I joined Hastings Direct in January 2014 as Project Manager. It’s a really varied role and as you work on different projects you get the opportunity to work with and learn about different parts of the business. I was promoted to Senior Project Manager in January 2016 and then Programme Manager in May 2018. In summer 2019 I took a step out of Programme Management and started a new secondment position as Business Manager, reporting into our Chief Operating Officer.
There have been many highlights since joining Hastings Direct, but if I had to pick a couple; I won the annual 4Cs award for outstanding contribution to the company in 2018 - a really proud moment! I was also selected for our first cohort on the 30% club, which demonstrates Hastings’ commitment to gender diversity and inclusion.
I haven’t always been in this field, though - I’ve had a varied education and career history! After my GCSEs I studied Art & Design, specialising in Graphics and Illustration. I wasn’t sure about university and wanted that enticing ‘gap year’. To appease my parents I agreed to do some more study and took a level 3 NVQ in Business Administration at the local college.
During this time I got a job working for BUPA in the post room. Turns out I quite liked it and over the next 10 years I worked my way up through the company including roles in back office and customer services, and then landing, what felt like by accident, in Project Management. Of course it wasn’t really an accident, when you work hard, develop yourself, build strong relationships and play to your strengths the right opportunities usually present themselves one way or another.
After 10 years I decided I really needed a change… so I bought a pub with my (now) husband Phil. It was a beautiful place, the original part of the building built in about 1680, positioned in the centre of a lovely West Sussex village. When we walked in the business was failing, a poor reputation, no staff and not a lot of furniture. Those 4 years and it taught me so much. I did everything except cook (remember what I said about playing to your strengths?) and I LOVED IT. 4 years was enough though and our desire to start a family led us to the decision to sell the pub and change again, which is when I joined Hastings.
During my time at Hastings I’ve had the opportunity to work with nearly every team, I’ve met loads of brilliant people and delivered some great change that has supported our growth as a company, improved the service and pricing for our customers, made things easier for our colleagues and supported our community.
There are so many people who have helped me grow at Hastings Direct, that there isn’t space or time to name them all. The support I have received across the board at Hastings has been outstanding. In particular the support I received from our former Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer, Lucy Johnson who coached, mentored and sponsored me until she left Hastings Direct at the end of 2019. Having a senior leader show confidence in me and help me push myself to do and be more made a huge difference.
For anyone looking to develop their career at Hastings Direct, I would say identify your strengths and your passions (not just what you’re good at but what you enjoy) and seek out opportunities where you get to use these. Identify the areas you want to develop and work on them. Do the things you don’t enjoy as much with good grace and the same passion as the things you love (every job has bits like this).
Find a coach or mentor in the business. Be bold and ask someone who you admire or who has traits that you are looking to develop yourself. (Don’t worry about asking, most people will be hugely flattered that you ask them!)
Work hard, have fun, build great relationships with people.
What I love the most about Hastings Direct are the people, the 4Cs, the opportunity and the ambition!
To see our current vacancies, click here.
Date added: 23rd July 2020