Coffee Cup Corner: Q&A with Elizabeth (Lil) James, Director of Client Services Midlands
In this month’s edition of Xenia’s Coffee Cup Corner series, we hear from our new Director of Client Services Midlands Lil James, who talks about her commitment to Xenia after her recent promotion yet still finds time for retail therapy!
How long have you worked at Xenia?
Almost 9 years.
What do you do at Xenia and what does your typical day look like?
I manage a portfolio of key accounts across various sectors, which usually means I’m out in meetings visiting clients or underwriters regularly and not one day is the same as the next. I have also recently started managing the Midlands branch with Rob Potts, which will bring a new set of challenges I can’t wait to get stuck into.
Why do you like working for Xenia?
Xenia is the UK’s largest independent Trade Credit broker, which is a fantastic achievement in itself, and this is also testament to the level of expertise and knowledge across the business and demonstrates that we can provide the greatest support to our clients across all sectors. The company also offers great opportunities and progression across the board.
A piece of advice you'd give your younger self?
Trust the process, hard work pays off.
What's your most commonly asked question in your job role and how would you answer it?
Q: How did you get into Trade Credit.
A: Not a clue, I sort of fell into it and haven’t managed to escape yet!
How did you get into the insurance sector?
I was headhunted at 18 years old after just moving to the UK from France and had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into!
What do you enjoy most about your role?
My clients! Going the extra mile pays off! Forget the saying ‘happy wife, happy life’ I’m all for ‘Stay reliant and compliant and you’ll have a happy client’.
What's the strangest / funniest / most memorable thing you’ve had to do in your current role?
On one of my first ever site visits to a client, I fell down a set of stairs on the factory tour! Safe to say they were concerned about a potential lawsuit, and I was more concerned about my heels being broken! Happy to report I did not sue, and my heels remained intact!
How has the job changed since you started your career?
Well considering I had to google ‘Trade Credit’ ahead of my first day to try and determine what the role I’d just been given would entail, I’d say I’ve progressed drastically over the years! From a trainee broker who always said ‘yes’ to every task, I truly believe there isn’t a role in the business I didn’t undertake on my progression journey. This has helped me learn invaluable skills and techniques I have continued to apply to every new role and challenge in my career with Xenia.
Where do you see Xenia going over the next few years?
Xenia is already a strong force in our market, and I believe that with the continued investment and development in the business throughout the UK and internationally, there are no limits.
Tell us something most people don't know about you?
I’m half French and moved back to the UK by myself when I was 18, little did I know it was to become a Trade Credit broker!
What job would you be doing if you weren't doing this one?
Lawyer or Event Management! I could argue with a brick wall until it crumbled away as my dad used to say, but I’ve also lined myself up to plan every single one of my friends and family events over the years!
What would you say to a young person who wants to get into insurance?
Go for it, but prepare yourself for a very hectic social calendar!
Who's your greatest hero or heroine and why?
My Dad! A true gentleman and the hardest working, intelligent and confident man I know. He fought terminal cancer for over 3 years and made it look like a walk in the park! Legend.
What do you do to relax?
I think everyone knows I’m a social butterfly and shopaholic! You’ll usually find me in a bar with my boyfriend and our little dog sharing a bottle (or three) of wine, or in Selfridges with a few too many bags!
To find out more about the people behind Xenia head over to last month’s Coffee Club Corner episode with our colleague Faye Cornell.