Lisa Petherick was flying high (often literally) managing global risks for a captive insurance company, before moving to an Insurance Provider as a Board Member. However, she knew the long hours weren’t going to be compatible with starting a family. When a merger and acquisition offered the opportunity for a career break, she took it.
Two children and several years later, she wanted her career back – but on her own terms, and in a way that could fit in with family life. Konsileo has been the perfect solution.
Lisa, who lives near Warrington in the North West, explains:
“In my previous Insurer role I could be in London on a Monday, New York on a Tuesday, Chicago on a Wednesday, and back again via London! I loved it, but I knew that if I wanted a family, working like that just wasn’t a practical possibility. I felt I had enough momentum in my career and experience under my belt to be able to take a break – and I was lucky my husband could support me to do so.
“Basically, I wanted to do one job properly rather than two jobs badly – and then feel guilty about both. And being a parent IS a job, a hard one. Trying to blend it in with work is even harder – and I think it’s particularly difficult to do it in financial services.
“As a very traditional industry, the way the sector often operates just isn’t compatible with family life,” explains Lisa. “The structures and systems are designed for men with a wife at home looking after the house and the children. As a result, we lose a vast amount of female talent – at exactly the moment those women would be moving into higher management. It’s why insurance boardrooms look the way they do, and it’s an incredible shame.
“One thing Konsileo is doing so well is creating a route back into the workforce for mothers and carers – creating flexibility without sacrificing seniority.”
Getting back to work was a gradual process for Lisa. She continues: “I loved being able to concentrate on being a mum when my kids were small. But after a while I began to feel like I needed to get back to myself, and who I was before I was a parent. I think you must be your best self in order to do the best for your kids – but I’ll admit the prospect was daunting!
“I’d gotten to the stage when just leaving the house with both kids by 9am felt like a momentous achievement – and it was very hard to remember the person who in a former life would have already closed several cases by that time in the morning! I needed to find and be that woman again.
“Luckily, I had lots of contacts, and started to dip my toe into the water as a consultant for former clients. I loved getting back to work, and I was ready for more – but not ready to go back to the corporate life.
“I’m conscious you only get your children for a relatively short amount of time – mine are 11 and 8 now and won’t want to be in the same postcode as me soon enough! Only getting to see them them for a slice of time in the morning and evening just didn’t feel right then and doesn’t now. I needed a better work-life balance than that.”
Lisa had heard about Konsileo and contacted founder and CEO John Warburton. She started as a Client Director three and a half years ago, and hasn’t looked back since. “For me, being a Client Director at Konsileo has been the perfect role for this stage of my life,” she says. “I’m not going to say it’s easy, because it isn’t. Both my husband and I work full time and it’s a constant juggle – but we make it work! And flexibility is key.
“There’s no fixed pattern, because from one day to the next the kids have different schedules, clubs, play dates and commitments. But we can fit things around each other so I can be there at the school gates when I need to be, ferry the kids around, make the tea, do the homework – and still do all my own work, get out to see my clients – and meet up with Konsileo colleagues in the Northern Hub.”
Independence and connection
“I’m very happy working independently but it’s great to have my coach to bounce ideas off, and my colleagues to have those water-cooler moments of connection with. There’s five of us in the North now, and we can collaborate to share clients and commission. For bigger clients, it’s good to have more ‘hands-on deck’ so there’s always someone around to respond to their needs.
“I specialise in science and technology clients – anything from medical research to medical app development, new medical devices launching into the NHS, skin-cell testing facilities – many different companies developing all manner of wonderful things; each one needs cover for their own particular protection, including professional indemnity, public liability, cyber risks, intellectual property protection and more.
“I’ve always had an interest in medicine and briefly studied medicine before falling into insurance – trying to earn the money to finance the rest of my course! 25 years on and I still don’t regret the way things worked out, because I love my job. I get a buzz out of helping great businesses find the right cover and protection that can help them carry on and do great things. Konsileo lets me use all my skills and experience and gives me the freedom to do my job right. And do my family right, too.
“I’d say Konsileo isn’t necessarily for everyone. But if you know your stuff, if you’re a self-starter who can manage their time and likes the challenge of working autonomously, it really is a fantastic opportunity.”