Gallagher Bassett’s (GB) Internship and Mentor Programs have been key components in helping our organization, and specifically the Carrier Practice, develop talent and build an innovative culture that ensures our workplace is one where people want to be, as well as providing great exposure and developing future leaders.
We spoke to leaders who have been a part of the GB Internship program as mentors and past interns about their experience, the benefits, and their advice for anyone entering into the insurance industry.
Suzanne McCarthy, Vice President, Carrier Client Services, has worked with the organization for the past 17 years and believes it is a privilege to see how the program has evolved.
“I am passionate about seeing growth and opportunity for everyone within our organization,” she says. “Spending this last year working with the Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity (EI&D) team on the Mentorship program has afforded me the incredible opportunity to meet and engage with a diverse and incredibly talented group of mentees and mentors.”
“After spending nine weeks with Gallagher Bassett as an intern, I uncovered a passion for insurance and risk management that I bring to my clients every day,” says Lauren Zambelli, Assistant Vice President of Sales, who currently facilitates the intern program. “Being on the other side as a leader, I see our interns bring excitement and new perspectives to our team every summer.”
“Through our internship program, we immerse young professionals into the risk management world to provide meaningful client engagement and a well-rounded risk education,” she added, explaining that the program is designed to set young professionals up for success while creating an effective talent funnel at GB.
As a part of the program’s focus on building strong connections to culture, leaders discuss the deep history of the company, including the 25 Tenets of the Gallagher Way and GB’s mission to Guide—Guard—Go Beyond for those who need us most.
“GB is committed to providing every employee with the professional development opportunities they need to succeed and thrive at our company, in our industry, and over the course of their career,” says Patricia Barber, Vice President, Talent Development. “From the first day of their employment, employees are enrolled in a curriculum to provide them with the knowledge, resources, and tools they need to begin their role effectively.”
“We have a centralized approach with instructor-led sessions to ensure all new hires receive the same quality of fundamental information,” Barber says. “Additionally, we encourage employees to engage with Include@GB, our Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity network focused on mental health, generations at work, Black history, the LGBTQ+ community, women’s interests, Hispanic heritage, and many more areas that support a diverse and inclusive environment here at GB.”
Amy O’Brien, Vice President, Carrier Practice, believes mentoring is critical and that through having mentors at GB and in the industry she has continued to learn, take on new roles, and grow.
“I got involved very early into my sales career at GB as a mentor to incoming interns,” she says. “With more than 20 years of experience with GB, I had a lot of stories to share, and I have seen the benefits of the internship program.”
Her focus is on providing meaningful work and experiences for interns so they can understand the value of their day-to-day work, why it matters, and the impact they can have on achieving superior outcomes for clients. To this day, Amy continues her role as mentor to a producer GB hired via the mentorship program.
“I aim to provide inclusion into appointments and activities that can only happen by being on the job versus being in a classroom, such as prospect presentations,” she says. “I find the most successful interns are those who ask why we do something and who offer suggestions on ways to improve upon what we do.”
“Being that my business development focus is carriers, captives, and programs, I spend extra time educating the interns on what these specialty areas of insurance mean and why they are important and exciting,” says O’Brien. “All of these niches are welcoming, supportive, and in need of incoming talent that is eager and diverse.”
Christopher Hampshire, Vice President, Carrier Practice, is also the President of the National Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter CPCU Society. In a recent episode of the IN-the-Know podcast, Chris interviewed David Marlett, a professor in the Department of Finance, Banking, and Insurance at Appalachian State University. The two discussed how once students listen, take a class, and meet people from the industry, it’s like turning on a lightbulb. They realize there are excellent opportunities in insurance. Mr. Marlett said, “The biggest thing would be to set up internships. So, the companies that year in and year out hire top students don’t wait and show up their senior year in the spring career fair and try to hire them; they’re recruiting them their sophomore and junior year.”
“My internship experience helped me build a foundation of invaluable industry knowledge and played an essential role in preparing me for my current position,” says Molly Hentges, Account Executive, Carrier Practice, who was named a Captive Review Power 50 Ones to Watch for the past two consecutive years, and was also named a Rising Star by both Risk Insurance Star Executives (RISE), where GB made both the 2020 and 2021 Elite 50 Internships list, and Insurance Business America.
Hentges appreciated the hands-on nature of the internship, providing the opportunity to shadow her mentor—Amy O’Brien, who still mentors her and observes her day-to-day operations. She also enjoyed having a designated mentor to collaborate with throughout the summer. Having a seasoned industry professional invest time and energy into her professional development made a lasting impact.
“Amy included me in everything she possibly could,” she says, “Whether it was taking part in client and prospect meetings, listening in on calls, and assisting her with various projects throughout the internship. This exposure allowed me to get a taste for what it would be like working full-time and now, fast forward, I have been on stage at several events as a panelist.”
“I feel the insurance industry is the perfect place for young professionals because there is a lot of opportunity for career advancement,” she says. “I would advise all young professionals to find a mentor. It’s crucial to have an established professional in your corner when you are first starting out your career.”
Find out more
Get in touch with our team to learn more about how the Carrier Practice can partner with your company through our ready access to deep expertise thanks to the benefits of our internship program in recruiting and retaining top talent.
Search open opportunities at GB here.