The Lyons share: taking AJG on the growth journey, and winning

30 May 2016

We recently interviewed Sarah Lyons, Managing Director - Commercial Broking to get her views on what differentiates AJG from other insurance brokers, what excites her about her role at AJG and the opportunities ahead for people joining the business.

“I think we are one of the most exciting stages of our journey to date. When I look back to what we have achieved over the past 18 months and towards where we will be in the next 12-18 months, I am filled with optimism and excitement.

“There’s no one way to put your finger on what defines this excitement – other than a group of talented, driven individuals who are taking the business forward and opening up new opportunities for us to grow. This is a fast-moving business with an entrepreneurial edge where we continually push beyond traditional thinking and look for the best ways to deliver service to our clients at a consistently high standard, providing 'surprise and delight' wherever we can.

“In many ways, Australia is closely knit business community. The way you approach a customer and their business is critical to get right.

“Where AJG absolutely nails it from my point of view is our ability to take a generic product and tailor it in a way that truly hits the sweet spot. Our SmartProtect solutions are one example and the feedback from customers to date has been extremely positive.

“This is not a standstill business. No two days are exactly the same, and if you are a person who thrives on change and views a challenge as an opportunity, then this is a brilliant place to build your career. What I like most is the ‘can do’ mindset in my team and the diversity of thinking. A number of our people have no prior insurance background just a desire to learn and grow with the business.

“My approach to leadership is relatively straightforward. I personally believe it’s about having the right fit and the right culture to support genuine growth and the confidence to challenge conventional thinking. You also have to take a chance, trust your instincts and look for the qualities in people that look to the future as well as the present.

“I’m originally from the UK and built my career in insurance over more than 20 years, which involved working in many different places and opened up opportunities I would never have thought possible when I first started out. That’s the great thing about insurance. What some people see as a ‘grey’ industry, in reality is an innovative space where creative thinking is highly valued. At the end of the day you are playing many roles to a customer – trusted advisor, technical specialist, problem solver, port of call in a storm and in some cases a good friend. That’s pretty special.

“My ambition for the team and the business? To become the most admired commercial broking team in Australia – in the eyes of customers and also AJG employees. By 'admired' I mean in terms of financial results, quality of people and culture. Part of that involves creating a compelling story that resonates with the next generation of brokers and attracts high performers from the insurance industry and other sectors. I see great things ahead for us on the horizon.”