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Inside story: Karen Brolly

Published on: 6 Nov 2019

Karen BrollyWhere are you based?

What volunteer role(s) do you do for the IFoA?
Deputy chair of the IFoA Life Board.

How long have you been volunteering?
Since 2012. My first role was on the IFoA Life Conference organising committee.

What’s involved in your role(s)?
We have five board meetings per year where we discuss activities that sit under its responsibilities. The agenda includes technical topics and how we can support members’ needs. I also take on roles such as peer reviewing working party reports.

What motivates you to volunteer for the IFoA?
It’s a great profession that I love being part of. Volunteering has given me a lot of insight into the workings of the IFoA.

What have you/do you hope to achieve in your volunteer role?
I am keen to ensure that the Life Board represents the interests of consumers.

What new skills or knowledge do you think you have developed?
I have gained a much more rounded actuarial perspective.

Has this assisted your lifelong learning?
Absolutely, I often get new ideas for research from my fellow board members.

Do you think volunteering has helped you in your day job?
Yes, I find it really valuable to meet people from different organisations and backgrounds. There is a big overlap with my day job as a consultant and it helps me to understand what is going on in the market.

Have there been any memorable moments?
As part of the Life Conference organising committee, I was sitting at the top table when we were treated to an energetic performance from the Red Hot Chilli Pipers.

How do you balance your day job and your volunteer role?
My employer is supportive of my IFoA work, so this helps me balance things.

If you were locked in a famous building for one night... which would it be 
and why?

My favourite art gallery is Musée D’Orsay – it would be great to visit while it wasn’t busy. It has a lovely café, so I could enjoy a midnight feast of cheese and pinot noir.

How do you relax away from the office?
I enjoy watching football and I have a season ticket at Celtic Park. This isn’t always relaxing!

What would you say to others considering a volunteer role?
I would encourage it and recommend finding a role that you are genuinely interested in.

Who is your role model – in life or in business?
I’m not sure if this counts, but I read a great book called Quiet by Susan Cain which I found very helpful in developing my career.

What was your earliest dream job?
Fashion designer.

What word best describes you?

Do you prefer a staycation or holiday abroad?
Abroad (and as often as possible).

What would you consider to be the most brilliant moment of your career to date?
Watching the growth of the life consulting team in which I work – it has been fantastic to be part of a team that has developed from one or two consultants to now a team of almost 40.