From the moment I started, I was really impressed by the people.
It was two aspects: firstly, people's genuine commitment to the company, which was almost universal and is very impressive. Secondly, the welcoming and friendly style really struck me. Once I was about six months in, I noticed that there's a lot of expertise in the business, which you wouldn't necessarily notice when you first meet people, because everybody is quite informal and so friendly.
One thing that was reinforced when I joined as an International Business Development Manager is how intrapreneurial and multifaceted the role is. What I mean by intrapreneurial is that, after your first couple of mini-projects, it’s up to you to express what you want and own and drive your career journey and the projects you take on.
The projects are not like a clean piece of homework where someone says we need a 10-page report in a month and here's all the information you need. It’s a lot messier than that; for example, you may be presented with a problem that we're trying to solve as a business, but that we don’t really understand yet. Or, you may need to speak to some people, but you may need to be sensitive because this used to be their project. You need a very wide range of skills - from emotional sensitivity to influencing to negotiation to the actual content of the work itself. I think this is one of the most exciting things about the role and why I say it’s entrepreneurial: you’ve got to be quick on your feet and thoughtful about taking a really tailored approach to each project.
Admiral is a company based on a flat structure where you need to be respectful of everyone’s time. You can't assume that because you've got a project that happens to come from the CEO that you're going to be able to get a date in the diary immediately with everyone you need to speak to. I think that's one of the fascinating things about the role, and I think that's part of what distinguishes it from working somewhere else.
The role really rewards people who are willing and able to build their own career journey by developing their own relationships and working well with a variety of people.
Although Admiral is based in Cardiff with a very strong Welsh heritage as a company, it's got a very inclusive culture. One of the things that makes it the kind of place that people come and stay to work for a long time, is that they don't have to pretend to be someone else. The reality is that people from Spain, Italy, and France, as well as many other places, are working in senior positions across the Group, which is just one of the indications of its inclusive culture.
Overall, my first impressions of both the role and company have been extremely positive and I'm looking forward to continuing to build on my career at Admiral as the new CFO of Admiral Pioneer.