What is your role at Hill Dickinson?
Head of Claims Operations – managing a unit of around 130 people handling defendant work for over 60 clients including many household names
What’s the best thing about your job?
The variety – no two days are the same. I could be dealing with milk supply for tea or helping to pitch for million pound contracts. And that has happened on the same day! Most of all it is the people. I’m lucky enough to work with some really talented people and they make my job challenging and enjoyable.
There is always a variety of things to deal with when you’re managing a diverse and talented workforce
What’s the toughest thing about your job?
Doing everything that I’d like to get done, and having to prioritise. We’re always looking to develop and get better so the pace of change is rapid and sometimes its just not possible to do everything you’d like to do. There’s also a balance to strike to ensure change is valuable and benefits our clients. Getting that balance right can be tough sometimes, but within a growing business, its a great problem to have!
What advice would you give to a person managing people for the first time?
Listen to your people – people are invaluable sources of information about what is working and what needs fixing, and the more people you ask, the more truthful the answer will be. But also have the courage of your convictions – often the gut instinct is the right one….. experience just helps you explain it to other people better!!
Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office?
The kitchen area….. stay there long enough and everyone passes through. Although Richard on reception at our SPS office somehow seems to know most things….
Who has been the biggest influence in your career to date?
My parents, who demonstrated and then expected: a good work ethic, a respect for others, a value system to live by and an ability to stay upbeat when things get tough.
What has been the best achievement in your profession to date?
An unusual answer to this – I would say the most helpful achievement has been getting experience – from early retail experience which gave me a grounding in customer focus, eg with Sainsburys, BT and even a stint at the Walker Art Gallery. I then worked at RSA and was ‘fast tracked’ on a few different Management and Executive schemes. This opened up a goody bag of training and development opportunities that allowed me to try different things and build up my experience. I sold insurance, ran operational teams, was a Development Manager, worked in marketing and then headed up training for the UK. Every one of those roles helped develop skills I use on a daily basis in my role at Hill Dickinson.
Which person outside the legal sector do you most admire?
Kate Bush – a very personal choice – the reasons are longevity of career, intelligence, musicality and a unique talent who’s done things her way and never chased popularity.
Whether you are looking to recruit or for independent career advice please contact Ify Okpalugo or James Batt at BCL Legal on 0845 241 0933 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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