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Overcoming bias and self-doubt, and starting my career at Marshmallow

March 9, 2022
2 mins
Renée Amagada
Operations Support Executive

Hi, I'm Renée.

I joined Marshmallow because I know first-hand how much insurance can impact our lives. By the time he was 35, my Dad had lived in 3 different continents and had 18 years of driving experience. But when he came to the UK in the early 2000s, no one recognised his experience and his premiums were really high. So, working for an insurance company taking on such a big problem, and one that I understand so personally, is really exciting for me.

My job at Marshmallow is my first after university. Making the move from education to a “proper job” is scary for most people but, for me, it was even more daunting. I entered the world of work all too aware of the bias I could face in my job hunt. As research from the Oxford University shows, people with Nigerian names (that’s me) “have to send 80% more applications to get a positive response from an employer than a white person of British origin”.  

However, from day one at Marshmallow I have felt welcomed into the team, especially by my manager. My manager has created a strong sense of psychological safety where I feel comfortable to share my weaknesses and my interests. And they’ve shared developmental feedback in a way that helps me progress in my career. So, when I recently wanted to move roles out of their team to an Operations Support role, they were totally supportive as they knew it aligned more with my interests. After 10 months at Marshmallow, I have now moved to explore a role I’m really excited by. All thanks to the support of my female manager!

The supportive environment at Marshmallow has really helped me to combat the imposter syndrome and self doubt I feel. And, with the help of CBT, I’m now working towards challenging the voice in my head that tells me “you can’t do this” (thanks brain). As a black woman, this voice is amplified by the pressure to disprove the harmful stereotype suggesting that black women are low performers. I’m working really hard to rewrite my internal narrative, and to start believing in myself more. 

Renée's grandma, her International Women's Day inspiration

When I’m doubting myself, I find it helpful to think about the women who inspire me, and to think about all the things they’ve achieved. My Grandma who raised 5 children as a single mother, one of whom was severely disabled, taught me what resilience looks like. My mum, who juggled raising 3 children and paid work, made me think you really can do it all. Inspiration outside of my family comes from Oprah. I always think if you can overcome the barriers she overcame, then you can do anything.

My advice to anyone taking their first step into the world of work who's worried about bias or doubts themselves is this: You can do anything that you put your mind to. Ignore the self-criticism and go for it. Surround yourself with people who inspire you, who champion you and who look after your wellbeing. And remember that saying - it's a marathon, not a sprint. 

If you'd like to know more about what it's like to start your career journey here at Marshmallow, head over to our Jobs page here.

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