My Guidewire with Vivienne.
Welcome to our "My Guidewire" series!
We talked with the teams in our offices to get to know them and find out about their perspectives and overall experience working at Guidewire.
Meet Vivienne Hoary, Senior Strategic Advisory Analyst. Please get to know her and her perspective on Guidewire.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hello everyone! My name is Vivienne Hoary, but my family, friends and colleagues call me Viv. I was born in Cork, Ireland. I am currently living in Cork and have lived in Dublin and most recently in London. You could certainly say I am a proud Corkonian and happy to be back in my native city since August 2020, after two wonderful, exciting, and fast-paced years in London.
In school my favourite subject was Economics. I was drawn to this because I am very analytical, detail orientated and enjoy ambiguity and problem-solving. I never got the light bulb moment where I knew for particular what career I wanted to pursue, but I knew it made sense to follow what I enjoyed and what I was good at in the hope I could make a positive difference along the way by helping people. Following school, I attended University College Cork and undertook a BA (Hons) in Economics and Sociology and an MBS in Management Information and Managerial Accounting Systems.
As part of the MBS in Management Information and Managerial Accounting Systems, I assumed an Internship as a Systems Analyst, which was my step into the business world. Since then, my roles have been in an analytical and operational capacity, focussing on providing analytical and business insight through data interrogation, operational support of the sales motion, process improvement initiatives and project management.
What attracted you to Guidewire?
It was the job description of a Strategic Advisory Analyst that piqued my interest. Still, it was undoubtedly the people I met throughout the recruitment process that made me realise that I wanted to be part of the Guidewire family.
I remember the job description mentioning that the Strategic Advisory Analyst would be responsible for owning the research arm of Strategic Advisory's presales support to Sales and the person would need to be able to understand process issues and solve problems quickly while distilling reasonable conclusions regardless of a shortage or an overabundance of available data. After reading the job description, I knew that the role was right up my street. I immediately wanted to find out more about the position, Strategic Advisory and Guidewire, so I reached out to the Guidewire recruitment team directly on LinkedIn.
My initial screening call was with Conor Egan, who is a recruiting Business Partner. Subsequently, I interviewed my future team members Ivan Moskaliov and Gerrit Preusch, my future manager Mathias Grobet and the Senior Director of the Global Strategic Advisory team, Annemarie Bruch. What struck a chord with me throughout the recruitment process was that Guidewire understood that the process was a two-way street. In the interviews, it was apparent that I had a platform to interview Guidewire, just as much, if not more, than I was being interviewed. This was a welcoming experience. There was a refreshing emphasis on career development, and the people I met throughout the process were intelligent, endearing and radiated a culture I wanted to be part of.
What is your role at Guidewire?
I am a Senior EMEA Strategic Advisory Analyst, and I also support APAC and AMER when required. I contribute to early-stage sales pipeline opportunities through customer-specific research and the creation of communication materials. I work with Strategic Advisory consultants and Sales Representatives to ensure that engagement tools, processes, and outcomes are aligned with account goals and customer needs. Additionally, I create and design any necessary collateral, white papers, presentations, and other sales tools to support internal and external Strategic Advisory promotion efforts.
My role is fast-paced, and no two days are the same, which aligns perfectly with my strong bias for action and my appetite to experience new challenges. These challenges are part of the fun, invigorating and a sure sign that I am learning daily.
Can you tell us more about Strategic Advisory's charter?
Strategic Advisory's mission is to collaborate with our customers and prospects as they navigate every phase of their transformation journey by providing insights, tools, and experience that drive value-orientated decisions. Essentially, Strategic Advisory helps insurers with business value by identifying how the benefits of a new solution will impact their business from an operational and strategic perspective. Guidewire has been a pioneer in value consulting in the Enterprise software space for the past 11 years.
How long have you been at Guidewire, and how has Guidewire changed since you joined?
