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Our Public Affairs Adviser Melanie Fernandes blogs on her career progression journey at the ABI

Tell us about your role at the ABI – what do you do and why?

I joined the ABI three years ago as the Advocacy Assistant, where I was responsible for delivering member and internal communications and managing print and design work. I then took up a joint assistant role supporting the ABI’s busy press office and public affairs team until I was promoted to Public Affairs Adviser last year.

In my current role I help to maintain an effective and influential profile for the trade association with parliamentarians and a wide range of stakeholders.  This involves leading the ABI’s public affairs engagement on issues ranging from the delivery of pensions dashboards to taking forward the ABI's diversity and inclusion work.  

What’s been your highlight and what’s been your most challenging moment?

One of the most challenging periods during my time at the ABI was supporting the wider team and industry colleagues in securing the Civil Liability Act, one of the most crucial pieces of legislation for the insurance industry last year. Having worked primarily on long-term savings issues, I had to get up to speed pretty quickly with the civil liability reforms when the Bill was being scrutinised by MPs in the Commons. Although it was a lot of pressure and responsibility at the time, looking back it’s great to have been part of a big team effort to get an important piece of legislation over the line.

A highlight of my time working here was being shortlisted for Policy Mogul’s Inspirational Women in Public Affairs, 2019. The ABI has given me so many great opportunities to build my own network outside my day job and it was an honour to have even been recognised for this alongside some pretty incredible women.

Where did you work before, how and why did you come to join the ABI?

Before I joined the ABI I worked as an research intern on pharmaceutical market access issues for the consultancy Rohde Public Policy and before that I helped arrange legal assistance for those seeking help while sectioned under the Mental Health Act at Duncan Lewis Solicitors.

Both these experiences made me want to better understand the policy making process and the opportunity to work at such a well-respected organisation who has strong relationships with government departments, regulators, and an array of stakeholders really appealed to me.

What’s the best thing about working here?

Everyone says it but it really is the people who work here! They’re a consistently friendly and sociable bunch.

I don't think I would love pensions as much as I do if it wasn't for the talented policy and regulation colleagues I get to work with every day.

What surprised you most about working here?

Although the biscuits here are pretty great, what surprised me the most was that despite being an organisation of under 100, there are a huge amount of training and development opportunities available to staff.

Most recently, the ABI supported me in completing my specialist diploma in Public Affairs with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and I was blown away by the amount of support I was given to combine this with my day job. The ABI clearly strives to invest in its employees and I’ll always be grateful for being given this professional development opportunity.

Describe your team in three words.

Hardworking, hardcore politicos.

What does #OneABI mean to you?

Collaboration – working across directorates to deliver outcomes and achieve shared goals. As cheesy as it sounds, there’s nothing like a team win.

If you weren’t working at the ABI, what would be your second career?

I've always wanted to be a zoo keeper, not sure I have the skills set though!

If you’re interested in joining the ABI, take a look at our jobs page to apply or contact careers@abi.org.uk.


Last updated 09/04/2019