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Marie-Helene Tyack

Marie-Helene Tyack

Marie-Helene Tyack, Global Inclusion, Diversity and Belonging Business Partner at Allianz Global Corporate & Speciality insurance.

  • Location: Paris, France 

  • Title: Global Inclusion Diversity & Belonging Business Partner & Chair of the Allianz Global Pride Board 

  • Company: Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty 

  • Sector: Insurance 

  • Degree: Modern Languages, University of Exeter

How does your usual day look like?

My day starts off with the most important moment of the day – taking my dog out!

I have a global role so am on calls already early with my colleagues in APAC – and if I am going to the office, I will take the bus to La Defense in Paris. I am at my most productive in the morning, so will do a lot of writing in the morning.

Afternoons are also packed with calls and meetings. My role also involves a lot of research, a lot of calls with my boss to brainstorm and articulate things we are trying to put in place. I try to get a run a couple of times in the evening if I’m feeling energetic!

What are the things you like the most about your job?

I love feeling like what I am doing makes a difference – whether that’s creating awareness on topics such as domestic abuse, menopause etc. or being approached by people who are struggling to come out or are unsure of how to come out at work.

I also love the fact that it’s global – of course it doesn’t come without its challenges as there is a different level of maturity when it comes to Inclusion, Diversity & Inclusion in different countries, but that means that no two days look the same.

What are some of the skills you utilise the most in your day-to-day?

The most important skill I use are my communication skills – I am interacting with different parts of the business and trying to influence people, which is a great challenge.

I am very creative and enthusiastic but struggle to be structured and organised, so trying to be aware of this and how that might impact the people I work with.

What was one of your happiest days in your career and why?

I think that this was a couple of weeks ago when I won Inspirational Role Model at the Rainbow Honours. It felt like a recognition of my work over the last year and that felt super cool and made me very happy.

What was the toughest career decision you ever made?

Before being in this role I had worked in recruitment for many years – and I had the choice of either carrying on in recruitment or jumping into the unknown with my current role. It was a new role, a new-ish function so I didn’t know what I was getting into. Needless to say I have no regrets!

What is something you had to learn to become better at your job?

I am a very social person – and loved the interaction with the business while I was working in recruitment. Adapting to different ways of interacting with the business was also something that I had to get my head around. As a recruiter you are providing a service to the business and today I am approaching them as an expert on a topic that they might not have necessarily thought about.

How did you get to become a Global Inclusion, Diversity & Belonging Business Partner?

As an out, queer woman I have always been passionate about Diversity and Inclusion. I have always been involved in our Employee Resource Groups, gradually taking on more importance. When this role came up it was my dream come true, to be able to make a job out of something that I was so passionate about.

What's the one piece of advice you have for anyone interested in becoming a EI Business Partner?

Get involved in any way you can early on – be an ally, volunteer in ERGs, be vocal!

What's your number one productivity hack / when or how are you most effective?

I know myself and how and when I work best – mornings are best for writing, afternoons for calls. I also don’t sleep (not by choice!) so my productivity is also dictated by how much I have slept the night before, and I am now OK with that and accept that I can’t be super productive everyday!

What makes you gracefullyBOLD?

Gosh – this is difficult. I think that being an out, LOUD queer woman – and most importantly being at an age when I am unapologetically myself (but it’s not always been the case!)

How do you spend your weekends or downtimes?

My happy place is Nice in the South of France. Nothing makes me happier than running along the sea front, or swimming in a specific beach.

How do you steal with stress and build resilience?

I am lucky that I have the most incredible network that support me – having colleagues and friends to talk to is something I could simply not do without. They help keep me grounded and a lot of the time help me see the bigger picture – and that is invaluable. Over the years I have also learnt not to take things personally, which is a work in progress!

What would have been your alternative career path or alternative University degree?

As a kid I wanted to be a private detective! Little lesbian me wanted the long coat and cool hat…was it a sign? Probably!

Why is it important for you to be visible as a queer woman?

It’s important to be visible because there aren’t enough of us in the corporate space who are out and loud. The voices of queer women need to be heard and if I can add my voice, create awareness and show people that it’s OK to be out and proud in the corporate space as a queer woman, then I feel I would have made a difference.

One word answers & quick fire round. Let's go!

  • Your superpower: Vulnerability.

  • Favourite restaurant: Le Plongeoir in Nice.

  • Favourite fashion brand: I love shirts – so Thomas Pink, Hawes and Curtis…anyone that will do a good double cuff shirt for women.

  • Favourite beauty product: Smelly things.

  • Favourite perfume: Bleu de Chanel.

  • Book recommendation: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

  • Next holiday destination: Nice.

  • Your hobby: Swimming.

  • Who inspires you: So many incredible women to chose from but if you don’t know Linda Riley or Lady Phyll, look them up they are both amazing.

  • Last thing you learnt: Trio of best Spanish wine: rioja, ribera and rueda (very useful).

Thank you Marie-Helene for sharing your journey & wisdom with us!

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