Can you introduce yourself?
Hi, my name is Hind Mechbal. I am Chief Information Officer at CCR Re.
What’s your background?
I’ve joined CCR 1.5 years ago. Before that I spent 5 to 6 years at Allianz in Marocco. Before that I spent about 12 years at General Electric in the Healthcare department in Paris.
I worked there mainly on projects and program management. And also on Lean Six Sigma where I was black belt for 3 years. Overall, my background is in IT, projects, program management and Lean Six Sigma.
Aren’t IT departments very “masculine” environments?
Yes indeed! I mostly worked with men in all my career. Currently in CCR, most of my team members are men. In IT there 3 women out of 30 members. So that’s 10%. In general you’ll find more men than women working IT.
Why do you think there are few women in IT?
I think it comes from college. Where in technical classes, at least in my time, there were more men than women. I think it’s changing nowadays, we find more girls working in tech. Which is of course a very positive thing. When I look backwards at the first 2 years of my career. In some specific circumstances I felt like I was considered for just being a young woman. I really felt bad. I spoke about and made sure it would never happened again. I strongly believe that when we come to work, we come to work as men or women. One should not be looked at only with regards of the gender, or age etc. These specificities should not matter and be considered.
How are you perceived as a CIO?
When I first started as a CIO, I could see that some of my team members weren’t too comfortable. But that feeling disappeared after a while. What matters is if I achieve results or not, whether I’m able to drive the team or not. If I’m able to interact with stakeholders or not. Bring value to the business or not.
Are there other topics related to gender equality that are important to you?
Now look at it as a whole. Look at different characteristics: gender, age, ethnicity, educational background. I think it’s important to look at things as a whole.
What would you say to other women in the industry?
To women in the industry. I would like to tell them: What ever you want to do is possible. What ever you want to be is possible. Don’t consider the glass ceiling and think that because you’re a woman you won’t be able to reach senior positions and have a family at the same time. There are several examples of women in senior leadership positions who have a family and manage the whole. It’s difficult, it’s not easy. But it’s very exciting and interesting. All I want to say is that if you want something, work towards it and know it is possible. And the world is changing. I’d like to say to other women in my position to make themselves more visible. To lead the way for younger women and that tech is not only for men. That women too can be great leaders in tech!
What would you say to other men in the industry?
To male colleagues in the industry:
Be open-minded, we are your peers, it’s OK.
Many male colleagues are great, very respectful and open-minded. I think there’s an overall tendency to accept women in higher positions.
What do you think about working at CCR Re?
At CCR Re there’s a very positive environment. The work-life balance is very good. It’s a positive environment, there’s no fear. It’s not a highly stressful environment. Results are important and acknowledged by the management team. Results are important, of course, but the work-life balance is respected. Just look at the executive committee. I didn’t do the math, but we’re close to 50% if not already at perfect parity. Also, in the company there is a very high attention given from top management to make sure that women are treated and represented equally.
What is your message to the insurance and reinsurance industry?
I want to insist on some key points.
Diversity is important for business, performance, efficiency.
Diverse teams are better at problem solving and perform better. But it’s also more fair and when people feel more comfortable in an environment. They engage more and perform better. It’s not only about gender, it’s diversity as a whole. In the early years of my career, I had the chance to be a part of a women’s network. I had the chance to see senior women who shared their experience in balancing work and life. They shared their career paths. That inspired me and I understood that it was possible for me too. I want to share this message to young women: Everything is possible!
You can do what ever you want if you work hard for it. The world we are living in right now is embracing diversity more and more. It means a lot to me! It is important to be fair and, for me, it is important to work in a diverse environment.
Thank you Hind Mechbal