Kate Axford - Applying Life Lessons From Sport To A Career In Insurance
Age Group Hockey & Lacrosse International, Kate Axford, dives in to the transferable skills she gained from her sporting background and how they have helped within her role at a leading Insurance firm.
I grew up in a very sporty family with my parents encouraging us all to get involved in a number of different sports from a young age. I played pretty much any sport that was available to me at school (with the exception of swimming, I continue to be a terrible swimmer!) and loved the feeling of performing well and being successful as an individual, but more importantly as part of a team. As I got older my focus homed in on Hockey and Lacrosse and I was fortunate enough to represent England as a Junior International in both programs.
I graduated from Exeter University in 2020 after 3 years of participating in their excellent Hockey Performance Programme, an unforgettable experience with some incredible teammates and coaches. I continue to play hockey with the Wimbledon Hockey Club and am currently working for one of the UK’s leading insurance buyers, Mactavish, as part of their Client Services team.
Alongside all this sport there was also the desire to do my best in the academic sphere. I have learnt a number of things from having to balance work and exams around training and competing in sport. Perhaps the most important skill being time management and ensuring that academic deadlines were met even if it meant scribbling down essays in gaps between training.
Another key thing that sport prepares you for, which has proved very helpful for the world of work, is the ability to deal with failure. Being able to shift your perception from a mindset of seeing failure as a negative thing to something that you can learn and develop from, whether it’s in a job or in your chosen sporting discipline is incredibly helpful. This is something I think has transformed the way I work; failing at something is an opportunity to improve, not to give up.
My role and the insurance industry as a whole is dynamic and exciting. No day is the same and the industry is constantly affected by global events, which businesses, and consequently their insurance programmes must frequently adapt to.
Being positioned in a client facing role requires me to use a number of skills I’ve learnt from the sporting world. Good communication is imperative to ensure all clients are receiving the best service possible and is a skill I have developed through playing team sports, in which it’s so important to communicate clearly both on and off the field.
Being fairly new to my current role there is always an opportunity to listen and learn from those more experienced colleagues. It has been fantastic to have access to a number of industry experts and I would definitely recommend, in the same way you would learn from a coach, to learn from your colleagues or peers.