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Meeting our ex-Army employee - Matthew

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General

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Blog

** DEFAULT postresults.publishdate - en-GB **

09/04/2021

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We spoke to Matthew, who prior to joining us at Admiral, was in the Army for over eighteen years, serving in the 3rd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment. As you may know, Admiral signed the Armed Forces Covenant in 2019. We are committed to supporting reservists, ex-armed forces personnel and their families, both inside and outside of the workplace. Before coming to work at Admiral, Matthew was in the Army for over eighteen years. We caught up with him to hear more about his transition out of the Army and into Admiral… Could you tell us a bit more about your experiences in the army? I joined the Army at 15, right after I took my GCSEs. I thought I was the hardest kid in the world when I joined, but I found out I wasn’t! Honestly, I was a bit of a tear-away, and joining the Army did me a world of good. I had a really varied experience. I started out in the Coldstream Guards – wearing a red jacket and a furry hat outside Buckingham Palace, living in Westminster and then Chelsea barracks. One year, instead of taking part in the Trooping of the Colour, I decided to try out for P-Company. I was successful, got my wings, and joined 3 Para (3rd Battalion, Parachute Company). I saw a lot of conflict – Northern Ireland, the First Gulf War, Bosnia and Serbia, the Second Gulf War, Afghanistan. I had some good days, and some bad days; in the army your bad days are really bad. How did you find the transition out of the army? Transitioning was hard, but eventually I made the choice to leave and be with my family. Right before lockdown, I was a guest speaker at my children’s school, and one of the children asked me what the hardest thing about being in the Army was. I told them that physically it was P-Company selection, but that mentally the hardest thing was leaving. When I drove out of the camp for the last time, and realised it was all over, I pulled my car to the side of the road and cried my eyes out. I didn’t want to leave. The Army is more than a job, it becomes a massive part of your life. I was so young when I joined that there were things I had never had to do for myself before, like going to the doctors and getting a bus. Civvy street can be really overwhelming. After eighteen years, I was very institutionalized, and to an extent I probably will be for the rest of my life. The Army is a completely different world, and the transition out takes a lot of adjustment. Whilst I was in the Army, there were times where I thought I would prefer an office job, mainly to have a rest from running up and down mountains with my kit on. In reality, the transition to an office job was mind-numbing, and I wished I was back on those mountains. It took time, but I adjusted. That’s what they teach you in the Army - improvise, adapt and overcome, and that’s what I did. How did you come to work at Admiral? It took me a while to end up at Admiral. Straight after I left the Army, I worked in Close Protection and Counter Terrorism, which is a natural step for a lot of ex-servicemen. After a while, life events took over and I had to step away. I ended up in Technical Support for a while, and if I’m really honest, it wasn’t the job for me. I didn’t mind the job so much, but the place I worked was difficult. I’m based Swansea way, so I ran into lots of people who worked at Admiral, and I heard nothing but good things. When I first joined, I was shocked at how different it was to my old company. On my first day of training, when we were talking about car parking arrangements, I asked my manager a question about bringing a motorcycle to work. She told me that she didn’t know the answer, but that she’d find out. Within ten minutes, she got back to me with the information I needed. I remember being shocked. At the last place I’d worked I would ask a relevant question and most of the time, I’d never hear back. The level of communication at Admiral is similar to the Army, and it was really refreshing. How have you found working at Admiral? Honestly, it is rare to work for a company that supports you like Admiral does. I know that because Admiral isn’t the first company I have worked for since leaving the Army. I struggle with PTSD, but my Team Managers have always got behind me and supported me, even when I’m having a bad day. It’s quite easy for me to slip into the squaddie mentality of ‘I’m fine’, but I’ve worked a lot with People Services (HR) and they have given me the support that I need. It’s the first time since I’ve got out of the Army that I know I’m working for a company that supports me as much as they can and understands my situation. Civvy street can be really hard, and that’s why it is so important to know that you’re in a place where you will be looked after no matter what. That is what Admiral is for me. What are you up to at the moment? I currently work as a Customer Loyalty Representative. My role includes development, so I get to do some coaching within my team and the department which I really enjoy. I also spend time monitoring other peoples’ roles and improving our customer service. There is a lot of opportunity for progression at Admiral, and I am excited to be moving onwards and upwards, building another career for myself. What transferable skills do you feel the Army has given you? I think the biggest one is communication. In the Army, you’re constantly interacting with people you don’t know, so you really develop the skill of confident communication, which has definitely come in handy in my current role. Flexibility is another one. In the Army, there is a saying that you have Plan A and Plan B, but it’ll be Plan C that comes into play. And it’s true – there have been times when I have planned and trained for months, only for something to not happen. Similarly, having a sense of humour, because it keeps you grounded and helps you face any situation. In my current role, if things don’t go exactly to plan it doesn’t phase me, because I can keep things in perspective, find a solution, and move on. I suppose you could say it has made me more resilient. What do you enjoy most about working at Admiral? No one shouts around here and compared to other places I’ve worked that’s a real plus! Apart from that, there’s real variety in the people you speak to on the phones and I really enjoy interacting with customers. I’ve always believed that it’s worthwhile coming to work if you can help someone out, and make their life just a little bit easier, and in my current role I get to do that. One of the customers I spoke to the other day told me that I had made her day, and it’s the rewarding moments like that which make it enjoyable. That’s why I love my role and being a part of Admiral.

