It is said that it is in the most difficult times that the truth of a person’s soul is seen. Racha’s leadership, care, and good heart have shown through during this difficult and trying time.”
Constantina is the Deputy CEO for Howden Matrix. She was nominated for leading a team of over 130 people through the pandemic while also acting as Head of HR. While this disrupted time was challenging for many workplaces, Constantina helped to shape a culture of trust and transparency, which lead to Howden Matrix being certified as a Great Place to Work in the Great Place survey.
Constantina was also responsible for managing three major acquisitions over the past year. Her colleagues describe her as “mild and steady, an extremely dedicated and efficient manager, patient, witty and reliable. She assists each and every one of us in any occasion and provides invaluable support.”
Building for the future - Amanda Turner & Michelle Pereira de Souza
Amanda is a Financial & Risk Adviser in Howden’s Financial Lines Group. She was nominated for taking the lead on a long-term project that she is managing in addition to her usual workload.
At Howden, we’re developing a major new tool for internal use, and Amanda’s team was chosen to test it in the critical Proof of Concept (POC) stage. Amanda volunteered to act as POC champion, and has spent hundreds of hours communicating requirements, flagging issues and suggesting improvements to the project team. All on top of her usual role, in which she has adopted greater management responsibilities during the same time period. Her colleagues said “Amanda calmly delivers on all fronts, and we continue to hear positive feedback from her clients. The success of this project is reliant on the POC and this could not be in a safer pair of hands.”
Michelle is head of the Private Clients team at Howden Harmonia in Brazil. For almost 10 years the private clients portfolio was managed externally, but during the pandemic, a large-scale project took place to bring it in-house. During this transition, Michelle went above and beyond her role. She identified and optimised a system to streamline policy processing, and managed the transition and updating of data. All remotely, during the pandemic, without any disruption to thousands of clients.
As a result, Howden Harmonia can now receive quotes from 17 insurance companies in just a few seconds through their new calculation platform. Their clients can raise queries and claims more quickly and easily, and the insurance contracting process is 100% electronic. Michelle’s colleagues said “Michelle lead the project with excellence, her planning was perfectly defined and executed, and the migration was a success!”.
Driving change - Unnati Patel Katie Brickell
Unnati is one of the Employee Claims Managers at Howden Guardian in the UAE. In her role, Unnati often works with clients who are facing personal challenges or emotional situations, and need help to access medical care. Unnati received multiple nominations recognising her calming approach and outstanding customer service. Her colleagues described how she “levelled up” her role, “always going the extra mile to exceed clients’ expectations”.
Whether it’s taking a proactive approach to get a resolution faster, or coordinating with medical providers overseas and in different languages, Unnati goes above and beyond to reassure and support her clients in their time of need.
Katie is a Divisional Director in our UK-based Fine Art and Specie team. However, in addition to her day job, she is also the Chair of Respect - the employee-led resource group working to create a more inclusive culture at Howden UK. Respect raises awareness and provides education around key topics including diversity and inclusion, mental health, parents at work, gender and LGBTQ+, and more.
Through Respect, Katie organises and delivers employee socials, lunch and learn events, training webinars and conversations with key speakers. Katie is also an advocate, speaking openly about her own experiences of receiving and recovering from a terminal cancer diagnosis at 24 years old, and balancing work and parenthood. Her colleagues describe her as “a truly inspiring person!”
Making a difference - Carlie Norwell & Kellie McEnteggart
Carlie is a Business Development Manager at A-Plan Specialist Vehicle. She was nominated for working to close the food poverty gap by reducing food waste – a self-driven sustainability initiative that inspired those around her to offer their support.
Carlie recognised that retail businesses in her area were throwing away good food, while local people are experiencing increasing levels of food poverty. Each week, Carlie collects food that would otherwise be wasted from her local Tesco Express and delivers it to people in need through a community sharing app. She has inspired colleagues to help, and now manages 4 people who use their time and resources to collect and deliver food. So far she has shared with 208 different people and saved 5,295 meals going to waste – which equates to saving 1.7m litres of water!
Kellie is a Senior Account Executive who works in the UK-based Private Clients division. The Private Clients team has a proud history of fundraising, and aimed to beat their previous fundraising record by organising a 1920’s themed charity quiz night. Kellie was instrumental in the organisation of the evening – selling tickets, sourcing donations, negotiating reduced fees and even hand-making decorations for the event.
Through Kellie’s hard work, more than 130 people from across the insurance market came together to raise £12,166 for the Alzheimer’s Society – Howden UK’s charity partner.