Rising Star interview with Jade Eaton – Academy Leader, Innovation Group

  1. Tell us about your role. What do you do, and what do you find most interesting about it?

Hi! I’m Jade Eaton and I am the Academy Leader at Innovation Group. I’m responsible for the onboarding journey of new starter’s, and any development areas for existing staff. I manage all recruitment and training in the Motor department in Whiteley. 

I ABSOLUTELY love my job, and this has been by far my favourite role in Innovation Group. I have worked for Innovation Group for over 10 years now, but the last 4 years in this role has been the most rewarding for me. It is all about the people, a mixture of leading, meeting, developing, supporting and helping our employees grow.

2. What made you want to work in this industry? 

I interviewed for my first role, Claims Handler, at the age of 20. I didn’t really have any idea what the job would entail but I knew I would get my own desk, with my own phone and I liked the thought of that and the “grown up” aspect of it. Working in the Claims Industry wasn’t something I thought I would do if I’m going to be honest. When you’re younger, on leaving school, college, or university there seems to be an immense pressure on you to have your life and career path mapped out, which I never did. Thankfully I love every aspect of my role and I have learnt so much over the last 10 years. Every day is a school day here at Innovation Group, there is so much potential for anyone who wants to learn and grow.

3. What do you see as the biggest challenge to your industry in the next year?

COVID19! With the return to the office looming, we need to ensure each employees circumstance are reviewed on their own merit. We have found that some employees are comfortable working from home, they have a good working environment and their productivity has not been affected. Others are struggling and would like to be back in the office. We also must work with the employees that are anxious about returning to the office and being around so many other people. Ensuring everyone is reviewed and taken into consideration is a huge must for us.

The operation and the nature of the floor thrives because of its people. The usual office buzz has been a detriment of COVID19, and it will take us some time to get this back to how it was pre lockdown.

4. How would you like to see the industry improved next year / 5 years / by the time you retire? 

A massive thing for me would be seeing more women in leadership rolls. The insurance industry is a very male dominated sector and it would be great to see more women in senior positions in the future. I report into Sharon O’Mahony who is the Operations Director for Whiteley. Sharon is a strong leader and a role model for me.

The recruitment of people would have to be one for me here. Where are the next generation of skilled claims handlers going to come from and how do we train them up moving forwards? With COVID19, we have lost the osmosis effect when it comes to training new employees. Not being the office, has had a huge effect on how we train people and new starters cannot simply “shadow” and learn off their peers anymore. The new norm has been training new starters remotely. We have started to introduce face to face training again, however with the demand for remote working being higher than it ever used to be, remote training will more than likely remain part of our new norm.

5. If you could give your 16-year-old self a piece of advice, what would it be?

To my 16-year-old self now…

Live every day as it comes! If you want to do something, or go for something, do it! Life’s so short and it all becomes so very serious so do what makes you happy, whatever that may be! 

To me back then…

I should have looked after myself more, mind, body and health! If the last year has taught me anything, a work / life balance is extremely important and if you look after number one, everything else comes with it.


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