We recently caught up with Sarah Myerscough from our Cambridge local institute, where she has the responsibility for arranging CPD events for members across Cambridge.
Ms Myerscough is an entrepreneur at heart and has more than eight years' experience in building businesses. In the last few years, she has focused on the insurance profession, helping brokers to develop and implement strategies and processes to maximise business growth. She is also the creator of 'The Insurance Broker Podcast', which interviews industry professionals about business and market developments.
How did you get involved with your local institute?
I was lucky enough to interview Kevin Hancock of Yutree for The Insurance Broker podcast and, through this, met Nick Carson, the current president of the Cambridge institute. Both have been supportive throughout my career journey. The position on the Cambridge institute council is my way of giving back and supporting the profession.
What changes has the institute had to embrace since the onset of Covid-19?
The world has moved online and it has been incredible to see how quickly the CII has adapted to the move towards webinars. It has been interesting to see the variety of types of event you can offer through zoom and the like. We have done interactive workshops and both business skills and technical webinars.
How have you ensured that you continue to engage with members during the pandemic?
In many ways, our engagement has increased. The Mental Health June Reboot was a fun way to engage, not just in the sessions, but between sessions with home toolkits and recordings for members. I have also noticed an increase in email conversations between sessions. I have received lots of positive feedback which is lovely to hear and incredible that people are taking the time to engage in this way.
How have your members reacted to the move to an online local proposition?
Really well. The engagement in webinars has increased dramatically.
What feedback have you had for your recent mental health events?
The feedback, both through CII feedback surveys and via email, has been incredible. The idea was sparked from another Cambridge CII webinar, where I was in a Zoom chatroom with someone who was describing a difficult and lonely lockdown period. She expressed her delight at the chatrooms, which got me thinking and the idea of the Mental Health June Reboot was born. The Insurance Institute of Cambridge had already put on a mindfulness webinar to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week in May, which has gone down well. We have now been asked to do a September 'reunion' for the group to see how everyone has coped throughout the summer.
How important is opening dialogue around mental health with peers and colleagues?
We are currently living through challenging times. It is so important to take practical steps to support people in their mental and emotional wellbeing. Now more than ever, the need for social connection is clear. We offered an hour a week for people to connect, relax and develop tools to support their wellbeing, and I am grateful for the support and encouragement all members have given each other.
Why should members engage with their local institute?
What is on offer in terms of professional development, networking and connection through the institute is fabulous. It is like with anything -- you get out what you put in. I have already learnt so much through my involvement with the CII and the wonderful people both in my institute and across the region. I would highly recommend getting involved.
Do you envisage continuing with an online proposition going forward?
Absolutely. I think some face to face is also important but the ease for people of attending a webinar when we live in such a busy world is useful. I think a balance of both will be a good way forward.
The network at a glance
- 56 institutes across the UK
- More than 850 volunteers developing your local engagement programme
- 1,000 CPD events every year
- Networking and engagement opportunities
- Local career guidance and support
For more information on YOUR local institute, visit www.cii.co.uk/local