Having only joined the industry a few years ago, Clare Talbot Jones’ career has gone from strength to strength.
With a passion for all things entrepreneurial and a drive to learn all she can, Clare jumped head-first into her co-founder role at Talbot Jones, completing her Cert CII in just 18 months, to next embark on studying for her MSc in Insurance and Risk Management at Birmingham City University.
TEn: Why is continued professional development and education important to you, and how do you feel it enriches Talbot Jones Ltd?
Clare Talbot Jones: When I first entered the insurance industry I felt very much on the back foot and therefore threw myself into learning out of necessity! As I did this, it opened up a huge amount of opportunities.
In January, our combined CPD efforts were instrumental in us gaining corporate chartered status, which had been a key long-term objective for us. We’ve been really amazed by the opportunities that this has brought Talbot Jones Ltd, giving us the seal of excellence that gives confidence to our ideal client base.
If CPD wasn’t a requirement of the CII, I doubt I would have continued to invest much time on it, however it has given me the impetus to spend the required time (and more) engaging in learning that was useful and relevant to me.
This learning has not only increased my understanding, the value I can bring to clients and built credibility for our business, but it also keeps me moving forward to develop wider knowledge and guide me deeper into specialisms that inform our business direction and growth.
As Clare mentions above, Talbot Jones Ltd achieved chartered Status in 2019, making them one of only 3 other chartered firms in the North East. An achievement they worked very hard for, but this isn’t the only accolade Clare has been involved in or awarded.
In 2018, Clare was a Diversity Champion finalist in HSBC Forward Ladies awards and a finalist in the Start Up category in 2019. In 2018, Talbot Jones Ltd were a finalist in North East Equality Awards under Clare’s direction. Clare was also included in the inaugural f:entrepreneur list (2019) of leading UK businesswomen.
TEn: How did you feel being nominated for so many accolades so early in your career?
Clare Talbot Jones: Although being shortlisted or even just nominated for an award gives a welcome affirmation and confidence boost, I also really value the opportunity the submission gives to reflect on, clarify and chart my achievements. It also provides a form of accountability when looking forward to set new goals, so it’s always an extremely motivating process.
Having thrown everything into the business means that we are completely invested in it in all senses and I am proud that my drive and passion for what we do is recognised and valued by those around us. I believe that that recognition played a significant part in being awarded the Rising Star award.
I was initially sceptical of the benefits of awards, however, am fortunate to be part of a very supportive community of people who started to nominate me for quite a few. Not only has it undoubtedly increased my self-belief and aspirations, it has also raised my profile and offered some incredible opportunities. I am so proud that not only has this helped to grow confidence in our brand and win new business, it is also inspiring others to be bold and aspirational in their organisations too.
Having appreciated the benefits myself, I now aim to nominate other people and organisations I admire when I can.
In October 2019, Clare won the Rising Star category at the Insurance Business Women in Insurance Awards! A brilliant accolade and one we are very proud of Clare for achieving.
The award, recognises “outstanding leaders in the insurance industry” and is awarded to those who have shown “the highest potential for greater leadership and who have excelled at pushing the envelope with innovation and growth, garnering industry’s attention and the respect of peers.”
This award is not only a great accomplishment for Clare, but it’s an inspiration to the women she mentors. As a Founders4School volunteer, Clare showcases the insurance sector to the next generation. Showcasing her achievements to inspire our next round of insurance professionals.
Traditionally a male dominated industry, the insurance world has been making more of an effort to up their diversity among not just entry level, but also senior roles. Awards like this allow the current generation of female insurance professionals to lead the way for the next.
TEn: The Insurance industry, although striving for change, is still incredibly male dominated, particularly in senior positions. How do you feel about this, and do you think the culture is changing or shifting?
Clare Talbot Jones: Having entered the insurance industry directly as the owner of a brokerage that has an evenly split gender balance, I haven’t always been very conscious of the pervading inequalities that remain in the industry as a whole. It therefore never influenced how I speak or act. I’m so different from what I perceived a typical insurance professional to be, I decided to view this as an opportunity to be unapologetically authentic, instead of seeing it as a disadvantage. In a more traditional career path I probably wouldn’t have had the same confidence and opportunity to do this.
I’m in a very privileged position, where I have the freedom, support and opportunity to work according to my own values and strengths without trying to conform to stereotypes and traditional expectations in the insurance field. It has allowed me and Talbot Jones Ltd to really thrive and grow. I hope that this sends out a strong message to other insurance professionals, that supporting all kinds of diversity in the industry and its leadership will allow opportunities for untold advantages, innovations and improvements.
It was a privilege to attend the Women in Insurance summit and get a better overview of the struggles women continue to have in the industry as a whole. There are many strong female leaders making an impact in the field, like TEn Director Dawn Derbyshire, and an increasing number of initiatives and culture shifts to make the necessary changes in our workplaces. It was a jaw-dropping and inconceivable honour to be awarded the title of the Insurance Business UK Rising Star. I look forward to using this opportunity to continue to be a part of the loudening call for greater equality and inclusion in our industry, and the benefits that that will bring for everybody. For real change to happen, men and women need to work together to ensure that the required positive changes are made that ensure the required shift in culture.
Richard Talbot Jones, Director at Talbot Jones commented: Clare actively manages the company social media accounts as well as developing her own personal brand online to act as a positive advocate for the industry. She challenges stereotypes, misconceptions and fallacies with grace and positivity and has developed significant influence in our region and niche markets.
We are proud to have Talbot Jones Ltd as a member of the TEn Network and look forward to celebrating many more successes with them in the future.