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Valvanuz  Guerrero-Perez

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Valvanuz Guerrero-Perez

Valvanuz  Guerrero-Perez

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Valvanuz Guerrero-Perez

Part time working: attaining balance in different areas improves performance in all areas.

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Admiral Pioneer

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Blog

** DEFAULT postresults.publishdate - en-GB **

26/03/2021

Summary

For me, part time working boils down to a simple philosophy: attaining balance in different areas improves performance in all areas – Gunnar Peters, CEO Veygo. So, who am I?   I’m German, born and raised, and came across the channel before Abitur (German equivalent of A-levels) to experience a new culture and actually learn English (some may question when this will actually start). I met a girl and, after a few years’ long distance, found myself engaged and heading back to the UK to study Maths at Cardiff University. I quickly fell in love with Wales and Cardiff and decided this was where I wanted to settle. My life in Admiral started as a Pricing Programmer in 2008 and I worked my way up in different functions like New Products, part of large-scale programmes, IT and much more. As you can probably tell by now, I never had a clear vision of what I wanted to do – this continues to the present day. I essentially always wanted to find something that I was good at and then making sure that I like it, not the other way round. My latest adventure is leading Mobility within Admiral Pioneer. I am part of the Admiral Pioneer Leadership team, which is really exciting as we bring the best talent across different industries together to concept and launch new ventures. Mobility is currently synonymous with Veygo, which I have been heading up for nearly a year now. However, Mobility will be broader than Veygo and insurance as we explore electric vehicles, ride sharing, green fleet and mobility as a service. It has its own setup and functional organisation and operates as its own business, which is exciting and we have some very ambitious goals.  In spring 2017, I made the decision that I wanted to go back to University and do a Msc in Applied Statistics. Admiral was kind enough to support this, even though it meant that I would only be in the office for 4 days a week for most of the year, during exam periods even less so. Between deciding on and starting the Applied Statistics course, I applied for the role of Head of Telematics (also known by many as Black Box Insurance), taking over a team of 20 and the Profit and Loss account responsibilities for the product. My 4-day week was acknowledged and supported throughout the interview process and so I started a new role in the same summer as I went back to school after 10 years of no formal education. The following 2 years taught me that being busier than ever before can be energising! Strangely, the stress of one took away from the pressure of the other. It provided me space away from work and thus perspective. It also helped my team. They knew when I was not in the office and knew that they did not have to run everything past me. Being in the office 4 days a week provided a weird sense of clarity between us all. Reflecting on this time, I realise that this helped the team feel more empowered. The one day out of the office means that the team had to step up to fill the void on those occasions, which I believe enabled them to have increased exposure in the business and to develop their own abilities while knowing that support was available at the end of the phone if they needed it. Several of my direct reports have themselves been promoted into other roles, which would suggest that this process has helped us all. Everybody who knows me also knows that I struggle to switch off, my mind is always going, and I work very hard. But I have learned the hard way that just like when you work out in the gym too hard for too long, you need recovery periods to continue to perform at the same level over a long time. A 3-day weekend gives additional recovery time and a chance to recharge to bring more energy to the working week. So, in autumn 2019 I asked to formally go to 4 days, while reducing my hours to 90%. It also means I am more present for my 2 children and can actually be of real help with the childcare duties. I have now been promoted twice since working a 4-day week and it has had multiple benefits to me, my team and family: ·       I work hard and, whereas I previously worked myself towards burnout when things got tough, now there is an energy buffer that enables me to step up and carry the team in these moments. Working 4 days gives me enough time to recharge and be there, really there, for my team. ·       The extra day also gives me the time to develop myself further. Doing an Msc and creating real space for a coach and mentor to make the most of their valuable input rather than trying to squeeze this in. Having a day off allows time to digest wider reading and previous conversations, allowing space for creative solutions to present themselves in a way that rarely happens in a day packed with meetings. ·       The team has more obvious opportunity to step up: delegation is necessary, not an option. This gives development opportunities and empowers the team. Did I mention that many of my direct reports are succeeding in their careers too? ·       My Children and wife have more quality time with me (mind you, they may see this as a negative) ·       My wife has more freedom because I pick up more of the childcare burden and as a result has taken on additional responsibilities in work. ·       I keep my lightness and unique character for work and home equally, reducing the risk of mood swings. Admiral have even set up a new initiative to embrace new Ways of Working (WoW) that give even more flexibility in where and how we can work. The idea will be for our business to run in a hybrid working environment with people at home and people in the office at the same time. There will be a lot of testing and learning as we go, but it’s a really exciting project and I’m looking forward to seeing the changes that are made in the future. If you consider reducing your hours, working different times to others or dropping a day here is some advice from me: Understand why you want to do it. How will it benefit you, your family, your team, your career? Creating this clarity will help you feel confident enough to ask. There is still a stigma that reducing your hours or the number of days you work means you are not ambitious, you want to step back, you are disengaged, etc. This stigma is likely internal as well as external: challenge the little voice in the back of your mind that doubts what can be achieved by part-timers! But if you understand why you are asking then you can tell a true story, you can ask with conviction and you know how you will measure the success of the change. If you decide, like me, to drop a day, make sure you drop it fully. No access to work! The team can always reach you on the phone if they truly need something from you, but otherwise, you are off. Do this for a few months as otherwise it is difficult to get the benefit you desire. And make sure you enjoy the day and achieve what you wanted to on that day. For me, it was self-development and doing the school runs to spend time with the kids. What is yours?

