Each month we bring you an insight into the life of one of the people who make ActiveQuote such a great place to work. This month, it’s the turn of former singer Tracy Carwardine, who swapped the stage to become our sales support manager!
How long have you been at AQ and what does your role involve?
My journey with ActiveQuote started in July 2014, when I started out as a part-time member of the sales support team. I found myself increasing my working hours and eventually becoming the full-time team leader of the team and then progressing to manager. I’m now responsible for ensuring that the team functions well, that processes and procedures are followed and that rules and regulations are adhered to as team members chat to customers on the phone, follow up decisions with insurers and complete the administration side of all sales.
What did you want to be when you were at school and who inspired you?
Throughout high school I wanted to become a solicitor, as I was always interested in law and liked the thought of being involved in the justice process. My inspiration growing up was my father. Being incredibly close to him, I could see that he was loyal, committed and hard-working and this was something I wanted to emulate, no matter what career path I took.
What was your first job?
My first job was in a small family-run bakery. Earning a bit of pocket money on the weekends was my first step towards growing up and becoming more independent.
What was the most notable job you’ve ever had?
For 15 years I was a solo female vocalist! I travelled all over the south Wales valleys singing in pubs and clubs. I started very young and, for many years, enjoyed it - having to stand on stage by myself and sing to strangers has no doubt contributed to my confidence! Being only 4’11 and belting out Celine Dion classics captured the audience and I soon became known as ‘the little one with the big voice’. But the industry was slowly disappearing and when I started to find myself no longer enjoying it, it was time to stop.
How many people do you manage and what makes a good team?
My team consists of 19 members. It’s the biggest team at ActiveQuote and plays a big part in the overall buying process; the team works incredibly well together, with everyone looking out for one another. Having been where they are, I am totally aware of what it takes to do their job, including the stresses and strains they face on a daily basis. Because of my experience as a team member, I’ve been able to introduce new processes and measures to ensure we function to the best of our ability. Teamwork is vital and we continually build on this by having regular team meetings. Once a week we have one hour off the phones and off the shop floor. There’s always a hidden message or purpose within the activities we do, such as communication, but it’s a time when we can have a bit of fun as a team.
How do you look after the team’s wellbeing at work?
I believe that building strong working relationships with all members is vital. I take time to get to know them as people and to find out what’s going on in their lives and what interests them. We hold monthly 1-2-1s, where I always do my best to understand individual situations and provide support to those who need it. I’m a good listener, which, coupled with an ’open door’ policy, allows me to build on my work relationships to make a healthy team.
What do you like about working at AQ?
For me, the best thing about working at ActiveQuote is being identified as having the qualities to lead a team. I was encouraged to apply for the team leader role and, having proved successful, I was soon promoted to manager. Recognition is a great motivator! I also like the people I work with. My team is great, my seniors are supportive and I have made some lovely working relationships which make work fun, enjoyable and rewarding.
What are your next ambitions in your career?
I will be working my way up to senior management level. I have a lot to learn but, while I’m learning more about the business and the different roles and responsibilities involved, I am becoming more passionate about the company. The thought of being a part of the continued successful growth of ActiveQuote fills me with excitement and pride.
What do you do in your spare time?
I love spending time with my family, with quality time around the dinner table being my favourite. Board games, card games and time spent talking is a happy place for me. I also enjoy running, reading and listening to music.
Tell us something we don’t know about you
Not the most interesting fact but I take a size two in shoes. I find it incredibly hard to find heels that fit and, being only 4’11 in height, I need all the help I can get!
What would be your ideal summer holiday?
Somewhere hot! The UK is not known for guaranteed sunshine, and lazing around the pool is our happy place. Family time is the best and, to me, very important, so as long as I’m with them, any holiday - no matter where the destination - would be an ideal summer holiday.