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Suzanne McCarthy, SVP – Carrier Client Services, recently sat down with Erin Rinaldo, a 19-year GB veteran who was recently promoted to VP – Carrier Client Services, to discuss her career, client service philosophy, and what advice she has for industry professionals looking to advance their careers.

Suzanne McCarthy: Congratulations on your recent promotion to VP – Carrier Client Services. Since joining GB, you have worked as a claims handler, claims supervisor, and now in this latest role. How would you describe your new role?

Erin Rinaldo: The best way to describe my new role in client services is as a connector, which provides me with the unique opportunity to act as a bridge and collaborate between field operations, service providers, clients, and carriers. The exciting part of my role is that with my background in the field, I am able to communicate realistic outcomes with our clients and carriers, as well as bridge any gaps in the field related to client expectations, provide recommendations on how to overcome challenges, and help increase client satisfaction at every turn.

SM: You’ve been with GB for 19 years now and are preparing to celebrate your 20th anniversary. What skills, techniques, and knowledge have you gained throughout your GB journey to prepare you for this new opportunity?

ER: Over nearly 20 years, the lessons I have learned throughout my career at GB could fill a novel! I would say the most important skills are patience and understanding that everyone learns and communicates in different ways. I have learned to take the time necessary to ensure awareness and complete understanding when communicating. Having the opportunity to interact and work with a number of different leaders and managers has provided me with a wide variety of perspectives on how a leader can (and should) lead. I have benefited from each of these opportunities as they have provided differing techniques for managing, which I have been able to incorporate into my own management style, depending on the specific situation and audience. 

SM: In thinking about your past work successfully winning business from competitors and managing transitions, what do you think matters most to clients in times of change?

ER: Change is and will always be a challenge for clients. The most crucial opportunity during any change is communication. Communication is truly the key that can unlock the solution to any challenge. In our industry, client service leaders must communicate realistic expectations and outcomes, as well as collaborate to reach a mutually agreed upon metric of success. The only way to build a relationship, with trust and confidence, is to maintain consistent and honest communication. Additionally, seeking feedback from everyone impacted by the change along the way by consistently touching base and ensuring execution is essential to success.

SM: What can you tell our readers about the mentorship you have experienced at GB throughout your career? How has it helped you up to this point?

ER: From managers to colleagues, clients, and carriers, I have had numerous mentors throughout my tenure at GB. In client services, specifically, a mentor is there to guide you as options are presented, guard you as you navigate and execute chosen solutions, and ultimately allow you to go beyond as the challenge is resolved. A mentor is someone that is a subject matter expert; therefore, my mentor at any given point in my career or daily work may be dependent on the challenges I am working to solve. Without considering the knowledge of others with industry expertise, I don’t think I would be where I am today.

SM: What is the most valuable lesson you have learned during your GB career thus far and what words of wisdom do you have for others in the industry looking to advance their career?

ER: The most valuable lesson I have learned is that I will make mistakes, and so will everyone else at some point. What happens following the mistake is who you become. I have always considered an error as a learning opportunity, an opportunity to become stronger and more knowledgeable, and ultimately a more valuable part of the organization. My mistakes do not dictate who I am, but who I will be after I learn how to avoid the mistake in the future.

SM: How does the GB culture impact the way we approach client service and deliver superior outcomes?

ER: GB has a culture of its own, one that I have not experienced in conversations with colleagues in similar roles within the industry. Many managers at GB have earned their roles through succession plans and internal growth opportunities, much like myself. This allows a manager to understand the roles of the staff that are reporting to them. Furthermore, it allows the manager to step down and help during challenging times. The response from our people and our clients when they see actively involved managers demonstrates our commitment to teamwork.

At GB, we operate on the shared values of The Gallagher Way. Gallagher Way tenet #2 is that “We support one another. We believe in one another. We acknowledge and respect the ability of one another.” This speaks to the relationships that Gallagher employees share with one another and drive the culture of a unified team, all working towards the same goal, and all working together to accomplish success. 

Learn more about partnering with Gallagher Bassett, or opportunities to join the team. 

Suzanne McCarthy

SVP – Carrier Practice Client Services

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