Chris Last is on our Future Leaders Programme, read his career story below!
What do you do in Admiral and how long have you been working here?
Hello! My name is Chris Last and I’ve been here at Admiral for around nine years. I’ve recently joined the Future Leaders Programme and prior to that I was running Contact Centre Operations at our US subsidiary, Elephant.
The Future Leaders Programme is a year-long placement that sees participants take on the responsibilities of an International Business Development Manager. I see myself as an internal advisor for the Group senior leadership team, plugging into my experience and recent MBA to help guide the strategy of the business and help solve some of the most complex challenges the company faces.
What is your background?
I joined Admiral shortly after completing a business degree at the University of South Wales. I came in on a Graduate Programme and was placed into a newly created digital team. It was an incredible experience. I was given responsibility from day one and helped Admiral take some of those first steps in transforming from a call centre focused business to the much more tech savvy company you see today.
Through my time here I’ve moved around many different roles and have had the opportunity to work closely with most areas of the business. The one thing I love most about Admiral is how the company encourages people to broaden their knowledge by stepping out of their comfort zone. But what’s more impressive is how much they genuinely live by the principle across the organisation; not once have I been told “you don’t have the experience for this job.” I think that’s pretty unusual for a business of our size, it speaks towards Admiral’s true passion for people and a belief that success comes down to the team, the team, the team.
What are you most excited about at the moment?
Within the programme, I help oversee the creation and implementation of the Group business strategy. With such a bird’s-eye view I think the most exciting change is actually the underlying evolution of the business as a whole. To see a company that has come so far, have such big aspirations is very exciting. Discussing its ambitions of becoming more digital, strengthening its product portfolio and preparing for the future of an ever-changing car insurance market. Most external people I speak to say car insurance is far from exciting, but I think if you’re truly passionate about business, with a technical mindset, the intricacies and complexities of the industry can keep you fascinated for an entire career.
Do you think there are opportunities to grow and develop here?
Early on I was told “we didn’t hire you for the work you complete today, we did it for what you can become.” I think back to that moment frequently. Since day one Admiral has invested in me as a person, it’s a big reason why I’ve been here for nine years and why I’ll be here for many more.
I’ve always been big on learning and development, becoming the best version of myself. Admiral has driven me to become better each and every day. The company has funded a bunch of different qualifications, helped sponsor my MBA and encouraged me to apply for positions that would keep my learning curve steep. All the while, they provided mentorship, coaching and a phenomenal leadership team to learn from.
I always say I’m incredibly fortunate to have grown up in Admiral. I joined from a small town, with no insurance knowledge and little business experience. I now get to work with some of the brightest minds in business, from some of the top business schools, each with incredible talents, experiences and backgrounds.
Do you have a career-defining moment?
I’ve always put an imaginary ceiling on where I could go and what I could accomplish. I think most people do. The most I've ever felt in the deep end was my first few months running US Operations. I’d managed small teams in the past but leading over 160 agents in a company and market where I had zero understanding was daunting. But I actually did a really good job! After a few months, my team were setting new records and my approach was having the desired impact.
It was a sudden realisation that if I could do that job successfully, what other limiting beliefs had I put on myself? There is a strange sense when you realise you have potential to go beyond your expectation. That’s what Admiral does. It not only raises you to the bar you had set, but makes you realise you can go beyond.
Do you have any advice for someone looking to join Admiral and the Future Leaders Programme?
My first piece of advice is simply to apply! Meet the people, I can guarantee from the initial interview you’ll be hooked. The company continues to impress me with extraordinary business achievements, but done in the right way! Here, you are more than an employee. You are an asset. One to be developed, utilised, invested in, and that is true across every role within the organisation. So, my top tip has always been to get in the door!
More specifically for those looking to join the Future Leaders Programme I’d say think hard about the value you can bring, the skills and capabilities that you have, the problems you can solve and the unique perspective you will provide. The Admiral team all come from varied and diverse backgrounds. On my current intake we have an actuary, an engineer, an economist and a coach. While distinct, they all bring the same thing to the Group - talent to help take the company forward, passion to make a difference and an embodiment of our Admiral culture.
Read more about our Future Leaders Programme here.