As an Employee Benefits Consultant at Gallagher, Sarah Darley focuses her time on developing professional relationships and building her book of business throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Wyoming. She believes in the use of data to help her clients develop and implement strategic benefits solutions.
Here is what Sarah had to say when we asked her about internship and early career best practices:
GenHERation®: What motivated you to pursue a career in the insurance industry?
Sarah Darley: I grew up in the insurance space, so I had a bit of a bias. What motivated me to choose Gallagher, specifically employee benefits, is that healthcare is an expensive and necessary resource. I wanted to make a change and impact in the space, even if I played a small part in reforming the industry.
GenHERation®: What three actions should you take to make the most of a summer internship?
Darley: I think of internships as an audition for a role. A lot of organizations treat internships that way. They use internships to hire for full-time positions. With that being said, the first step you should take to make the most of an internship is to be proactive. It’s hard because you’re new to an organization and you’re only there for a couple of months, but I hate when an intern says, “I have nothing to do.” Be the person that is in charge of your own learning. What you put into an internship is what you get out of it, so reach out and see how you can help. The second step is finding at least one mentor. A lot of internship programs have structured mentor programs, but if that’s not the case, find your own mentor! It’s good to have a mentor who isn’t the person you’re directly reporting to. The third step is to set goals. Make sure that at the beginning of the summer you set goals for yourself. What are you looking to gain from your internship? Do you want to understand how a process works? Do you want to know more about a certain role? During my Gallagher internship, I wanted to learn Excel really well, so I connected with the right people who could help me achieve this goal.
GenHERation®: When you are new to an organization, what steps can you take to stand out?
Darley: First, be proactive. Large organizations have a robust onboarding process. You go through training on security standards, processes, and timesheets. Once that’s over, the onboarding stops. Be proactive. Don’t wait for work to be assigned to you. Be the person that raises your hand and asks how you can help. In addition to proactivity, really develop a relationship with your leadership team, even if that’s multiple people. Make sure you’re in the loop and that expectations are clear. I suggest having a standing meeting with your leadership team.
GenHERation®: How can you be your authentic self in the workplace, while still being a brand ambassador for your company?
Darley: It’s such a fine line and a gray area. Every company is different as well. It also depends on the industry. Finance, for example, is a bit more old school and different from tech. The way I walk that line is by doing a good job of expressing myself through actions and verbally. Personality and allowing that to stand out is a good way to show who you are. While it is important to express yourself, you need to remember that you’re a representative of your company outside of work.
GenHERation®: Throughout your career, how have you built trust with your team members, clients, and stakeholders?
Darley: There are two sides to that—the internal and the external. When it comes to building trust internally, it’s all about accountability and timeliness. Accountability in that if I’m asked to do something I do it, and in a timely fashion. I have less trust when team members don’t get something done when I need it done. When you work on a team, turning something in late is a reflection of your entire team. The second part of that is asking questions. I work with teams that aren’t directly client facing, but I still ask for their opinions. It shows that I value my team. When you get to an external facing level of trust, the same can be said for accountability and timeliness. The other element is truthfulness. If we are pivoting, we have to tell the client and say why. Truthfulness engenders trust.
GenHERation®: What is the best part of working at Gallagher?
Darley: One, the people. I work with an amazing team and that was clear to me when I interned here. A lot of the people I work with have been here for a very long time, and they have a passion for the industry and the people we’re serving. The other piece is that there are a lot of unknowns in the business, especially on the employee benefits side. It’s a complex industry. Gallagher’s dedication to ethics truly made me want to work at Gallagher and it inspires me to stay here. We are transparent, open, and honest with our clients.
GenHERation®: What advice would you give to yourself the day you graduated from college?
Darley: You still have time to figure things out. As someone who in college prided myself on knowing my path and having a lot figured out, there is strength in saying, “I don’t know what I’m doing!” No one expects you to figure it all out when you’re 22. You can continually learn. You have time. Give yourself some grace if you don’t know the path.
As an Employee Benefits Consultant at Gallagher, Sarah Darley focuses her time on developing professional relationships and building her book of business throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Wyoming. She believes in the use of data to help her clients develop and implement strategic benefits solutions. Sarah places a premium on organizational wellbeing and looks to create well-rounded benefits programs that align with her clients’ short and long-term goals.
Sarah graduated from Texas Christian University in 2021 with a double degree in Economics and Political Science, as well as a minor in Business Administration. Sarah now lives in Denver, Colorado and spends her free time skiing, horseback riding, golfing, and reading.