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Roots and Wings 2017 Program
The Insurance Institute of Gauteng (IIG) is passionate about creating educational opportunities for the Insurance Industry and its Roots and Wings program has a specific focus on the educational needs and growth potential of the younger generation – our future leaders. As a proud sponsor of the Roots and Wings program, Insure Group Managers was pleased to have a mentee take part in their 2017 program.

Roots and Wings is a mentoring program and pairs a young professional from the industry with an insurance stalwart, a mentor that will guide them and assist in their growth and development. Ensuring experience and knowledge is passed down to the next generation of insurance professionals. We asked our Zameka Gxekwa (Service Consultant) more around her experience.

After much training and observation Gxekwa was paired with Drew Schnehage (Commercial Director at Innovation Group South Africa), a true industry force. “I was so excited when I heard the news but I was also nervous at the start, she is so accomplished and I remember thinking I hope she likes me but she put my fears to rest straight away, she’s so real and made me feel comfortable immediately. I was able to talk about anything without fear of judgement and really benefitted from the stories she shared with me in return” said Gxekwa.

The program runs over the course of a year, with both the mentors and mentees receiving professional training beforehand and then make arrangements to meet through the year in their pairs. “We met once a month, our talks were fantastic and Drew helped me become focused and plan for my future. We discussed my goals and she made sure I was realistic and planned out where and what I can focus on and achieve results. I made sure to do my homework and provide her feedback on my progress. She really cared about seeing me succeed and I was so happy with how engaged and encouraging she was throughout the process. ”

The mentors taking part in the program have a wealth of knowledge and experience and are committed to investing in the future of our industry and Insure Group Managers is proud to be part of an initiative that creates such tangible opportunities for our industry to grow and succeed. “This experience has been life changing, I feel so inspired and determined. Working with Drew has helped me immensely; she taught me coping mechanisms and how to handle things in a professional manner. We made a vision board of my professional and personal goals for the year ahead, I still have that board and look at it every morning which helps keep me motivated. I came into this journey hoping to find direction and I have that in spades now, I’m excited for what my future holds”.

To embark on a journey like this is exciting and Gxekwa shared some tips and advice for 2018’s round of mentees. “The journey is in your hands and what you make of it is up to you. Work hand in hand with your mentor, do your homework and really focus on building your relationship. The mentors are there for you so don’t hold back and put yourself out there. It’s an amazing experience - don’t be shy and ask as many questions as possible. Drew showed me that if you know what you want and are prepared to work hard you can and will get there, I can only ask that you embrace this journey completely – you never know what you’ll learn along the way”.

Insure Group Managers has always prided itself on being a learning organisation, and regularly encourage staff to educate themselves and develop both professionally and personally. Being involved in an initiative like the Roots and Wings program, where we can help take that passion to a wider audience and help change lives is a great feeling and we look forward to many future years of partnership with the IIG. “This journey has definitely changed my life and perspective, I feel I am in control of my life now. Even Drew mentioned that she could see a change in me, which is so reaffirming. I cannot thank the IIG enough for this opportunity, when I saw the advertisement for mentees to apply I just knew it was something I had to go for. I’ve worked in different industries and never come across programs like this, it really is special. I think if I hadn’t had this opportunity I probably never would have had the chance to interact with someone like Drew on such a level. I have to say the biggest thank you to Drew, I’m so grateful for all the work and effort she put into my journey and even now that we’re finished the 2017 program she is still available to talk or meet with me and that really means the world. I truly hope this Program continues for many years to come” concludes Gxekwa.

The 2018 class of Mentees and Mentors are just beginning their journeys and Insure Group Managers would like to take this moment to wish them the best of luck. We look forward to hearing all about their experiences in the coming months.

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