WeAreTheCity’s Rising Star Awards are now in their fourth year.
The Rising Star awards were introduced to showcase the UK pipeline of female talent below management and to create female 100 role models across 20 different industries and professions.
Over the year’s, the awards have recognised 400 women across the UK and India.
In this ongoing series, we speak to our winners about life after winning a Rising Star award.
We spoke with Samantha Eustace, who won a 2018 Rising Star Award in Insurance.
Tell us a bit about yourself
Back in 2015, I joined the Insurance Industry on an Operations and Underwriting Apprenticeship at Zurich. Having been approached by a recruiter, offered an interview and being successful in the process, I left A-Levels after just 1 year to complete my Apprenticeship with the sight that I wanted to work and learn whilst doing so. I have spoken openly about my apprenticeship many times to the media, and always say that it was scary to start with – being a little fish in a big corporate pond, but I have had many a chance to prove myself. At the age of just 20, I feel that I have already started to make my mark in the industry.
In 2016 I was named Insurance Apprentice of the Year in the Insurance Time Awards. This came after a years hard work in my new role working alongside global commercial underwriters in the London Market. In 2016 I passed my three exams over the space of 8 months to achieve my Cert CII qualification. During my apprenticeship, I also completed 58 pieces of coursework, and 2 final assessment interviews to be rewarded at the end of 18 months with a Distinction in Providing Financial Services.
For the last 6 months of my Apprenticeship, I took on a Project role in a transition piece in the UK. The role included me training and supporting a new team of individuals whilst measuring their KPIs and improving the efficiency of working through methods such as offshoring.
Back in August 2017, I was ready for a new challenge and that came in the form of my current role in Uk Corporate Affairs. Now, in my day job, I am covering: Public Affairs, Media Relations (PR), Corporate Social Responsibilities and Communications. Much of my work is engaging with key internal, industry, trade body, political and other external stakeholders.
Last year, I mentored a student as part of a programme to support disabled and disadvantaged young people. During our time together, I support their development in communication skills, confidence in dealing with people, how to tackle challenges whilst also supporting in producing a CV and practicing interview skills. My mentee then gained a place in a college to study towards their goal of becoming a car mechanic.
I spend many hours volunteering at schools around my local area, London and Farnborough. I go into schools and teach a variety of ages of students about Financial Literacy, Employability skills, Insurance, CV writing and Interview skills. During my time with the schools, I have also mentored young female talent to encourage them to enter a STEM related career (students who are already studying towards this).
In London, I am a part of our local Zurich Cares Charity committee, helping us raise funds for our local partners (5 charities who benefit our local area such as Mind in Harringay). I also take it upon myself to take on challenges for the Zurich Community Trust to raise money towards our national partners. This year, I am doing the Prudential Ride London 100mile bike ride and aiming to raise £500 to go towards some of our partners work such as the Diana Awards Anti-bullying campaign.
Internally, I am a part of the Zurich Women’s innovation Network who support the workplace in promoting diversity within gender and allowing for more training and facilities to better place yourself in your career. I am the Regional Head for our network, managing the 10 regional committees across the UK who conduct a variety of work to promote the networks objectives. I am also the Co-Chair of our London committee, and the communications and external network lead in our Networking and Influencing Pillar.
Another internal piece of work is my new initiative ‘Ride the Railway’. A scheme I devised which supports employees in the UK organisation to develop their skills, skillshare, and break down silos by being able to spend time work shadowing and gaining insights into other areas of the organisation. I launched this scheme after approval from our CEO Tulsi, with support from then UK head of HR Georgina Farrell and UK Head of Talent, Tara Hutton back in December 2017. The scheme has seen over 200 employees experience other teams and has become a BAU operation supported by the HR function. I manage the working committee who keep the initiative running.
Externally, I am communications lead for the Insurance Industry Gender Inclusion Network – made up of the major insurers and brokers in the UK. I manage our website, communications, mailing, marketing and external stakeholder engagement.
Alongside this, I am Chair and Founder of the first UK insurance apprenticeship network – ASSET.
How did you feel when it was announced that you’d won a Rising Star award?
Being named a Rising star, especially given my entrance into the industry, was a huge privilege. I met a huge number of amazing and inspiring individuals throughout the journey and to sit with the other 99 stars in the Times HQ for the awards ceremony filled me with pride, honor and motivation to keep on doing what I am doing and help the next generation to push through and break down the barriers!
Please tell us what has happened in your career since winning the Rising Star awards?
Following my award, I received a lot of coverage internally across the UK organisation. I have previously also won the Apprentice of the Year award which supported my profile too – so quickly word spread around the office that my award collection was increasing. I have since spoken at multiple student events and industry events, in which I always take a chance to mention the awards and try my best to inspire. I have had students come to me afterwards and ask me so many questions about how they can get to where they want to go. I also now regularly mentor students from a variety of backgrounds.
What advice would you give to someone else going through our award’s process?
Really shout! I did a big LinkedIn post that week to mark my award, the work experience programme I organized and buying my first flat (all of which happened in the same week!) and it got over 12,000 views. Be proud and make sure you tell people about it – especially those who will then look to you as a role model. It can really help inspire so many people – especially those who are younger or more junior.
What tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?
Learn to say no. You don’t develop yourself in the best light if you spread yourself too thin. Do a great job at a few things rather than an average job at multiple things just because you didn’t want to ‘let people down’.