VP Digital Strategy and CX
“I've been in insurance for over 13 years. Throughout my entire career, I’ve always had the mindset of wanting to understand how all the pieces fit together,” says Alena Kharkavets, VP Digital Strategy and Customer Experience. Joining BrokerLink in October 2013, Kharkavets relates that her current role, in combination with her extensive industry experience in actuarial, corporate development, operations and sales, provides her with the “big picture thinking” she needs to thrive. That holistic mindset is crucial for a company with a broad geographic footprint, which, nonetheless, must still deliver a consistent level of high quality service across all of its locations. Kharkavets adds that “every single branch has a unique, grassroots presence and that resonates with me tremendously.” With regards to her management style in this ‘many community branches, a unified approach’ model, Kharkavets credits one of her previous roles as a sales team manager as a perfect primer: “It was one of the most transformational experiences of my career; it really taught me how to break down complexities into something more simple.”
When considering ideal leadership, Kharkavets believes that making each employee feel valuable is integral. “In my opinion, leadership is all about listening to employees, having an open door policy, and making sure you're always there for them. That’s dependent on corporate culture too: employees need to know that the door’s genuinely open.” Furthermore, she adds that these traits are now more important post-COVID-19 than ever before. “You need to act transparently and show that you genuinely care about both customers and employees.”
As an executive in an insurance firm at a pivotal time in its transformation, she is adamant that the benefits of increased digitisation will be far-reaching and powerful. “Basic things that used to be pain points will be significantly reduced or disappear entirely. We will also be able to have more conversations where customers feel they're confident about what insurance can deliver for them. I would say it's about improving the quality of every single conversation, from getting particular information or paperwork to explaining coverage options. This will not only provide customers greater peace of mind, it will also improve the quality of daily interactions.”
A staunch advocate of BrokerLink’s dedication to diversity, inclusion and social responsibility, Kharkavets extols the importance of these qualities in modern business. “Every [BrokerLink] branch participates quite actively in the community; we have a firm belief that organisations of every size - small, medium and large - have a role to play in making society a better place,” she states. “BrokerLink will continue to champion diversity and inclusion. We believe that the input of business will be essential to achieving this goal, particularly as consumers expect companies to have an opinion and to stand up for what is right. The power of ‘diversity of thought’ is huge. I encourage everyone when they start their digital roadmap, or wherever they are on their journey, to question whether they have a team that contains different opinions and consider how they interact so that everyone is inclusive of each other.”
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Concentrating on continuing to reduce future morbidity and mortality, and really giving people healthy life years, remains our key strategic focus.