Spotlight on…is an initiative of WICI (Women in Credit Insurance) aiming at highlighting females working in the Trade Credit Insurance business. Every month, a new interview article will be published on ICISA website. 

This month on our spotlight we have Sarah Louise Wilding from Towergate Group.

What are your top 3 tips for a successful career in the trade credit insurance industry?

  • Stand in the client’s shoes – when you understand the intricacies of a client’s business and industry, including their specific requirements and challenges, you can establish genuine relationships. I have been friends with some of my clients for 20 years now and feel part of their team.
  • Master all job roles along your journey – I worked my way through the ranks. I loved being an account handler as well as an account executive as well as a leader. When you love what you do a workday doesn’t feel like work at all.
  • Do not fall out with anyone, ever! I smile writing this as I can remember sometimes 18-year-old me would get so wound up. Remember don’t take anything personally and  trade credit insurance is such a small world that it’s better to leave every situation with grace (and gritted teeth) as you will likely cross paths with people again.

What do you do to ensure that you continue to grow and develop as a leader?

To grow and develop as a leader it is important to seek feedback from others and actively listen. Furthermore, setting a good example is key, but also remembering to stay humble and learning from mistakes which means I can then be adaptable in the face of change, as this is a vital aspect of leadership development.

Expanding my network and having a strong team of people around me is important. I believe staying open to new ideas and perspectives, taking new challenges, and regularly reassessing my leadership style and skills has also contributed to on-going growth and development.

Engaging in regular self- reflection, participating in leadership development programmes and workshops has also been very useful to me. Lastly, I try and stay current with the industry trends and best practices which have contributed to my professional as well as my personal growth.

What is your favourite part of your job?

I love my job; I find people fascinating. The variety of clients we work with and learning about their industry, different markets, and the fact that things are always changing in the world and these changes create onward pressures on our client’s or buyers, so we never stop learning. I like to find solutions to challenges and see successful credit limit appeals we all love getting a claim paid especially the more technical claims we see in construction. Now my favourite part of my job is watching people develop their own careers and be able to support them with that. I am very lucky I have never dreaded a Monday morning in my life.

What is the best advice you would give to an aspiring leader?

Believe in yourself, always do your best and be prepared to put the work in: Leadership is a journey, not a destination and continuous learning and self-improvement is important. If you are inspired by a colleague or leader Do ask for mentorship; if you don’t ask, you don’t get!  Don’t listen to the voice of self-doubt (we all have it at times) but, have belief in yourself.

What helps you to unwind/destress?

My life is very busy, I have 3 children and I also teach for the CICM outside of work. I find that I feel lots calmer when I get out running or do boxing classes. I am not a yoga and chill kind of girl but, exercise is extremely important for my own mental health.