Meet Our Team: Shelley Brennan

Celebrating 10 Years at CCRS

 

A number of our colleagues have recently celebrated some big work anniversaries at CCRS.So we thought it was the perfect time to introduce you all to some of our amazing team members and find out just how they have found working at CCRS. Our ‘Meet our Team’ series will look at how they started at CCRS, how their career progressed, their highlights, and advice they would give to people starting in the insurance industry.

 

Meet Shelley

Shelley is CCRS’ Head of Innovation and a valued member of our senior management. Shelley joined CCRS in the company’s early days in 2011 and has progressed from trainee to senior management. Here, Shelley tells us a bit more about her time at CCRS.

 

How did you start your career at CCRS? What position did you apply for? How did you discover CCRS?

I started CCRS in 2011 as a trainee insurance broker just before I graduated from university. I didn’t even know what an insurance broker was and, like 99% of our entire industry, I fell into this by accident. It turns out it was a happy accident!

 

How has your career progressed in the past 10 years?

At pace! I have been incredibly fortunate to be part of CCRS’ journey to this point. Starting with a company in its infancy has given me a valuable perspective of business and what it takes to be successful. And also the challenges and sacrifices that sit alongside that.

In the early days, it was very much everyone getting involved in all aspects of the business and doing what was needed to ensure we always delivered for our clients. It wasn’t easy (it still isn’t!) but I was given experience and exposure to every aspect of a broking business from compliance and claims to broking, account management, and development.

I think I’ve lost count of all the ‘official’ job titles I’ve had over the years!

To have progressed from a trainee position to senior management is something I am incredibly proud of.

 

What is your current role and responsibilities?

 This is such a difficult question to answer! The reason I am so passionate about my role is because it’s so varied and challenging. And definitely never boring!

My main areas of focus are innovation, strategic management, client management, marketing and technical.

No day is ever the same. On Monday I could be doing business analysis and writing requirements for new development projects and two days later I’ll be working on how we communicate the CCRS’ value proposition. By the end of the week, I could be troubleshooting a client issue and working with underwriters to find a solution to their complex needs.

I am very fortunate to have a role that not only challenges me on a professional and personal level but also where I feel I really add value.

 

How do you feel CCRS has supported your career during the last 10 years?

I have been given exponential freedom to explore any areas of interest I have. I like to be challenged and I like new projects. I have always been fully supported to do this whether it’s been a professional qualification or training that’s maybe a bit ‘outside the box’, a consolidation exercise, or a full-scale development project like the Digital Broker.

I think what’s important to understand is: the opportunities for professional and self-development at CCRS are endless as long as you have a strong proposal and business case for what you want to do.

 

What has been your highlight working at CCRS?

In 2016 we started working with InnovateUK and Glasgow University’s Adam Smith Business School on an 18 month Knowledge Transfer Partnership focussed on creating a new business model. This project really formed the foundation of my interest in innovating the insurance industry (in whatever small way I can!).

Fast forward to 2021, I now lead a small team of developers and we have built an online web application: the Digital Broker. Being able to project manage this from feasibility study to a fully functioning online app that has been integrated within CCRS is definitely the highlight for me.

I am so proud of what we have achieved over a relatively short time and have a lot of gratitude to my team and all those who have helped and supported us along the way. Everyone has been incredibly patient, understanding, and, most of all, supportive of our vision.

It’s been an interesting and very rewarding journey and I am looking forward to seeing how our tech can support brokers to service midmarket clients over the coming years.

 

How would you describe the culture at CCRS?

A career at CCRS is not for the faint-hearted but it is incredibly rewarding. We nurture those with ambition and will support and encourage anyone to achieve their goals, no matter their experience or background.

Our emphasis is on technical excellence and this is reflected in the way we support and encourage all members of the team to achieve professional qualifications, at all levels.

One of the main management lessons I have learned from working with Neil over the last decade is the importance of empowering people and giving them a voice. For me, this is really key to who CCRS is as a business. Don’t get me wrong, we have absolutely made mistakes along the way but we have listened and adapted. I think that in itself creates a culture of empowerment: our team knows we listen and take action to make positive changes where we can.

 

What advice would you give someone considering a career in Insurance? And specifically, why should they consider CCRS as an employer?

If you have the right attitude, commitment, and drive, CCRS will fully support you to achieve all your professional goals, I certainly have been. I think in life you create your own opportunities but CCRS will provide you with the support framework, training, and tools to succeed.

My main advice: in your early career focus on learning as much as you can as professional development is incredibly important. Join the CII, do your professional exams, get a mentor, dial into every webinar, shadow your seniors, ask stupid questions… do everything you can to learn.  You will be so surprised how often the insurance gurus in our industry will be more than happy to help you if you show willingness. I am very grateful to those who helped me in the early stages of my career, some I am fortunate enough to still work with.

 

You can read more about the rest of our colleagues by looking at the Meet our Team page on our website HERE