Samantha Eustace - Public Affairs and Communications Assistant, Zurich Insurance
Samantha gives us an insight into the bright start of her career in CRS in the Insurance industry. From driving internal campaigns to organising a work experience week with students, she tells us why she finds sustainability so exciting.
ICRS membership level: Organisational member
Describe a typical day in your current role.
I cover not only CSR but also PR and Public Affairs meaning that I try to tie in all aspects together to support a wider audience.
Having the opportunity to cover across our Corporate Affairs team, my days are always varied and no one day is ever the same to the next. During a typical week I will visit a school as part of our Zurich Youth Skills Programme and deliver a financial literacy or employability session to students; then head over to parliament to one of the All-Party Parliamentary Groups which we work alongside (key ones for me are the Corporate Responsibility and Women and Work groups); support our internal campaigns work through meetings and actions on key topics. We're currently focusing on recyclables.
We ‘FlexWork’ in our offices, meaning we can work whenever, wherever and however to suit our lives – I am an early bird so when I do have a day in the office, I come in nice and early and leave normally by about 4pm so that I can go to the gym or take the dog for a walk before dinner.
Where do you see room for personal development over the next five years?
Being so early on in my career, I have many aspects of my skillset I wish to work on. First, I would like to build my leadership skills as I feel this would benefit those I work with as well as my own individual progression. Also, I have a key focus on improving my presentation and public speaking skills, especially to larger or more senior audiences, as this is key when promoting positive work and change like those seen in CSR.
If you didn’t work in CRS, what would you do?
I always said my dream job is to be the Prime Minister… with a stint as a Personal Trainer and a Cake Baker beforehand. It’s crazy, I know!
What are the best bits of your role?
By far, my favourite part of the role is seeing the difference that can be made. This year for example, I organised our work experience programme and invited 27 students from across the UK, all coming from different backgrounds, with different abilities and from all ages. Knowing that so many of them would never see an opportunity like this otherwise and seeing the amazing developments of each of them made over the week gave me a great sense of achievement.
My least favourite part of the role is waiting for all the process and procedures to allow great ideas to happen, although they are essential!
Which project or achievement are you most proud of?
Definitely my work experience week this year. It took six months to organise and 48 volunteers from across the organisation to support the event but it was a great achievement and worth the effort when all 27 students left on Friday excited about not only starting their careers but also joining our amazing industry. Other than this, I am really proud of the two awards I have obtained in my career so far – Apprentice of the Year in 2016 and Rising Star in Insurance 2018. Both gave me the confidence that I can continue to work as I do, pushing against the norms and trying to inspire others.
What makes your sector unique?
Being a large global firm, with high coverage and impact on the communities and environment around it, there are often so many things we could do and it is more about refining it down to what we will do. Also, being part of the insurance industry, we can have a bad reputation, not from our brand but from the sector as a whole. To address this we must make sure we showcase that we really do care, which is a challenge. We have to work hard to focus our efforts and do a really great job at key things, rather than spreading our efforts and doing an okay job at several things. Plus, we have great expertise within our large business, and it is important we utilise it as best as possible for the greater good.
Why should people choose a career in CRS?
CRS is an amazing, important and influential part of the working world now. So many of us don’t want to be a number on a piece of paper, we want to make a difference in our lives and CRS is exactly that!