Pursuing Better Together with Christy Caragol
Christy Caragol’s approach to inclusivity recognises that while everyone in an organisation has something meaningful to contribute, it takes a collective effort to make the most of diversity of talent
Having studied social sciences and majoring in psychology at university, Christy Caragol is, in her own words, “an accidental HR person”.
“I was really intrigued by the human psyche and human behaviour, but at the time, psychology was very wedded to the medical model of service provision and the conceptualisation of mental health, whereas social work was more about what they call ‘the person in the environment’,” she recalls.
That concept – of examining the factors that make up a person’s life experience, and which can influence their mental health – has strong roots in the notion of social justice, and it was this that captured Christy’s interest as a student, and has informed her career in talent management and development.
As Senior Vice President for Talent Management and Diversity & Inclusion at Arch Capital Group Ltd., Christy believes that one of the biggest barriers to creating a truly inclusive workplace culture is the tendency for people to act out of habit, based on a lifetime of exposure to shared norms.
“Consciously interrupting that pattern of thinking and behaviour takes a lot of effort – and it requires all of us to make that effort,” she says.
For Christy, the notion of Pursuing Better Together at Arch is deeply rooted in that journey towards a more equitable workplace, where representation for a more diverse range of talent is a key part of the future success of the company.
“What does ‘better’ look like? Practicing a firmly held belief that everyone has something meaningful to contribute, and figuring out the best way to extract that contribution from them,” she says.
As part of Arch’s commitment to embedding diversity, equity and inclusion more deeply into the company culture, it has implemented employee networks which give greater visibility and a stronger voice to under-represented groups.
“All of these provide real opportunities for people to gather together and promote our DE&I strategy, and also signal that cultural aspect of acceptance and belonging – and wanting to hear from and see people who are different,” says Christy.
Arch has also embedded processes to drive inclusion and equity throughout the talent lifecycle – from building networks to attract a broader range of candidates, to changing job adverts and interview questions, to improving promotion prospects across the employee spectrum.
A continuing theme this year is increasing the exposure of and development opportunities for women at Arch. Key events will provide female employees with opportunities to learn from panel speakers about different aspects of the insurance profession, to hear about career stories of female colleagues, and to discover how to gain the necessary experience to progress their own careers.
“We’re also looking at our succession benches. Who are we overlooking? And how can we ensure there are the right opportunities and access for people to continue their career growth,” she says.
In Christy’s view, a more equitable culture is something that employees at all levels co-create, and which is signalled by what an organisation does, but also what it doesn’t do.
“We’ve started to build the expectation of inclusivity into what’s required for management and leadership roles. If you have one manager who doesn’t buy into that or think that it’s valuable, then you’re potentially nullifying other talent. So it really has to be a collective action to make a real difference,” Christy explains.
What drew Christy to Arch initially, and which still informs her personal approach to Pursuing Better Together, is the ability to make an impact in a culture that has maintained its entrepreneurial roots, and is focused on doing better each and every day.
“I’m genuinely honoured to play the role that I do at Arch, because it gives me access to each individual in the company, to talk to and hear from people in other roles, and to hopefully translate my experience and learning into something that will help Arch continue to get better,” she concludes.
About Arch Insurance International Podcasts
During our Pursuing Better Together series, we’ll hear from luminaries both inside and outside of the insurance industry about how they have “pursued better” within their chosen professions.