AXA story

Career Switch: Meet Sarah


This time on Career Switch, Sarah Ramage tells us how she was able to turn an interest in communications into her full-time job at AXA and has just completed a formal Internal Communications qualification. 

What’s your role at AXA and how long have you been here?   
I’ve worked at AXA for 8 years now (where has that time gone?!). I’m currently on a secondment with AXA Commercial’s Blueprint transformation programme as an Internal Communications Executive. 

What do you do in your role?   
I help to deliver communications that tell the story of AXA Commercial’s biggest transformation in the last 30 years. It’s a fast-paced programme that’s implementing lots of different changes, so these communications help keep teams in AXA Commercial and the transformation team engaged and informed about what’s happening. 

What was your career background up until you made your career switch? 
I joined AXA Commercial in 2015, having never worked in insurance before. I previously worked as a retail manager and decided that it was time to build a career with a better work/life balance. I was part of the AXA Commercial Direct Team in Glasgow, supporting customers over the phone with their policies. I regularly got involved with engagement activities locally, like planning fundraising events and lots of communications-related things – writing local comms, creating a local newsletter and a SharePoint site. I found the engagement and communication side of things really rewarding but I wasn’t sure how I could make the switch from being a customer advisor to communications. When I saw the secondment opportunity come up, it seemed like the perfect way to learn the ropes! 

What was the biggest challenge you faced during your career switch? 
Learning a whole new job role in a fast-paced environment was hard – trying to learn about communications while also getting up to speed with the transformation programme was tricky. I’m quite hard on myself too, so I think one of my biggest challenges was learning to be okay with not being an “expert” yet, and accept that I would no doubt make mistakes and learn from them as I grew into my new role. 

Did you feel supported by your colleagues and manager during your career switch? 
Yes — the support I got from them was second to none. There’s a very open and honest environment at AXA, so it’s easy to ask for help or get feedback on your work. My manager encouraged me to do some formal Internal Communications training so that my on-the-job learning was strengthened by a recognised qualification. I’ve just completed an Internal Communications Diploma through the Institute of Internal Communications (IIC) and it’s really boosted my confidence.   

What does it mean to you to work for a company that gives you the flexibility to shape your career? 
It’s really important for me to work somewhere that lets you shape your career. People don’t often get to explore their passions because it’s not part of their day job. Working somewhere that encourages people to develop their interests is fantastic.   

Now that you’re in your role, what most excites you about the future? 
I’m still very much growing in my role, but I'm excited about the opportunities this could open up for me in the communications world at AXA. The Comms Team spans several different teams and areas, so it feels like there could be a lot of options for me in future.

What advice would you give to others who are thinking about switching roles? 
Go for it! If you never try, you’ll never know. Don’t let self-doubt keep you in your comfort zone, and don’t be afraid to fail. When we move roles, we’re often leaving a job where we’ve become an expert, and stepping into something we’d be a novice in. Don’t let that put you off! 

If you’d like to join a company focused on helping you to grow your potential, search our latest jobs to find a role that’s right for you. Or follow us on LinkedIn to find out more about life at AXA.