I joined Guidewire in July 2019, and I was initially based in the London office, later relocating back home to Ireland to work remotely from Cork. Since I joined Guidewire, there have been two significant developments. Guidewire has gone through a momentous transformation in terms of the solutions we now offer to the P&C insurance industry. There has been even further emphasis on the importance of an inclusive culture.
When I joined Guidewire, it was early in its journey to becoming a company that could deliver a modern, scalable, extensible, cloud-native platform. Fast forward 18 months later, and we have Guidewire Cloud. Guidewire Cloud combines Guidewire software, services, and ecosystem in a scalable SaaS model. It enables insurers to unlock IT potential so their businesses can turn innovative ideas into results. Our cloud service is specifically engineered for continuous improvement in the P&C insurance industry. Internally, the progress that has been made around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the last 18 months has been phenomenal. I read before that DEI is not an end destination, but Guidewire has indeed started its DEI journey. Guidewire has just hired its first Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, launched several Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), with more on the way and invested significantly in DEI initiatives.
What makes Guidewire different from other tech companies you have worked for?
What makes Guidewire different is every employee is treated as a human being and not just a number. Guidewire is genuinely committed to delivering a world-class environment and experience for all members of the Guidewire employee Community.
When I expressed an interest to move back to Cork, to work remotely, my manager, the Senior Global Director of Strategic Advisory, my team, and HR were fully supportive. Guidewire empowers most employees to work wherever they prefer. They recognise that empowering the workforce is front and centre to the success of Guidewire and the success of Guidewire's customers.
Guidewire also believes in encouraging everyone to pursue opportunities that they are passionate about. I have my personal experience of this to share. Since I joined, I have taken an idea I had from concept to creation with my fellow peers. We established a mentoring program for Solution Sales employees, which introduces participants to a new person who inspires growth.
What inspires you to log in every day?
Guidewire's core values are integrity, rationality, and collegiality. These values are not just something you will see on our office walls or an HR action item to cross off a list. These are values that each person embodies every day when showing up to work. It is inspiring and refreshing to see these values present every day and to be part of a culture that drives equity, inclusion, and collaboration so that everyone can work together as professional equals.
What has been the most significant lessoned learned in your career to date?
Come to the table (or laptop screen) with courage and compassion. Firstly, it is essential to have the courage to attempt new things and push boundaries. When I try something new, it gives me the tenacity to be open to new ways of working and go down a path that others would not necessarily follow. It is equally as important to be courageous enough to make mistakes. I believe in the power of failure because it is the best way to learn. Instead of feeling embarrassed by my mistakes, I now celebrate and learn from them.
Secondly, it is vital to have compassion for colleagues, and I understand that compassion starts with me. When I make mistakes, I recognise that I need to treat myself kindly in the face of failure. This allows me to dig deeper to deliver corrective action, ultimately allowing me to centre myself and manifest positivity so, in parallel, I can help those around me. I can't help others if I am beating myself up over a mistake; therefore, self-compassion is the first step to show genuine compassion to others.
What has your time at Guidewire taught you?
That the power of teamwork can achieve extraordinary things, since joining Guidewire, the company has gone through a significant transformation from delivering self-managed products to deploying and operating a cloud-native platform capable of running Guidewire's applications at scale.
This transformation's success is down to every individual's commitment at Guidewire, and the leadership team is cultivating trust, communication, accountability, collaboration, and transparency throughout the change. As Steve Jobs said, "Great things in business are never done by one person; they're done by a team of people."
If someone reading this was coming to interview for a role in Guidewire tomorrow, what interview tips would you give them?
I mentioned previously that the interview process at Guidewire is a two-way street, so use that to your advantage. As much as you are being interviewed for team fit and how suitable you would be for the role, you are also surveying Guidewire. Envisage yourself in the role and jot down questions that come to mind, and ensure you ask them in the interview. Again do your homework. It is essential to know your audience, anticipate specific interview questions, and not forget to follow up with your recruiter after the interview.