Work-life balance: I left the Army in June 2020 - right at the height of the first lockdown

"I would love to see RSA become an official member of the Armed Forces Covenant to further highlight that it is a great employer for Veterans, Reservists, and Military Spouses."

21 June 2022
Vickie Holmes up Mount Kilimanjaro

How did you get into insurance?

I left the Army in June 2020, right at the height of the first lockdown. My incredibly helpful military network notified me that a position was opening up within the Physical Security Team at RSA, so I reached out to the Head of Security (also ex-Army) and now, here I am! The skills I developed during my military career are invaluable and it was great to join a team that understood this and were willing to mentor me as I stepped into the ‘civilian world’.

What is your main priority at the moment?

I have several priorities at the moment. First and foremost is to successfully complete the 2022 Site Security Review programme. I’m responsible for visiting all of our sites, assessing the threats and security measures currently in place and making sure our people, premises and assets are as secure as they can be. This is alongside running our rigorous incident management process and raising awareness of Physical Security requirements by developing relevant employee training programmes. I’m also working towards my ASIS Physical Security Professional qualification which will be a great addition to my professional profile.

What would you say to someone considering a career in insurance?

I didn’t realise it at first but careers within the insurance industry are so varied that the sky is the limit!

What are your three top tips for maintaining a healthy work-life balance?

  • Have a set cut-off time. Particularly as a Homeworker, you have to know when your day is done, shut down the laptop and walk away to give yourself clear separation between work and home life.
  • Do what makes you happy whenever you get the opportunity.
  • Work as a team. If someone is struggling, be that extra pair of hands or that listening ear so that it’s not just you that gets to enjoy downtime.

What new skill would you most like to learn?

I’d love to become an Excel wizard. I’ve had my eye on the Horizon training for a little while now and I look forward to giving it a go.

Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?

It would have to be Drew Barrymore.

What would be your ideal dinner party menu?

A four-cheese tart followed by a lamb and goat's cheese salad with a warm chocolate brownie and ice cream for dessert – dairy intolerance be damned!

Vickie Holmes in army uniform

What are you currently binge-watching/ listening/ reading?

I’ve just finished reading the Book of Ice trilogy by Mark Lawrence and before that it was the ‘An Ember in the Ashes’ quartet by Sabaa Tahir. I love an epic fantasy series to escape into.

What was your last google search?

Honestly…I was looking for a good prawn stir-fry recipe!

What did you not expect about working in the insurance industry?

The outside perception of the finance and insurance industry is often one of cut-throat ruthlessness. In reality, RSA is an incredibly diverse, friendly, and welcoming employer that genuinely cares about its customers and will go above and beyond to provide the best experience for both customers and employees.

What change would you like to see in the insurance industry/ RSA in the next three years?

I would love to see RSA become an official member of the Armed Forces Covenant to further highlight that it is a great employer for Veterans, Reservists, and Military Spouses. This is currently the main aim of our very recently established RSA Armed Forces Community. There is already a great policy in place at RSA for Reservists and we hope to promote the benefits of hiring Veterans and Spouses too. We also hope to highlight the additional support this community may require and educate Leaders on how best to provide this.

What is your best travel memory?

It’s impossible to choose just one!

Sitting in the dark watching the elusive black rhinos by the watering-hole at our campsite in Namibia, skydiving in New Zealand, sleeping in a ger in -36 degrees in the Mongolian desert and summiting Mount Kilimanjaro with my soon-to-be Husband are all up there with the highlights!

Did you pick up any new habits or skills in the last two years that continue into our ‘normal’ life now?

I started learning French on Duolingo during lockdown and I’m on a 463-day streak now, so it looks like I’m locked in for life. (However, I recently visited our Paris office and my French is still awful.)

What is your happiest memory at RSA?

I think this was the first time I got Spotlight points in recognition for good work. It’s great to feel appreciated!

Career highlight to date is?

I was recognised on the Military’s New Year’s Honours list for my work with the Headquarters that coordinated the Military’s response to Covid. It was amazing to end my military career on such a high.

Reality TV, do you love it or hate it? Why?

I want to hate it, but I secretly love it. Some trashy escapism is sometimes exactly what we need to decompress after a busy week. I’m definitely more into Love is Blind and Married at First Sight than the likes of Love Island though.

I am happiest when…

I’m eating good food and exploring new places – preferably with animals involved!

What’s your Karaoke go-to song?

It really wouldn’t be fair to subject anyone to my singing voice!