I used to compete as an ice dancer and have performed as a circus aerialist: a work-life balance interview with Claire Tannett

For our latest work-life balance interview we hop across the pond to our Canadian office. Claire Tannett speaks to us about how she got into insurance while she was travelling Europe as a professional figure skater and circus aerialist!

What has surprised you most about lockdown?

I was surprised about how much I love working from home and how much extra time it actually frees up in a day for all my other activities!  I am able to go for runs at lunch time without having to worry about getting sweaty and I can hit the ground running right after to work to head out to figure skating practice. I’m also able to do more home cooking and make healthy meals throughout the day. Overall, it’s a better lifestyle.

What have you learned about yourself in this time?

I have learned that I don’t like to be cooped up inside, watching TV all day! In this pandemic I have travelled to the Philippines, Mexico and Turkey already and have remained safe, as well as kept others safe by following all the rules and recommendations. It’s been nice travelling without the crowds!

What, from this time, would like to keep in the new normal?

I would love to keep the lunch time work-outs a thing but unfortunately, I’m not sure how I could pull it off when we are back at the office because of the time it would take to transition back to work after a work-out. I think that working from home a couple days a week may become a permanent thing for many people as it would open the doors to a healthier lifestyle, especially with preparing home cooked meals for lunch and getting to use your lunch hours for fitness.

What is your best travel memory?

Performing with a touring show gave me a lot of experience travelling, but even before that my family moved around the world with my Dad’s Oil and Gas career. I actually grew up in Perth, Australia and used to have an Australian accent until I was 11yrs old! I love travelling and I always have a next trip in the works. Currently, I am looking forward to going to Japan in May, 2021. I always research heavily the places that I’m going so I make sure I don’t miss anything! Then I always take a ton of pictures.

How did you get into insurance?

About 6 years ago I was touring Europe as a Professional Figure Skater and circus aerialist with a show called “Holiday on Ice”, which is a popular Vegas-style ice show in Europe. I would only come back to Canada for a few months in-between tour seasons. One year I came back and thought about getting a “real” job and ran into someone who set up a meeting with an Agency Owner from the Co-operators, who told me all about insurance. I thought I might be good at it so I got myself an insurance job and it all snow balled from there!

What is your main priority at the moment?

My main priority is health and fitness. Growing up as a high level athlete, I have had lots of training on nutrition and fitness so I use it to this day to help keep me at my peak performance. I also believe nutrition plays a huge role in mental clarity and performance so by eating healthily, I am able to stay on top of my work in insurance as well as my training on the ice as a figure skater.

I competed a lot as an ice dancer for Canada and trained at some of the top training centers in the world, such as Montreal with Paul Duchesney (very famous in ice dancing), Vancouver with Victor Kraatz as my coach (for all you Canadian figure skating fans) and then Philadelphia to train with the Russians. Now, I am enjoying no longer competing and just skate for fun and for the fitness aspect of it.

What did not expect about working in the insurance industry?

I didn’t expect the work to be so fulfilling. Working as an Underwriter is suited perfectly for my personality because my extroverted side gets to meet new people and forge new relationships, while my introverted side gets to research and analyse each risk. I also thought I would miss travelling the world as a Professional Figure Skater, but now I still get to figure skate, but I also have a career that opens up doors for me to travel on my own terms.

I'm at my happiest when...

I’m inspiring others to make the most of their lives. I find happiness when I’m flying around the ice with a beautiful piece of music playing. Sometimes it’s hard to express myself in words and movement is easier. I also find happiness playing the piano. I’ve played since I could sit at the piano and now play at ARCT level. I would say it’s like a second language to me because I can look at the sheet music and then just play it without a thought. I’m happy when I inspire others.

How is insurance making the world a better place?

Insurance makes the world a better place by providing that safety net for people to start new businesses or buy a home or vehicle. Insurance gets a bad rap sometimes when media posts articles without the full story, which is disappointing to see, so I always try to tell my friends and family that there is always more to it than they realize and that insurance professionals aren’t the bad guy!

Tell us a joke...

Why did the scarecrow win an award?

He was outstanding in his field!  (This one always gets me hahaha!)

What would you say to someone considering a career in insurance?

I would say go for it! It’s a very stable career to have with lots of different directions you can go in. Insurance has come a long way and now has educational opportunities built in and you always get to meet new people and make new friends.

What are your three top tips for maintaining a healthy work life balance?

Firstly, take your vacation time! Vacation time allows you to work on yourself and have extra time for your hobbies, family and friends but also time to get away and focus on something else for a while! 

Second, I think that making sure you are managing your time efficiently so that you can take your vacation time without stress is so important. I think working your hours is important of course, but for those who do overtime and also don’t take your vacation, you are burning your candles at both ends. Perhaps consider some time management strategies to help! 

Third, find something you love to do outside work that doesn’t involve the TV or computer. Maybe you would enjoy playing music, or working out, or even cooking. I think spending time on something else makes you a more interesting person  AND a lot of time these days employers are looking for those people who don’t just have the book skills, but also have hobbies and fun things they enjoy outside of work.