Simona Ferro was born and raised in Rome, but from a young age she felt more like a child of the world.
Because she wanted to immerse herself in different cultures, Ferro enrolled in a high school where she had the opportunity to learn English, French and German. Although she dreamed of living in London, she attended university in Italy for practical reasons, earning an undergraduate degree in economics and studying banking as a post-graduate.
After university, Ferro was living and working in Scotland when she made plans to vacation in Dublin, Ireland, with a friend, who encouraged her to contact recruiters while there. Ferro landed an interview with a major Italian insurance company on her last day in Ireland.
Because she hadn’t packed for an interview, Ferro wore jeans and figured things would work out if they were meant to. Her laid-back nature made an impression.
“He told me afterward that he was impressed because I was so relaxed and honest,” she says of her interviewer.
Ferro got the job and moved to Dublin, where she earned a certificate in quality assurance from the City and Guilds of London Institute.
“I think things are meant to happen, so when the time is right, they do happen,” she says.
That first insurance job launched a career path for Ferro that led to her current role as head of organization and project management officer for ArgoGlobal Assicurazioni S.p.A., where she supervises the company’s processes and procedures and oversees risk management processes in a transversal role that allows her to be involved in most aspects of the company.
“I love this,” she says. “Never a dull moment.”
Weighing in on industry’s transformation
In the 20 years Ferro has worked in the industry, she has witnessed its transformation into one that demands speed and a willingness to embrace the challenges that come with change, including increased competition and technological leaps.
“You could count on the loyalty of the customers and your visibility in the market, and the customers trusted the agents and broker,” she says of her early years. “However, these days things change so rapidly that you cannot count only on that. Technology facilitates the relationships, and it can speed up the processes and offer so many opportunities, but you have to be able to manage the threats.”
Successful insurance agents today must be open-minded while carefully tending partnerships with all stakeholders and mastering the art of adaptation, she says.
“You have to have fresh eyes to look at things,” she says. “At the end of the day, our business is about protection – protection of customers, of the shareholders, and of the people working in the companies. I think we have to keep this mission in mind all the time.”
Sharing advice: Work hard and be persistent and humble
Ferro has seen new professionals with a good education and solid potential miss opportunities because they lacked humility.
“You don’t have to take everything for granted,” she says. “You need to work hard to get your reward. If you don’t, you don’t appreciate it.”
Ferro urges those starting their careers to find a mentor to serve as an example and a motivator to excel.
“I still look for mentors,” she says. “You can learn from mentors, and because you don’t want to let them down, you try to do your best.”
Finding passions for kindness, football, bags and travel
Ferro was enamored of Sweden as a schoolgirl because she was a huge fan of soccer club A.S. Roma, which had a Swedish coach at the time. She wanted to play on a team of her own but didn’t have the opportunity until she reached her late teens.
“I wanted to play football, but at the time it was very difficult to find a place where young girls could learn to play football,” she says.
Her mother thought she would outgrow her interest, but Ferro persisted and formed a five-a-side team with her classmates when she was 18.
“It was so much fun because none of us could play,” she says. “We just practiced at school, and I loved it.”
Kind people inspire Ferro, who takes a genuine interest in everyone and seeks out as many points of view as possible.
“I learn a lot from people who are persistent, work hard for what they want to achieve and treat everybody well – not just those who can serve some purpose,” she says.
Out of the office, Ferro loves reading and spending time with her family, friends and two cats. But most of all, Ferro loves shopping for her favorite accessory and seeing the world.
“When I need a quick fix or want to treat myself, I buy a new bag,” she says. “When I want to spoil myself, I travel – a weekend getaway or a faraway destination. Nothing cheers me up more.”
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