This is the second installment of the “Where Are They Now?” series that reunites with past recipients of the Trish Getty Scholarship to find out where their careers have taken them. Established in 2012, the Scholarship is an annual monetary award in honor of the founding Executive Director of AIRROC. The Scholarship is awarded to an undergraduate student studying insurance, risk management or actuarial science that stands out and exemplifies professional excellence. AIRROC NextGen Council member Natalie Weedman sat down with the 2020 Trish Getty Scholarship recipient Ashley Martin.
Natalie: Thank you allowing us to interview you for the “Where Are They Now” series. I look forward to hearing about your Trish Getty Scholarship experience and where you find yourself in your career. But first, why don’t you tell us about your college background and how you initially became interested in insurance?
Ashley: I attended Saint Joseph’s as an undecided business major at the outset. After my first year I decided to declare an accounting major but then took some business elective courses, one of them being a risk management insurance course. I honestly loved it, so I decided to take more risk management courses, which eventually led me to majoring in both insurance and accounting.
Natalie: What about insurance appealed to you?
Ashley: For me, it was not only interesting but also familiar. Both of my parents have fulfilling careers in insurance, so I grew up hearing about their work and how much they loved their jobs. While in college I had an opportunity to learn about how it actually all worked and how it affects economies, businesses, individuals and global issues. It was really interesting to me.
Natalie: When it comes to work experience where have you found yourself post-award?
Ashley: Although I have not acquired any legacy experience as of yet, applying for and winning the Trish Getty Scholarship definitely raised my awareness level of that sector. As a sophomore/junior, I interned for an InsureTech startup company in Philadelphia as a P&C producer. My senior year I interned with PwC in Assets and Wealth Management. I really missed the insurance side though, so when I received a full-time offer from PwC last September, I requested to move to their insurance division, where I am now an auditor. We work with a lot of different reinsurers and captives in P&C and life insurance. I love that I get to have a lot of client interaction while being in both the accounting and insurance worlds. I am also working on my master’s in accounting, with only 3 tests left until I get my CPA.
Natalie: Did you make any contacts at AIRROC and how were those connections beneficial in your career?
Ashley: Unfortunately, I was unable to attend in person as it was in the middle of the COVID pandemic. Although I do remember making a slide that shared my bio and what the award meant to me.
Natalie: Those were interesting times, weren’t they? Generally, award recipients attend the October AIRROC conference and have an opportunity to speak at the event. Do you enjoy public speaking?
Ashley: I definitely do. My role is client facing so my position doesn’t allow me to shy away from those opportunities. I enjoy any opportunity to public speak or mentor others.
Natalie: That actually brings us into the next question on mentorship: would you enjoy being a mentor to the next generation of insurance professionals, and if so in what capacity?
Ashley: I would love to be a mentor and encourage others in their careers. As a woman in accounting and insurance, you definitely feel like the minority at times. We have a female partner here at PwC who is an inspiring role model and one of the strongest and wisest people I know. I would love to follow in her footsteps and help others the way she has inspired and helped me.
Natalie: Talking about getting the next generation involved in insurance: how can we get more young people interested in the industry?
Ashley: I think the majority of young people tend to think of insurance only when something goes wrong. And then when they think of insurance jobs, they see it as limited to underwriting, claims managing or broking. There is so much more to the industry than that. There’s reinsurance, there’s captives – so many different ways to get involved. It’s in our best interest to cast a larger net and communicate the interesting and unique things about the industry. Some things that really piqued my interested early on were the specialty lines and even things like floaters for diamond rings.
Natalie: Great advice. Any advice for those already in the industry looking to grow in their careers?
Ashley: First, read as much as you can and ask as many questions as you can. Don’t be embarrassed about it. Questions are how you learn. Second, if you find yourself in a part of the insurance sector you don’t particularly enjoy – move! You are going to find something you enjoy. There is something for everyone.
Natalie: What do you appreciate the most about the insurance industry? We’ve heard others mention opportunity, stability, moveability, etc.
Ashley: From my experience the people in industry are so genuinely supportive and interested in your career. They really want to help you. I have even felt that support coming from clients who understand what it means to obtain your CPCU certification. I want to be part of that support system for others in the industry as well.
Natalie: Anything else you would like to add?
Ashley: I am so grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given, including the Trish Getty Scholarship. Insurance has been my whole world and I absolutely love it. I want to help others in the way I’ve been supported and helped.
Natalie: Thank you so much for sharing with us.
Ashley: Thank you!