Spotlight on Alex Bennett... starting out as Rugby professional to a career in Marketing

April 15, 2021

For the next part in our spotlight series of colleagues across PIB Group, we caught up with Alex Bennett, Director of Thistle Insurance / Head of Marketing Schemes & Affinities). 

Alex shares more on making his rugby debut, working in the sporting world and living in a static caravan for 22 months.

Tell us about yourself and your early sporting career?

I had originally hoped for a career playing rugby having made my first team debut for Sale Sharks a couple of years after the advent of professionalism, coming through the academies at Sale and Harlequins having grown up in the rugby heartland of Gloucester. Unfortunately my 13th shoulder dislocation, a broken scaphoid and an operation that kept me out for an extended period,  was when I decided it was time to fall back on my degree and get a “proper” job.

I worked for Queens Park Rangers FC and London Wasps, as a Marketing Executive. That experience put me in a great position for my next role in Nationwide Building Society’s sponsorship team. I worked on the extensive range of football properties and I have some amazing memories at Wembley, Moscow with the England Women’s team, and sitting on the bench with Lawrie Sanchez in Warsaw for a World Cup qualifier.  I moved away from sponsorship to broaden my marketing armoury and worked across a range of roles spanning traditional offline media and brand activity. I soon identified digital marketing as a great opportunity to carve out a specialism, and took up the role as Director of Digital Marketing & Social Media. I joined PIB’s Schemes and Affinities division in September 2018. 

The division spans a wide range of leisure products under the Guardcover brands, as well as insurance in childcare and disability sectors,  through to unoccupied property and tenant contents insurance. 

What attracted to you to PIB?

The opportunity to join a business where I could use my experience to help make a difference and set up some best practice approaches to a range of marketing channels. The varied range of products helped to seal the deal as there are a wide variety of different approaches needed to market to the specific target audiences. 

Best thing about being part of PIB?

PIB offers the opportunity to work across a wide range of areas and has a real collaborative approach. The ambitious growth plans mean that the environment is adaptable, so things are ever changing and never boring.

What is your best piece of careers advice you’ve been given, or you would give?

Make sure you enjoy what you do as you spend a lot of time at work. Linked to this is that it’s important to stay true to yourself, it’s exhausting trying to be someone else so don’t try!

How do you relax outside of work?

I love sport and coach youth rugby and football having FA and RFU coaching qualifications. I’m the Chair of Governors at my local school so also spend a lot of time involved in that (especially if OFSTED is looming). I enjoy travelling and good food, ideally coupled with friends and a few drinks, but if at home then I’ll be found in front of a box set or film.

One thing most people won’t know about you?

I lived in a static caravan on the front drive of my current house for 22 months with my wife Antonia and our two small children while extending and renovating it. I did a lot of the work myself and it was like a second full time job while also working full time commuting to London and Swindon. I’m not planning on moving again anytime soon 😊

Did you enjoy Alex’s story? You can read more about colleagues across PIB on our website or explore career opportunities here.