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Paralympian and AXA Brand Ambassador, Amy Conroy chats to some of our AXA Confidence Champions to understand what challenges they have overcome to build big and bright careers at AXA UK.
We know the importance of creating confidence in the workplace, and that large or small, every step our colleagues take makes a difference in their lives as well as others. Our Champions show us that everyone can be their best selves, and create change, with the right support and a ‘Know You Can’ mindset.
Emma from the Trading Team, AXA Insurance, shares her story.
"I have always struggled with my reading, writing and spelling from a young age, when I was 7, I was assessed and diagnosed as being dyslexic. Being dyslexic means that I’m slow at reading and writing. I’ll take longer to do things because I struggle to get my thoughts down on paper, word things correctly or use the correct grammar. Spelling certain words can be a challenge as I get letters mixed around. This led to me being put into lower capability groups in school as I learn differently from others. With the right help and support I can work to my strengths. I’m proud of how I’ve progressed academically and in my career. I’m creative, good at problem solving, observant, empathetic, and I’m also good at making connections and coming up with new ideas through three-dimensional thinking. When it comes to my career, I look for roles and responsibilities that play to my strengths.
For the past six years I’ve worked at AXA as a Lead Trading Team Manager in our commercial area, in the Schemes and Delegated Authorities team (SDA). It’s a people management role that involves coaching and developing people, reviewing performance and driving change. I lead a team of people managers and underwriters and I collaborate with key stakeholders about the SDA business to understand their needs and focus areas. I then use my creativity to come up with new ideas and suggestions that can help others to achieve more and develop further. It’s great having a role that doesn't involve having my head-in-a-textbook or long days typing, and this suits me perfectly as each day is different - I love engaging with people and helping them to succeed.
I also like that it allows me to champion that not all disabilities are visible. By talking about mine and my challenges, I get others to speak more about their own. This is so important. It lets others know they’re not the only one dealing with these things and gives them the confidence to speak up and get the right support and assistance.
There’s no need to suffer in silence. At AXA, you’ll be helped with whatever you need, you just have to be open and honest about what that is. People want to help people. That’s what I have learned. For me, people will proofread or sense-check anything I’ve written, take the time to explain things in more detail so I can understand fully, and give me deadlines that take into account that I may take a little longer with something. I’ve also been given software called Dragon that I can talk into, and the computer will type it up (big time-saver!).
I really want people with dyslexia to know that there’s nothing to be ashamed of. There are still so many stigmas around it, but we’re not ‘stupid’, we just work and learn differently. There are lots of key figures in society that are dyslexic and are openly talking about it. We’re all different for a reason and it’s how we play to our strengths that matters."