The Crucial Role of Supporting Future Talent


Given the demand for insurance professionals outstrips supply, there has never been a more important time to retain and inspire new talent, says ANZIIF’s CEO Katrina Shanks.

She says that while there are many ways to connect with new talent, the personal touch – or the ability to spend time with people and show a genuine interest in their careers – can be a superpower.

“This approach may seem old fashioned,” she says. “But the power of mentoring has proven to be a successful strategy for the development and retention of up-and-coming leaders in the sector.

“From seasoned professionals to emerging talent, mentorship plays an important role in shaping careers, fostering growth, and driving innovation.

“As well-known leaders across various industries have attested, the importance and benefits of mentoring in the finance world cannot be overstated.

Katrina Shanks, CEO, ANZIIF.
Katrina Shanks, CEO, ANZIIF.

Warren Buffett, the legendary investor and philanthropist, once remarked, ‘Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago’. This statement encapsulates the essence of mentoring in finance.”

Shanks, who took up her new CEO role in January having resigned from Financial Advice NZ last year, says by providing guidance and support, mentors empower their mentees to thrive and contribute meaningfully to the industry.

“Mentors serve as invaluable sources of learning, helping mentees develop critical skills such as risk management, strategic thinking, and decision-making,” she says.

Shanks says the common traits of mentoring include:

  1. Regular one-on-one meetings
  2. Shadowing and observation
  3. Networking opportunities
  4. Feedback

“Mentoring in finance is not just about imparting knowledge, but about caring deeply for the success and well-being of others,” says Shanks.

“If the sector is serious about retaining people and growing future leaders, we all have a responsibility to make this happen and mentoring a person is a great contribution.”

ANZIIF is delivering its annual Rising Stars In Insurance seminar on 11 April (Sydney), 24 April (Melbourne), and in Auckland on 30 April.

See our report: Financial Advice NZ CEO Steps Down.