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Allison Martin

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Allison Martin

Allison Martin

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Allison Martin

Why authenticity matters – with Penguin Portals Director Elena Betes

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MBA

Content Type

Blog

** DEFAULT postresults.publishdate - en-GB **

16/03/2021

Summary

Elena Betes joined us on the Future Leaders Program and helped found Rastreator in 2008 in Spain our first Price Comparison site outside of the UK. Since January 2014 she has overseen our Group Comparison Portals. She shares her experience and advice to MBAs considering a career with Admiral.   What have been some of the best moments of your career? I feel proud when looking back at something I’ve created. I feel proud to have created environments that people enjoy working in. There will always be ups and downs, but when things are working well, results are strong, and the team is doing their best, that’s the moment when I step back and think ‘wow, look how much we have achieved together!’. What do you love most about your role? My role right now consists of overseeing the ‘penguins’, which includes all our comparison sites around the world. They all require completely different supervision and support, so I have to adjust constantly. Adapting to the needs of the people that I'm working with is highly rewarding. I love it. I also love the visibility I get from working with these international operations. I love connection, seeing ideas from one place and linking them with people from another. It's allowed me to focus on my strengths instead of on my weaknesses.  What advice would you give to MBAs joining us on how they can be successful? Firstly, no one will tell you exactly what to do or how to do it. It's about you proactively defining your scope, discovering your ambition, and then convincing everyone to come along with you. Don't expect someone to tell you exactly how things should be done and be ready to bring your creativity and initiative to drive change and to make things happen. It’s also important that you embrace the culture and enjoy getting your hands dirty. You need to be willing to roll up your sleeves and get things done yourself. It’s also important you have a strategic mind and be able to connect the dots between business problems and opportunities. What do you look for when hiring an MBA? I think it comes down to a combination of factors. The intellectual level of the people that we hire is very high. That’s the base.  But it must be coupled with being a good person! We care about doing the right thing for our customers and for our staff and we look for MBAs that will embody this. At Admiral there are no politics; there's a lot of intellectual discussion and challenge, but our priority is always collaboration. So, we love it when people come in with ideas, optimism, and a willingness to work together and get things done.  What can Admiral offer MBAs that is different to any other big company? Firstly, an environment that cares fundamentally about people. It’s simple but I think it is one of the single most important values when looking for a long-term career with a company. I don't think a lot of companies our size could say that they have maintained a culture of innovation and transparency from the start up until the present day. The fact that we still make decisions based on what we feel is the right thing for customers, employees, and shareholders is quite special. Secondly, it’s that Admiral offers you a lot of space to learn, to invent, and to be yourself. I think this freedom to be authentic is one of the reasons behind our success. I love that we’ve maintained an entrepreneurial mindset giving people space to come in and make mistakes, to test things, and to learn from both failures and triumphs. You can find out more about the journeys our MBAs have taken here or read more about our MBA Leadership Programs. Alternatively, follow our MBA Leadership page on Linkedin.

