As the first female Chief Executive Officer of the Lloyd’s Market Association, Sheila Cameron has been making it her mission to promote kindness as an important value across the London market: ‘Kindness and demanding high performance standards are not incompatible and should be promoted more in the corporate environment.’ This refreshing approach highlights Sheila’s change-making practices. She represents the voice of the Managing Agent community of 55 companies and she has made it the purpose of her organisation to “make the market a better place” – this includes developing the Lloyd’s traditional market place to become a fairer and more accessible place.
She has been heavily involved the Future at Lloyd’s strategy and the market’s cultural reform agenda. In addition, Sheila is a board member of the London Market Group (LMG), chairs the LMG’s Data Council and is a Vice President of the CII’s Insurance Institute of London. Before becoming CEO at the LMA, Sheila led various international change and operational functions at The Hartford, Hiscox and Xchanging’s claims business. She began her career at Accenture in Dublin and so speaks the language of data that the London Market lives and breathes.
Sheila sits on the Lloyd’s governance authority that mandated the 35% target for women to hold leadership positions in the Lloyd’s marketplace by 2023. Just 18 women occupy executive director-level positions of CEO, managing director, CUO or CFO across all Lloyd’s managing agents – and only one is a CEO at Asta, Lorraine Harfitt, who was appointed in August 2022.
‘At the end of the day, you can’t be what you can’t see… [as of August 2022] forget how many Johns and Davids we have as CEOs – shockingly, we have more managing agent CEOs called Matthew Wilson (at Brit and Travelers) than we have female CEOs. This isn’t because there aren’t enough talented women in this market: every CEO I speak to tells me that they have large numbers of highly talented, senior females.’Sheila speaking to the Insurance Insider
As a woman in leadership, Sheila sees it as her duty to support senior females and is passionate about working on the systemic changes that need to take place to get more women in top jobs. This includes ensuring women leaders are in succession planning; tackling unconscious bias against women, Black and ethnically diverse people; advocating for a more progressive work/life balance; providing early exposure to the Boardroom; and widening the pool of C-Suite.
However, being CEO is only a small part of her life. Her son, Arthur, aged 11, and her twin 10 year old daughters, Polly and Elisabeth, are at the centre of her and her husband David’s lives. She feels it’s important to ‘see people in the round’ and has spoken publicly about her own IVF journey and how employers can support their employees going through the same experience. Sheila says she has to be brave about talking about the other parts of her life, as most people don’t.
She has drawn on her lived experience to inspire and support others and has spoken for the carers with careers, through her knowledge of compressing her work to four days a week so she could be with her mother in Dublin, who died of cancer at the age of 59. Recently, she has discovered that one of her daughters is neurodiverse and is starting a whole new journey into unseen disabilities. Elisabeth is spelt with an ‘s’ to commemorate her husband’s former girlfriend, Elisa, who tragically died in the Twin Towers. Her family values permeate her work life and she uses her leadership platform to drive change and greater inclusion. This includes being the executive sponsor of the Insurance Families Network and adopting a “family first” approach to work / life balance throughout the LMA.
Sheila notes that ‘women have a different way of working; and that’s a good thing’. Being open and bringing people to the table is key, ‘the market place can be old-fashioned, but it can change; it needs courage.’ Sheila is determined to create those transformations and is implementing her strategies with her characteristic kindness, guided by her sense of fairness. These qualities are being emulated by one of her biggest supporters - her son Arthur who has just been awarded the ‘Kindness to Others’ trophy at school at the end of the most recent academic year.