John Harney of AON – on Pensions, Food, New Beginnings and Returning to the Fold

John Harney is a senior consultant with AON where he focuses on helping pension scheme sponsors to manage pension risks and maximize potential upside. He is based in the Oxford area. I came across John through mutual friends in the industry and when I was drawn in particular to his LinkedIn posts that mentioned his joy in cooking and baking.

This was initially very promising for our inaugural “Love” series, but what we discovered in our conversation was a veritable “Layer Cake” of a career. We start with John’s upbringing on an organic farm in Ireland and the serendipity that brought him to studying to be an actuary. We hear about his first professional role, and the mentors that nurtured him.

We move then to a new beginning of sorts – his return to university to study theology and music – both early passions for him and delve into the insights and perspective that those pursuits taught him.  He then “returned to the fold” of his pensions work, and brought with him an additional richness that that further study had afforded him.  We speak about how rare it is to have managers who truly understand and appreciate the depth that further study can bring, and how we should all seek to be that manager.

We turn then to John’s love of cooking and baking, and his LinkedIn post citing Nigella Lawson that drew me to him. We speak about food’s power to heal, to allow one to destress and see perspective in life too – whether that be the incremental improvement that every iteration of a recipe can bring and the need to park “perfection” sometimes. John lets us in on his specialty dish – a “croaf” . . listen in and all will be revealed.