Declan Shaw joined Cowens straight from school and has already risen to account executive.
2008 to 2016
2003 to 2008
Heritage Community School
How did you get into insurance?
I originally came for an interview for a summer job at Cowens and was offered the opportunity to join the company’s broking unit – essentially as an apprentice. I was 16 and it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. It was an unprecedented and unrepeated decision by the CEO and I’ve never looked back.
What has been the biggest challenge in your career to date?
I went through a period of illness in 2017 after I was promoted to account executive, which has resulted in life-long health problems. It was incredibly difficult at that stage of my career, but it was important for me to stay focused and dedicated to my clients and the business. I’m thankfully through the worst and the experience helped me to realise my own mental strength and motivation to succeed.
What would your advice be to other newcomers to the industry?
My main advice would be to be yourself and forge your own path – I’ve found a mixture of confidence, personality, knowledge and understanding helps you to adapt to any client situation. Honesty and integrity are the two most important aspects of the job for me.
Do you have a mentor and what have they taught you?
Paul Chaplin, Karl Sutcliffe and Mark Wilson have all been and continue to be inspirations to me. Paul provided progression by putting faith in me, Karl provided technical knowledge and grounding while Mark has shown that to succeed within the role you need to care about what you do and deliver results with pride.
Where do you hope to be in 10 years?
To become a role model and a mentor to young people joining the industry and to provide insurance programmes for clients with a charismatic approach.
“After joining Cowens from school, Declan went straight into our broking department where he developed his knowledge over eight years before becoming a very accomplished and trusted account executive.”
Mark Wilson, sales director, Cowens
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