It seems like only yesterday that I joined LV= but scarily enough it was 28 years ago! I was pretty much still a girl when I headed into the Birmingham office at the tender age of 16. In that time, I’ve worked in so many different areas and I think it’s now 14 roles I’ve had, including an Accounts Clerk, Personal Assistant, Life Claims Manager, Affinity Manager and now Director of Sales & Service.
And it’s not just my working life that has changed so much in this time. I’ve been married for 21 years and have two boys aged 18 and 16. I also no longer live in Birmingham and instead live in the small market town of Dorchester, which it’s fair to say is very different! Both my boys play rugby and my husband coaches the Colts, so at weekends I often find myself on the side lines but if I’m not doing that then I’m taking every opportunity to plan in a sneaky weekend away.
It’s so important to have a good work life balance and it’s something I’ve personally always placed a lot of emphasis on. Unfortunately, not all companies have fully got on board with this but it’s something that I’m pleased to say that LV= takes very seriously. And while we’ve started to embrace different ways of working, one area where I think we definitely need to make more progress on is diversity and inclusion. We’re not scared to put our hands up and admit that we need to do more here.
We’re very aware of the issues, which is why we’ve made some firm promises which we aim to deliver by 2020. As a woman who has worked in insurance for almost 30 years, I think it’s fantastic that we’re making a commitment to make things better.
Sometimes though, it’s not the companies that we work with that hold us back. It’s ourselves. For example, if I could wave my magic wand and do something differently, I’d ensure that all my female colleagues who don’t believe they have the potential to apply for that promotion or other role to just go for it! I’d give them all the confidence to aim high, take chances and believe in themselves.
That’s why I’ve tried really hard to help make a positive difference to the people I work with. From building career development programmes for women at their early career stages, educating colleagues on shared parental leave or challenging senior colleagues to work towards gender balanced shortlists, it’s really important that we all take responsibility for driving change.
If I’ve learnt anything in the last 28 years, it’s that everyone – no matter who you are or where you’ve come from – should be brave, not worry about the small things and always be themselves! I’m convinced that this, combined with the support of the companies we work for, will make a big difference and I’m excited to see what our workforce will look like in the future.
Nicola Dunning is Director of Sales & Service at LV= General Insurance and has recently been shortlisted for the Banking and Insurance Advocate of the Year category at this year’s Women in Finance awards.