The Short Cut:
A quick fire chat about working life with Janthana Kaenprakhamroy
At the heart of the Nurture Network is the power of sharing experiences. From breakthrough career moments, to best ever advice, how to deal with stress and the women that inspire them.
The Short Cut designed to bring you a snapshot of our members’ working lives. Today we’re speaking to Janthana Kaenprakhamroy founder & CEO at Tapoly.
Tell us about your breakthrough career moment
After immigrating from rural Thailand to Europe at the age of 13 I trained as a chartered accountant at University in London. Following this I had a successful career in investment banking at the likes of UBS, Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan Chase.
I enjoyed working in banking but my real breakthrough career moment came when I had a light bulb moment with an idea for my own company.. And like many of the best business ideas, I spotted a gap in the market for Tapoly through my own personal experience. In 2016 I was looking for an insurance policy that would cover me for renting out my flat, but I just couldn’t find one to suit my needs. I wanted protection for my property, myself and my guests against any potential risks but I couldn’t find a policy that covered this and gave me the short-term flexibility I needed.
The rest as they say is history and Tapoly was born!
I was fortunate enough to find a great co-founder Sam Hopkins, who is a software developer. We soon realised the problem I’d faced was far from unique. In fact, the ‘gig-economy’ in all its forms was being completely under-served by the insurance industry. With 4.4 million freelancers and micro-SMEs making up the UK’s gig economy alone and Forbes estimating the market to be worth 1.1 billion globally we knew we were onto something.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever had?
I’ve had lots of great advice over the years but the one that really resonates is that success is like running a marathon! It takes time, it can’t be rushed, but you must be prepared to seize opportunities and be ready to move. You also have to take risks and not be afraid to fall, get up, and keep going, even when things get tough. Eventually you will get to the finish line.
Have you ever felt held back as a women?
I would say that change definitely is and has been happening, but there is still more to be done to provide equal opportunities. We’re on the road to embracing gender diversity and being more supportive of women but in a corporate culture these things take time.
Drawing on my own experience and career ambitions, when I was growing up I didn’t really know of any women in tech. Even when I’d arrived in Europe and was studying at University in London there weren’t that many women in tech and finance that I knew of.
It’s still a fact that fewer than 7% of tech jobs in Europe are held by women.
I don’t think even now this has been fully addressed, there’s a barrier around perceptions of what it’s like to work in these sectors for women. The idea that the world of tech and finance are still inflexible and require putting in long hours to get ahead, means there’s potentially a whole pool of female talent being wasted. Changes are starting to happen, but there is definitely more to be done to accelerate the pace of change.
This drives my passion to be as inclusive a leader as possible. It’s really important to me to create space for everyone to feel accepted and shine within my own business and the wider industry. There are females and people from diverse backgrounds making up the Tapoly team and I regularly speak at industry events and forums to try and encourage people from all walks of life to get involved in the insurance and tech industries.
How do you protect your mental health in moments of pressure?
I think you have to work to keep self-awareness in place, so you can recognise and overcome mental and emotional challenges, especially when leading others as well as looking after yourself. You cannot pour from an empty cup as the saying goes.
Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. Being a business owner means facing new challenges every day, you have to always be willing to learn from those around you. I think this growth mindset also helps to build my resilience, which is a particularly important skill to have as a leader of a small business.
Do you have any hobbies to keep you busy in your spare time?
As a founder and entrepreneur with employees and investors to take care of it can be tempting to work long hours and of course there is always something that needs to be done! However, I am mindful of being a good role model to my team and how important it is to look after myself and my own health. I try to create balance by scheduling in time for meeting up with friends and leisure activities I enjoy such as cycling.
I feel empowered when…
…I’m acknowledged for my success, like winning an award, that really makes me feel empowered. But more generally when I have a good team of advisors and workers who I can rely on for support. They empower me to continue during the ups and downs of running a fast-paced, busy start-up and I do the same for my team.
The world would be a better place when…
…we stop thinking about social and racial differences, and realise that everyone has their own struggles. Instead of thinking in terms of “them and us” we should give each other the benefit of the doubt and without judging or using negative stereotypes.
The woman everyone should know about is…
Dame Inga Beale for being a great advocate for diversity and inclusion in the insurance industry. She was the first female CEO of Lloyd’s of London Market, and the first woman and the first openly bisexual person to be named number one in the OUTstanding & FT Leading LGBT executive power list in 2015. She is one of my role models and she has been instrumental in Tapoly successfully becoming a coverholder of Lloyds of London Market. Apart from being a great role model, she is also a visionary and ahead of her time.
The woman who empowers me the most is…
…my mother and one of my school teachers, who has been like a second mother to me. Both of these ladies have made great contributions towards being my role model, providing me with unconditional love and support and more importantly helping me to believe in myself.
Where is your favourite place in the world?…
…I may be biased, but I love going on holiday in Thailand because of my passion for spicy food and hot weather.
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