Spotlight on Sam Preece, our Chief Brand & Communications Officer
To mark this year’s International Women’s Day we’ve put the spotlight on Sam Preece, who over her 24 years with LV= has progressed up the career ladder.
You’re the chief brand and communications officer and you’re also part of the senior leadership team and executive teams at LV=, did you ever imagine this would be your career path when you joined LV= as marketing communications executive in 1999?
Not at all. I had dropped out of university while I was studying for a degree in podiatric medicine in the early 90s and then spent a number of carefree years travelling the world.
Whilst saving for one of my trips, I took a casual retail job in London and I was fascinated by how the different window displays attracted different types of shoppers – I studied people visiting the shop and targeted designs to attract those that I had learnt would spend the most money. This was an example of rudimentary marketing principles around audience segmentation and when I settled back in Bournemouth, I pursued this interest by studying for a marketing qualification.
Looking back, what advice would you give yourself when you took your first steps on the career ladder?
Working hard does pay off and you’re right not to worry too much about where your career takes you, the priority is to love what you do. Treating everyone you come into contact with respect and as you’d like to be treated yourself, will stand you in good stead and help foster great working relationships.
How has LV= supported your career progression?
I’ve been able to enjoy and care for my children when they were young by working flexibly. I’ve also had managers who have had a great deal of belief in me and invested in my professional development; giving me lots of opportunities to step up and lead on a variety of projects.
What advice would you give to someone starting out and wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Be prepared to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and always take ownership. I’ve never ever adopted an ‘it’s not my job’ attitude. Be loyal to your manager and your team. A sense of humour is a must and pay attention to the detail.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
It was from my mum … you can’t do everything when you’re holding down a job and a family – don’t be afraid to ask for help.
What’s your biggest career achievement?
I think it has to be some of the projects that I’ve worked on around developing our brand. I love everything to do with the LV= brand and it’s so important that we guard and manage it with care. It’s one of our most valuable assets and we’re continually evolving it so that we can better communicate what we stand for as a life and pensions business.
Alongside your successful career you’ve also raised a family. How did you achieve a work life balance?
I try to fit in something for myself regularly in the week, usually that’s getting out for a morning run. It does mean though that I’ve got to be up making packed lunches at 5.30am in the morning. I also have a lovely husband who shares all household jobs 50:50 with me.
Have you noticed a change in women’s rights in the workplace in 2023 compared to the beginning of your career?
Oh my yes! I remember my first insurance industry dinner that I attended in my 20s. I was one of only a handful of women in the room, and the after-dinner speaker was hideous and turned the air blue with inappropriate jokes… I couldn’t wait to get out of there. Back then there were also very few female role models or advocates for women at any senior position.
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #EmbraceEquity – as a woman, what are your thoughts on equity and how do you embrace it?
I think there’s a presumption that equity is something that’s easy to foster as part of our company’s culture. Our values play a big role here at LV= and we’re encouraged to really live what they stand for. Our open culture means we’re able to call out where people and practices aren’t aligned to our values of being trusted, courageous, curious and inclusive. My role as a senior leader is to consistently role model the right behaviours and help shape policies, systems and networks so that we embed equity effectively.