Kate found that a proactive approach to new opportunities and using maternity leave as a chance to assess her career helped her to reach her current role.
Stop worrying and seeking permission; what I made work for me would work for the company, so just get on with it..
I honestly never planned for a long-term career in Aviva, so how come I’m still here all these years on? The time has definitely flown which is down to a few things.
Variety of roles – I joined Aviva in a finance project role and putting my hand up for opportunities where process improvement or significant change was needed came naturally. If you have a skill or something you enjoy don’t be afraid to let everyone know. Maternity breaks were useful as well; I used them to rethink career direction and engaged with senior management before returning to work.
Career progression – mine is not a fast track story, but I have progressed and was promoted to Director last year. At Aviva but you need to be proactive and not afraid to move sideways – a couple of times I’ve felt upward opportunities were limited so have looked for something different; a good example is my move to Aviva Investors in 2012, which involved discipline change from Finance to Risk and Controls and a new industry sector in asset management. I won’t say it’s been easy but it’s been rewarding and fun too.
The best (and shortest!) piece of early advice was on the subject of my deal breaker which is flexible working around family and work commitments. A member of the exec advised me to “stop worrying and seeking permissions; what I made work for me would work for the company, so just get on with it”. Sounds obvious but needed those words and still use them on myself and others today.