Holly Hill Finds her Stroke in the Insurance Industry

Wed 29th Jun 2022

Holly Hill has always been an athlete. She played a variety of sports at school, but it wasn’t until 2012 when she saw two female athletes win Great Britain’s first gold medal in the London Olympic Games, that she found rowing. “I saw Helen and Heather standing on the podium and thought, they look a lot stronger than me but similarly lanky!” she recalls.

Having had her interest piqued by the Olympics, she then came across a BBC Sport talent ID initiative for rowing and decided to apply. She was picked up by the GB Rowing Start programme and began learning to row at Cambridge, a University renowned for its history in the sport. When asked how she found the balance between sport and academics, she replied, “personally, the two were complementary - rowing kept me sane to be honest! I was in an environment where there were lots of academic athletes and we would train together and then head to the same coffee shop to work together. I never felt like I was doing it alone since everybody was in the same boat, literally”.

After leaving Cambridge with a degree in Human, Social and Political Sciences, her rowing career took off. She won a European Silver Medal in 2018, a Bronze World Cup Medal in 2019 and was selected for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, before Covid sadly caused her to miss out on the 2021 Games. Despite the setback, Holly will never forget the feeling of reaching an international podium. She said: “getting to stand on the podium with your national flag feels fantastic. The European Championships were held in Glasgow in 2018 so my family and friends could come and watch. It was really lovely to be able to win a medal and be on the podium in front of a home crowd. The bronze medal at the World Championships was also a highlight. I was racing in a pair with former World Champion Polly Swann and when we got into the boat, it just clicked. I absolutely loved it”.

Representing Great Britain was always a special occasion for Holly. She recalls the first time she raced for her country: “I first pulled on a GB vest in 2015. I was given it in a little parcel with the red, white and blue colours showing and GBR on the back. It was the most fantastic thing, I almost slept in it! I was so proud to wear it. Since then I've worn the GB colours a number of times and to race in them was always a privilege.”

Holly Hill GB image    Holly Hill GB 4

Rowing helped Holly to develop several skills transferable to the world of work. Top of her list is the ability to be physically and mentally strong as well as putting the team before anything else. She said: “you have to concentrate the whole time. You're completely exhausted by the end of the race but you still have to know exactly where your body is in space and time. Rowing has really pushed me to my limits, taught me where they were and helped me challenge them”. She added: “there’s also the skill of seeking marginal gains each day, understanding that some days you’ll be worse than the day before but that you’re still aiming to make a tiny step of progress. I’d also say that my resilience in the face of challenges and my communication skills have been improved over my rowing career”.

Holly is now working as a broker for high-net-worth individuals at John Lamb Hill Oldridge. add-victor has assisted Holly with her transition from rowing to financial services by simplifying the job hunt and identifying roles suitable to her skillset. Holly advises rowers who are retiring to trust in themselves when deciding on a new career: “my advice would be to trust how valuable you are, trust what sport has taught you and be confident when you go out into the world. You have a lot to offer to people and companies, they’ll want to work with you and will enjoy having you. I feel incredibly valued by the company I've joined and grateful to add-victor for the help they gave me”.