Jane Hanson

Non Executive Director and Chair of Board, Direct Line Group


Jane is a proven Chairman, Non Executive Director and Audit and Risk Committee Chair with over 25 years experience of working at Board level in FTSE 100, regulated and other large and complex organisations in executive director and NED roles.

1. Best piece of advice you’ve been given

That it’s what you do that matters; results come from keeping your eye on your goal, and always aiming for where you want to go. I particularly like the advice from the great innovator Henry Ford, who said, “Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t – you’re right”. We don’t always come away from every undertaking exactly as we might have hoped or envisioned, but if you’re doing your best and believe in yourself, the worst you’ll come away with is a little more wisdom and experience.

2. Worst piece of advice you’ve been given

I work in a very left-brain environment, and I do well with rational, logical explanations, I like to set goals and I am good at interpreting information. Because of this, I am sometimes encouraged to use only these elements in my decision-making process. However, if the only element you apply to business decisions is logic, and you ignore your gut, you’re unlikely to end up with the best result. There is always an element of emotional intelligence in any given situation; trust your instincts.

3. What would you tell your younger self?

Treat every aspect of your life with the same care and compassion. If you have an excellent business brain, or you have a great idea but no self-confidence or belief, you will never truly be happy. The first step to every achievement is to believe in yourself first. 

4. What excites you most about the future of your industry?

We are regularly tested by a number of global factors that have a significant effect on the stability of private sector industry. Risk management and crisis prevention have always formed a central part of strategy development, and the impact of COVID-19 has once again shown the need for financial services professionals to stay ahead of the game. We are seeing an evolution – if not a revolution – in customers’ buying habits, and while LinkedIn and Twitter have become natural feeding grounds for new information, the increasing impact of social media is just the tip of what is set to be a very large iceberg when it comes to reaching and communicating with  our customers, our staff and indeed all of our stakeholders, and enabling them to make conscious, intelligent changes. 

5. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

For me, it’s music. Whether you’re happy or sad; you need lifting up or calming down; you need an outlet for anger or grief; or you simply want to connect with yourself or with others, music is its own language that has been employed and understood throughout every generation, in every country in the world. Music gives me the ability to express how I feel, even when my rational brain can’t work it out; it gets me ready for a busy day, and it relaxes me when I need to switch off. There are very few things in life with that power. 

← Read about more Inspiration Women in Business