Justin Salisbury, USA
Aviva (formally known as Norwich Union in the UK) is the world's fifth-largest financial services business. It employs 54,000 people and provides insurance, fund management services, life and pensions to 50 million customers worldwide.
In Scotland, its centre in Bishopbriggs, near Glasgow, has been designated one of the company's seven centres of excellence - chosen on account of its excellent skills base.
TalentScotland talked to US-born Justin Salisbury about his work at Aviva and his life in Scotland.
Tell us about your background
I grew up in Rhode Island on the east coast of the US, but moved to Scotland when I was 15, when my mother met and married a Scotsman.
After I finished my high school education in Scotland, I studied software engineering at Strathclyde University as I had always been interested in computers and enjoyed programming as a hobby. When I finished university, I decided that I did not want to follow a career in this area, so I took a managerial role with a large retailer in Glasgow.
What attracted you to Aviva?
The retailer was downsizing its operations, so I was looking for a new challenge at the time. When I heard that Aviva was recruiting, I was interested in the opportunities that a large, well-recognised company could give me.
What is your role with Aviva?
Although I originally joined as a customer service advisor, I have since joined the Shared Services Team.
This team is responsible for managing a range of legacy products that are no longer part of the Aviva portfolio, and for migrating other products to the Bishopbriggs centre in Aviva’s centre of excellence programme.
These can be home, motor or mortgage insurance policies that are no longer sold so we have to deal with claims, redemptions and other inquires, generally from third parties rather than the general public.
The branch migration work is very interesting, as it requires going out as a team to identify the process needed to service the products, adapting them to our systems in Bishopbriggs and training staff to process enquires before going 'live' at the centre.
We also deal with issues from banks and building societies that sell Aviva products, and liaise with Aviva underwriters to sort out any queries and issues.
What is the working culture like at Aviva?
We work in a close-knit team which has built up slowly over time, so there is a great team spirit and communications between us are excellent. I joined in 2005 and since then the team has grown to around 60 people.
It is the best company I have worked for and its employee recognition programme is very good. The managers here are fantastic - they are very good at building on your strengths and giving you more responsibility.
There is a lot of training to keep people up to speed with developments, but as we are a specialist team we do a lot of internal training ourselves which makes the job really interesting.
While I’m enjoying what I do now, I’d like to move into underwriting at a later date, as I like the technical aspect of that work.
How did you find the move to Scotland?
It was a bit of a culture shock, as I was told everyone here spoke English! The Glasgow accent did take a bit of getting used to at the beginning, but everyone was friendly and I soon got used to it.
I could live and work in the US, but I love it here in Scotland.
Over the past ten years, I think I must have done all the tourist sites four to five times as I’m the official tour guide when my relatives come over from America. I still love visiting Stirling Castle which I think has a fantastic setting and a great history.
Scotland is a beautiful country with stunning scenery. I love the fact that you can live in the city and yet within a 15 minute drive you are out amongst the hills.