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Connie  Hogg

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Connie Hogg

Connie  Hogg

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Connie Hogg

Fanny, Chief Growth Officer for L’olivier in Paris, tells us about her Admiral journey

Teaser

MBA

Content Type

Blog

** DEFAULT postresults.publishdate - en-GB **

08/03/2021

Summary

Fanny joined the Admiral Group in 2010 to help set-up our French subsidiary L’olivier after completing her master’s degree in international business at HEC Paris’ Grand Ecole. She held various high-profile marketing & Product roles in both France and the UK before transitioning onto the Future Leaders Program in 2018. She now works as Chief Growth Officer for L’olivier in Paris.  How did you come to join Admiral? After completing my master’s at HEC Paris, I was looking for my first job. I loved the idea of creating my own business, but it wasn’t the right time for me. When I saw the advert looking for someone to come and help set up a French subsidiary of a Welsh insurance company, I thought it could be interesting. It was basically entrepreneurship with a pay-check. I sent my CV and cover letter and was called back right away! I was wow-ed. I felt special. I was interviewed by Henry Engelhardt, who was our CEO at the time and one of our founders. I also met the founding team of the French comparison site and the CEO of the French subsidiary who was looking to hire me. At just twenty-three, interviewing for my first job, this stood out as something quite special. The combination of a personalized experience, friendliness and professionalism was unique, compared to other companies I had interviewed with. At the time I was debating between Admiral and a very big French industrial company – the kind of company that everyone knows and that would make your parents proud. But there was something that attracted me to Admiral. The company’s story was compelling and I wanted to be part of the adventure. I remember talking to my dad and he told me ‘sometimes you have to follow your heart’. I decided to give it a try and I’ve never looked back! Tell us about your experience setting up our French operation?When I joined in France, the French business did not yet exist. We had an appointed CEO, who I worked closely with. On day one, I went to the shop to buy a pen and a notebook. Materially, there was nothing. Two people, two laptops, in a shared office space in Paris. Year one was spent setting up the company from the ground up: writing the first policy booklet, selecting the brand, finding the right office space – I remember sitting on the floor waiting hours for our electricity to be installed. I experienced everything from the material facilities aspects to flying to Munich to present our business plan to investors. Contributing to it all was incredibly rewarding.   The next three years in France were centred on marketing, product and growth. How did you find moving to Cardiff and becoming the UK’s Marketing Director?In 2014 I left France for a bigger adventure in Cardiff, our global HQ, to head up the marketing department for the UK insurance business. One of my proudest moments was becoming Marketing Director for the UK. I was twenty-eight, making me one of the youngest Marketing Directors for a FTSE100 company at the time. I was managing 30 people and millions of pounds – it was a lofty responsibility and an exciting challenge. I remember friends from business school saying to me ‘you’ve made it’. I’m not so sure about that but I felt proud. Choosing the company that felt right for me paid off. It was a very different dynamic, with more established teams and larger resources. The step up was clear and this brought with it a steep learning curve. That excited me greatly. One of our biggest achievements was reinventing the entire brand, from the logo to the TV ads - with the very first female Admiral! I was so lucky to be welcomed and supported by such a friendly and competent team. After three years leading the marketing team, I craved that start-up spirit again, so I joined the newer UK Loans business to look after marketing, product and sales. It was great to learn about something completely different, outside of insurance. A key milestone for us was launching car finance direct to consumer – this was the first time this had been done in the UK.   Why did you decide to join the Future Leaders Program (FLP)? I knew a lot about marketing, but I didn’t know a lot about the wider company and how Admiral truly makes money. Being on this program gives you the privilege of getting closer to the DNA of the business, to understand what makes Admiral so profitable.  I was also motivated by the geographical flexibility and international component as well as the chance to work directly with Milena Mondini, who is now our Group CEO. I remember thinking, ‘wow, I can learn so much from this woman. She is doing something exciting.’  I worked as an International Business Development Manager on the FLP for two years with Milena and completed some very interesting projects, including a strategy review of the Group. What’s the impact been of having a female CEO?I am very proud when I see that we are one of just two FTSE100 companies with both a female CEO and a female chair. Milena and Annette are both hugely inspiring. But it goes beyond that. What is remarkable, in my opinion, is the presence of successful women at all levels across the business. Often when a company does have a female CEO, she is just one woman among a management team of men. At Admiral there are multiple female leaders at all levels of the organisation and this provides role models for women across the business. It means that wherever you go, there will be a woman just a little bit ahead of you, to look up to, inspire you and lift you up. It is a company of many Milenas and this creates a very special environment for both men and women to work in. How have you found balancing your impressive career with raising a family? Fanny has three children aged five, three and almost one. All her children were born while she was employed at Admiral in Cardiff.It goes without saying that having children can be a challenge for your career and requires new levels of organisation. In a way, you become far more productive!My husband also works for Admiral and was CEO of one of our businesses when we had our children. So, we both had ambitious careers with a lot of responsibility. Fortunately, Admiral does a lot for parents, which meant that neither of us had to sacrifice our career or family life. In some companies, family-friendly policies are almost exclusively targeted at mothers and this can have many negative side effects. In Admiral, family-friendly policies ensure that both parents can take their share of household duties and strike the right balance for their families. Admiral champions a culture of work-life balance. Long hours and late meetings are avoided and there is flexibility around working hours and patterns. Everyone benefits from that, not only parents.Due to Admiral’s encouragement and culture, my husband and I were able to create a balanced and equal pattern of work that allowed both of us to continue to develop professionally whilst also being there for our children. We are proud that we can both be positive role models for our three girls. What advice would you give to someone considering a career at Admiral? I am yet to meet anyone who has regretted joining Admiral. I know people who have stayed longer than I and shorter than I have, but no one that I know has regretted their time at Admiral. So, my advice would be to go for it because you will not regret it! You can find out more about the journeys on our Future Leaders Program here or read more about our MBA Leadership Programs. Alternatively, follow our MBA Leadership page on Linkedin.

