Q and A with business development executive Nadia Timmer

11 March 2022

Nadia tells us about her Dutch West Indian roots, joining the insurance industry by accident and her Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy, Bruno

What is your role at Harbour Underwriting?

I work as a business development executive where I work closely with our managing director, Sharon Brown, on sales and marketing.

Can you briefly outline your career before you joined Harbour Underwriting?

Before I moved over to the UK, I worked as an office manager at Local, a property developer in The Hague. I’m Dutch (with Dutch West Indian roots) and had previously only worked in The Netherlands.

In 2018, I moved over to the UK to live in London with my (now) fiancé and started working at Harbour. I began as an executive assistant to the founder, chief operating officer and general counsel of Harbour Litigation Funding. I also started working with Sharon Brown, managing director of Harbour Underwriting and got more and more involved with the marketing side of the business at Harbour Underwriting. I found I had a flair for marketing, and Sharon encouraged me to pursue this career path. As a result, I am delighted to be moving over fully to Harbour Underwriting and expanding my role as a business development executive.

What prompted you to go into the insurance industry?

To be honest, I rolled into it by accident. I didn’t have any experience in the insurance industry before I started working with Sharon. It is certainly more interesting than its reputation would lead you to be believe. I am especially enjoying the marketing side and getting involved in all aspects of setting up and running a campaign and attending marketing events and conferences.

What do you most enjoy about your role?

I love the variety of things I do and meeting lots of different people. No two days are the same.

Tell us about some of the most memorable events in your current career?

I am very proud of the work we accomplish as a team. Even when we are working to tight deadlines, we make things work and deliver high quality.

I am also proud to have been working alongside two incredible managers at Harbour Litigation Funding and Harbour Underwriting. On the Harbour Litigation Funding side, I’ve worked with Susan Dunn, founder of Harbour Litigation Funding, and on the Harbour Underwriting side, I work with Sharon Brown, the managing director. They are both such an inspiration and mentor to me and, most of all, fun to work with.

What are your ambitions in your current role?

My ambitions in my current role as a business development executive are to get to know and understand our business and the insurance business better. Plus, building a network and growing within my role.

Who has been the most influential person in your career, and how have they helped you?

I believe that in every phase of your life and career, you will meet someone that leaves a footprint and advice that you will take with you further down the line. Looking back at my career so far, I feel extremely blessed to have always worked with strong, female leaders who have taught me that anything is possible. One piece of advice in particular always stayed with me: “Take one step at a time.” And it is true. We can easily get overwhelmed by all the things we have to do, trying to see the bigger picture, but by taking one step at a time, it becomes easier to cope with.  

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do? What qualities do they need?

Don’t give up. It might take some time, and you might come across people along the way who don’t believe in you or won’t encourage you to grow but believe in yourself and have faith. Everything comes to you at the right time. Persistence and hard work are key.

What do you most enjoy doing outside of work?

I used to go to the gym quite a lot, but now we have a puppy called Bruno, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, who is taking up all my time and who I love to cuddle with. I love spending time with my family, and I also like to go out walking and discovering the UK. It’s still all very new to me.

What is your guilty pleasure?

I love food! Do I need to say more?

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