We find out how becoming more actively engaged with your local institute can boost your career and your confidence
Successful people often surround themselves with successful people - and you can do the same by going to your local institute, where you can benefit from the insight, expertise and experience of others.
It is natural to look for direction and to consult more experienced people, and it is equally natural to then want to pass that experience on. So why not go that extra step and actively seek out influencers and create a structure for sharing experience more widely?
Sian Williams runs a women's forum from Chelmsford in Essex. But she wasn't always so active. "Like most people, I did the exams early and paid my CII subscription, but nothing else," recalled Ms Williams, who is currently an agent for NFU Mutual and past president of the South Essex local institute.
"It wasn't until I was recommended to sit on the Insurance Institute of London (IIL) property committee that I started to realise how much impact local institute events have on people's careers."
Local institute committee members orchestrate the majority of each institute's events. It requires energy, enthusiasm and imagination, but those who do it say it is highly rewarding.
"What you're also doing is building your own confidence," said Ms Williams. "You might not even know the people you are approaching to give a presentation, but it's amazing what people will agree to."
While working in London, Ms Williams joined a women's group organised by the Worshipful Company of Insurers. "It was an amazing network that introduced you to senior women in insurance who would share with you all their experience and insight. It can be a big advantage to your career."
Ms Williams continued: "I was involved with the South Essex institute and was invited to become its president. One of the things you can do as president is to set out a theme or a goal you want to achieve during your presidential year. I decided that I would like to set up a similar women's forum.
"It is understandably difficult if you are out on a limb in a tiny broker in Burnham-on-Crouch to really get exposed to the same bright light as workers 30 minutes down the train line in the city."
Ms Williams' events cover a wealth of topics, not just about insurance, but business more generally, personal resilience, building careers and entrepreneurship.
The forum recently welcomed Sam White, CEO of Pukka Insure; Michaela Waine, finalist of The Apprentice; ex-opera singer, Susan Heaton-Wright, who spoke about using your voice, to make an impact; and Emma Stroud, business coach and stand-up comedian who discussed public speaking.
Ms Williams journey is just one of many inspiring stories being told up and down the UK. They are the stories of people whose lives have been transformed, often because they did something different or met someone who changed the way they looked at things.
Imagine what they could do for you. For more information, visit: cii.co.uk/fivebigwords