26 August 2021
For most businesses, the ‘outside’ is always the most visible. The storefronts, the websites, the service and the day-to-day activities are there and just seem to happen. In fact, you only generally notice them if something goes wrong.
Of course, this doesn’t just happen by magic – and, in the case of Elders Insurance Maitland, Upper Hunter and Newcastle, it’s down to the stellar work of Sales Support Officer Abbie Allsop.
“I do all of the rostering and office management, and assist with customer enquiries,” says Abbie, who’s been with the business – which is run by husband-and-wife team Brett and Kirsty Sutherland – for eight years.
Three sites, 14 staff and more than 6000 clients certainly keeps her busy, and the way she managed to navigate the business through the logistical challenges presented by COVID-19 was one of the reasons the team nominated her for the 2020 Sales Support Officer of the Year award. Challenging times require people to step up, and Abbie did just that.
“We just had to make sure we could all work from home and be safe,” she says, before modestly adding, “We just got everyone set up – it was pretty smooth, to be honest. We never thought we’d have to do it, but we just got it all done.”
It wasn’t just the way she dealt with the logistical aspect of COVID-19, however – the Elders Insurance team also appreciate her positive can-do attitude and her desire to get the job done.
“I remember we had some storm events in 2018 – it was my last day before maternity leave, I was heavily pregnant, and we literally just had to get in, get on with it and get it done.”
Abbie and her husband Ben now have a two-year-old daughter, Harriet, who takes up the vast majority of their time outside of work. It means things have come almost full circle for Abbie, who used to babysit for Brett and Kirsty’s children before being offered the chance to join Elders Insurance, initially starting as a receptionist and seizing opportunities as they came her way.
“I’ve known them for a long time – nearly 20 years – and they are really good family friends,” says Abbie. “I really love and respect working for them.”
For Kirsty Sutherland, the feeling is mutual.
“Abbie is an absolute asset to our business,” she says. “Her dedication, motivation and work ethic over the last eight years has been truly amazing. Nothing is ever an issue or too hard. Abbie takes pride in all that she does for us, our wonderful team and clients.”
When news came that Abbie had first won the state award and then the national, she was taken by surprise.
“I was shocked, that’s for sure,” she laughs. “I’m very proud, and it’s a great achievement – something you work towards.
“The team secretly nominated me, which was pretty cool because normally I know everything that’s going on – they usually can’t keep a secret!”
“This award is very well deserved, and we are very proud of this achievement for Abbie,” adds Kirsty.
As for the future, Abbie is looking forward to growing and developing her role with the business, as the business grows and develops too.
“I love the management side of the role and looking after the team. Hopefully we have a couple more offices in the next couple of years – I’m looking forward to assisting in setting those up and working on the business as it grows.”
And for any business to grow, people like Abbie are critically important in making it happen.
If you live or work in the Newcastle, Maitland, Upper Hunter, Lake Macquarie or Port Stephens areas and would like to discuss your insurance needs, email Abbie at Abbie.Allsop@elders.com.au .