Our Freya: “How did it take 26 years?”

Freya MacLachlan, Digital Product Owner, on creativity, frustrations, and masking.

Freya MacLachlan, Digital Product Owner, on creativity, frustrations, and masking.

I’m a Digital Product Owner in UK General Insurance.

At 23, I became one of the youngest in the business. Three years later, I’m still loving it.

I don’t just sit in a dark room punching in code. My job is to take away moments of frustration for our customers by making it easier for them to get information or buy from us online.

On creativity, my way

I’ve never been able to draw as well as I would like to. I always found It so frustrating, to see people taking pencils or paints and creating something wonderful.

But then I realised creativity can be found in online design - building code to create something beautiful. I’ve never looked back.

I love to solve problems – I’m a big fan of escape rooms – and this job gives me that as well.

Freya in our Norwich office
Freya in our Norwich office

On addressing frustrations

The biggest thing I’m working on at the moment is redesigning the multi car and additional driver webpages to make them even more customer friendly.

We looked at the research by our analytics team and realised 7% of people looking to add a second driver got so frustrated by the process, they gave up.

So, we’ve developed a new design for the page that should make it much easier.

And earlier this year, I redesigned some of our travel webpages. We changed the rating system we used when quoting customers with existing medical conditions. It’s been a big improvement for customers and for business, too - we’ve seen a steady upward trend in quote completion rates.

On luck and learning

In my work, I’ve noticed a real disparity in gender.

That’s why I got involved in the Women in Technology Programme. I spent a year on secondment working on it and learnt so much about the impact of not having equal representation.

I’m lucky to work in a team where there is gender diversity. At least half our team are women. But there’s still a lot of work to be done to break down stereotypes, particularly for younger generations.

On masking

You don't always realise when you're neurodivergent.

I was recently diagnosed with ADHD. I’m in the process of being formally diagnosed with being on the autistic spectrum as well.  

Freya in the atrium in our Norwich office
Freya in the atrium in our Norwich office

I've struggled a lot with my mental health - people don't realise how exhausting it is, trying to mask your behaviour every day.

There’s also a bit of a grieving process - how did it take 26 years for anyone to notice?

I wish someone had seen it in me when I was younger. I spent a lot of time thinking I was just lazy or not understanding why I couldn’t focus like other people.

On my good place

I’ve come back from lockdown in a really good place.

It gave me the chance to do a lot of self-work and I feel more genuine in myself and comfortable.

I can’t wait to see the difference we’ll be making to our customers this year.


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