Alumnus of the Month: February 2023
Chris Monaghan is our Verulam School Alumnus of the Month. Chris left Verulam School in 1988 and is now the Marketing Lead for an Insurtech business, he is also the Head Coach of Verulamians RFC.
I’ve worked in Financial services most of my life and UnderwriteMe is a fantastic InsurTech business, my role is a global one, so I work with teams in London, Boston, Sydney and Singapore. That gives me a brilliant spectrum of people and projects. I’ve been working with UnderwriteMe for 3 and a half years and we’ve built a brilliant disruptive business with a great culture.
What are some of your proudest achievements since leaving Verulam School?
Helping start the largest property portal in the UK (Rightmove.co.uk) and subsequently winning numerous awards for UnderwriteMe in the insurtech space. Rightmove was pretty much at the start of the internet and was an extremely intense project. It gave me a full insight to the capability of the digital age and revolutionised the property market in the UK.
On a personal level, my kids rank as the highest achievement for me! I have played and coached Rugby throughout my life and I get a real sense of pride from that too (with numerous league titles and long standing friendships across the globe). I also coach for the Irish Rugby Football union in their UK talent ID programme which has been fantastic. This year will see me (hopefully!) complete the Advanced Coaching award from the RFU.
I have always been involved in volunteering and raising funds for causes I believe in. Being able to have a positive effect on those around us (however small it may seem) is still (I think) one of the best things we can do. The Berlin Marathon in 2012 was probably the pinnacle of that as myself and 4 colleagues raised over £10K for the charity Shelter.
What advice would you give someone looking to follow a similar career path?
Being collaborative, in a competitive job market it’s essential to stand out as a person and working collaboratively allows other people to find out who you are. Be interested in others and always be inclusive in what you do. I think the workplace has changed dramatically since I stepped into it, so my last bit of advice is to look after your wellbeing (both mental and physical). Good wellbeing builds up resilience and that’s important in any job or career you go into.
How have your experiences at Verulam School contributed to your life and successes since leaving school?
Some of my best friends are still from my time at Verulam. We had a great year group and we looked after each other, something that builds friendships for life. I also think Verulam gave me opportunities to experience life outside education; field trips, rugby events and a visit to Question Time to name a few.
What House were you in at Verulam School and can you describe one of your fondest memories?
Hamilton – obviously the best house! A Level Geography Field trip to Isle of Wight, day one was orienteering where my friend (who will remain nameless) got us so badly lost we ended up in the wrong town. My appearance on Blockbusters will not be mentioned…
From a career point of view is to keep enjoying my role and help those in my team develop and push the brand forwards. I have a load of fundraising challenges this year ahead of me and hoping the body continues to hold out! From a coaching point of view I’m determined we bring the Vees back to where they belong. And finally, post pandemic, is to travel more (in the most environmentally friendly way I can).
We love hearing what our alumni have been doing since leaving Verulam School. Each month, we are inviting a member of our alumni community to share their story of life after Verulam. If you’re and alumnus who would like to take part, or you’d like to volunteer an alumnus that you know, then please drop us an email.