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From fashion to finance: Gemma's journey of career growth and personal development

Posting date: 27 Jun 2024
Photo of Gemma, in the woods, holding her pet dog and smiling while taking a selfie.

At Legal and General, we see the potential in you. If you do not have a strong background in financial services and have worked as an Analyst in other industries, for example, those skills are transferable. This blog is about just that, it’s Gemma’s story of switching careers from fashion to finance and her growth journey and we are happy to have created an environment for making a change. Over the years she has developed her career with us and is now an Operational Readiness Consultant. We hope you find inspiration in her success story.

Did you ever think you would go from fashion to finance?

I never thought that, after completing a degree in fashion design, I would end up finding a job I love in financial services. Yet, here I am, building a fulfilling career at Legal & General, a company that saw my potential and provided the supportive environment I needed to flourish. 

My journey from feeling lost in the wrong profession to finding my place at Legal & General is a testament to the power of self-improvement and the impact of an inclusive employer.

How did you find your career path at Legal & General?

After four years of university and seven years in the fashion industry, I found myself at a crossroads. Being in the fashion industry just wasn't what I wanted to do anymore. A friend who worked at Legal & General suggested I apply for a position in the Defined Contribution Pension Helpline.

Joining here was meant to be a stopgap, as I was in the middle of a career crisis, and I didn’t know where I fit in this world. But it quickly became apparent that this was where I was meant to be. From the very beginning, the company's objective-driven environment resonated with me. Which for me personally meant I knew what to do to be a high achiever.

I thrive in settings where clear goals and pathways for achievement are laid out, and Legal & General provides just that. The supportive culture here encouraged my growth right from the start. I then progressed in the Helpline to a more senior role where I absorbed more knowledge and experience which I eventually used to create AME, our knowledge base for DC Pensions.

What is your current role and are there career growth opportunities within it?

Today, I am an Operational Readiness Consultant at Legal & General. This role allows me to utilise my creativity and the extensive knowledge I’ve gained over the years. I've felt like Legal & General has made me who I am, helping me to achieve personal and professional growth and feel so accomplished.

Currently, I am working on the Sequoia programme, a groundbreaking initiative aimed at transforming some of our most critical customer processes and technologies. This programme promises to enhance our customer experience, and I am thrilled to be a part of it.

I am working on developing a new system for the member helpline. This project involves consolidating 35 systems into one easy-to-use interface, streamlining our processes, and improving service delivery. Having started on the helpline myself, I understand the challenges my colleagues face, and it’s incredibly fulfilling to now be in a position to help them.

Did you have personal growth as well as career development in your journey?

Initially starting a job on the helpline was an unusual choice for someone like me, who has struggled with anxiety for most of my life. However, the support from my team, my amazing manager, and Legal & General’s wellbeing programme helped me grow. This experience enabled me to become more comfortable in difficult situations and more at ease with being myself.

One of the most surprising aspects of working here is how much the company values each employee’s contributions. This inclusive and caring culture has made me feel valued and appreciated, which has played a big part in my personal and professional growth.

What are your career highlights and achievements?

One of my career highlights at Legal & General was creating AME, our knowledge base for DC Pensions. This initiative allowed me to use the knowledge and experience I had gained to create a resource that helps our team resolve customer queries quickly and efficiently. The system has been highlighted in external reviews as one of the most innovative and effective tools used internally by a company.

 I was involved in shaping the project from the ground up. For instance, I helped secure funding and design the pages for a new product, created the content, and saw first-hand how it improved support for our operational teams. These experiences have been incredibly rewarding and have fueled my passion for making improvements that enhance the customer experience.

What are your thoughts on your journey in Financial Services?

If I could give one piece of advice to my younger self it would just be to take time to enjoy things more. I am always going a million miles per hour and sometimes I don’t even stop to realise just how much I have achieved in the process. This is why I quite enjoy the annual review process here at Legal & General because it enables me to take time out to reflect on what I have done well and what challenges I want to take on in the next year.

Join us today for a future with Legal & General

For those driven by self-improvement, we offer abundant career growth opportunities and support. We actively invest in our employees’ skills through individual learning and our academy. 

We offer a place for continuous personal and professional growth. If you’re looking for a place to grow, develop, and make a meaningful impact, consider joining our Customer Service team. See below our current job opportunities.

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