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Connie  Hogg

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Connie Hogg

Connie  Hogg

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Connie Hogg

Maurizio, Head of Loans at ConTe.it, tells us why he chose Admiral

Teaser

MBA

Content Type

Blog

** DEFAULT postresults.publishdate - en-GB **

22/02/2021

Summary

Maurizio (INSEAD 2017) joined Admiral in 2017 and is now Head of Loans in ConTe.it. We caught up with him to find out what he was looking for in his career and why he chose Admiral. "Admiral stood out to me because it was founded by two INSEAD MBAs, which really resonated with me as an INSEAD student myself. I was excited by the Future Leaders Program and the blend of internal consulting, accountability and potential for growth that the program offered. I started talking to people in the company and soon realised that Admiral also has a very unique culture.   There were two main things that matched my post-MBA career expectations that convinced me to join Admiral over other alternatives: The first was growth. I wanted to be in a growing company, which would provide constant new opportunities and projects. It was especially exciting to see how the company’s growth was driven by people – putting customers and employees first. The second was accountability. Admiral gives MBAs visibility and responsibility from day one. This was an important factor for me. There are many, well-paid MBA jobs where you don’t step up in terms of responsibility and project scope. I wasn’t only after a salary rise: I wanted to have an impact and establish a long-term career, too. One of my favourite things about the role is the opportunity to do something meaningful. My job is meaningful to the business, to our customers and to me. For anyone considering a career in Admiral, you need to ask yourself what do you really want? We are not one of the biggest companies out there and, as an insurance company, we don’t claim to be one of the coolest - but we’re far from boring!  We are different in the way we work and there are so many opportunities to explore and drive your career with us. Most importantly, we trust and empower our people giving them real ownership and accountability. Where do you see your career in three to five years? Do you want accountability and ownership in a growing environment? If so, this is the program that will offer you that. Other firms may also be great companies to work for, but if you look at the actual program and the role you’ll be doing, you are entering an arena with hundreds of other MBAs all at the same level as you, which means you’ll have fewer possibilities of having an impact and driving change. Admiral only recruits a handful of carefully selected people. When I joined, I did not feel like just another number. I have been with Admiral for 3 years and have taken on some fantastic roles, which have led me to my current role as Head of Loans in Conte, our Italian operation. I’m excited by our long-term vision to innovate within the personal lending market in Italy. We’re looking to create something fully digital, fast and customer centred. Ultimately, my reason for joining Admiral came down to the question of whether I wanted just another name on my resume, or if I wanted real opportunities. I have worked directly with CEOs and key leaders around the business, gaining valuable experience while Admiral invested in me. I had the chance to build things from scratch, with the backing of a FTSE 100, international business." You can find out more about our MBA Leadership Programs and apply on our website. You can also follow our MBA Leadership Programs on LinkedIn to get valuable insights into the company and culture. 

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Connie  Hogg

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Connie Hogg

Connie  Hogg

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Connie Hogg