#WomenAtMazars: Amy Reynolds

Celebrating #WomenAtMazars

36227 WomenAtMazars Linkedin cards_Amy Reynolds

Next in our Celebrating #WomenAtMazars series, we’re speaking to Amy Reynolds, a Tax Partner based in Bristol.

Don’t forget to catch up with the previous interviews in this series with:

Tell us about your journey to and within Mazars?

I originally trained as an accountant in industry, basically because they offered me more money than in practice, however I always knew I wanted to go back to practice and so moved when I qualified. The job that came up at the time was Corporate Finance Exec with a small regional firm. Whilst doing that role I got interested in M&A tax and decided to do my tax exams, resulting in a move to another mid-tier firm to work purely in tax.  I started in tax advisory, another unusual move, so have never experienced basic compliance training! I moved to Mazars in 2011 as a director in the Bristol office with a remit to grow the tax business and made partner in 2013 after growing the business and the team.

What motivates you and what values guide you?

Some people will think I am very odd at this point, but I have known what I wanted to do and where I wanted to get to since I was at primary school – and that was to be a partner in an accountancy practice (I believe in dreaming big!) Having this goal has motivated me all the way through my career and has kept me going whenever I have had bad days.  Having that ultimate aim has always helped me to set out the stepping stones along the way. I believe that you have to push for what you want to achieve, but along the way you need to take time for helping others (as it will be repaid).

What qualities have enabled you to get you where you are today?

I believe that anyone who has worked with me will say that I am always approachable and helpful – I am very bad at saying “no”, but I think that helps make me who I am.  I am very career driven – as mentioned above, I always had my eye on the end goal and have always worked determinedly towards it. However, I learned early in my career that my job could be quite stressful, and if I just went home at the end of the day, I would continue working and never take a break. My horses became my stress relief – I started with one, when she injured herself and had to have 6 months off, I managed to buy a second simply because I couldn’t cope with not riding!  So now I own two old/injured horses and a third new ridable one since last year…..

Over your career who have been the people that have mentored or sponsored you? Why and how did they have an impact?

I was lucky to have three very strong mentors in my previous firm when I was beginning in tax: Tom Woodcock, who was a tax barrister and just kept giving me opportunities to work on interesting projects, developing my skills at the same time, and two non-tax partners, Keith Seeley and Mark Harman who were just brilliant in the marketplace and in front of clients, and who took me to loads of meetings and gave me a huge amount of experience. They gave me the confidence to be able to do it on my own, and to have broad discussions with clients and prospects rather than just talking about tax.  A friend of mine, who also worked there, and I still say “think like Keith” or “what would Keith do” when faced with challenging or nerve racking situations!

What has been the most defining point in your career to date?

Making partner – and being the youngest partner at Mazars at the time at age 33.  Unfortunately the day after was a bit of a slump of – “What now?!”.

What does leadership mean to you? And what makes you a good leader?

To me, leadership is all about being someone that people look up to – a positive role model. I like to lead by example and to give back to my team, in terms of time, opportunities, coaching and recognition. But in return I expect all of my team to be giving 100% back and to support me.

What advice would you give to other women for advancing in their careers?

Aim high! There is nothing wrong with aiming to be at the top of the organisation when you are just starting, as long as you can break it down into smaller steps along the way. It’s always a big tick in the box for me when I interview a new trainee and they can see beyond just qualifying.  However, career progression has to come from the person, it’s never going to be handed to you on a plate – you have to be doing the right things and asking for it. I find it frustrating when someone complains that they haven’t been promoted, yet they haven’t completed their objectives or shown any passion and enthusiasm about going over and above.

You should also remember that everybody’s career path is different and there is no right way to go about it – I never went to university, I went in to my career back to front compared to most people, going from industry to practice and not starting in compliance and yet it never held me back.

The above advice is really relevant to anyone progressing their careers, but more specifically for women (and I appreciate this could also apply to men) – my advice is to learn to manage your work/life balance.  I have two young children (and three horses) and I am very lucky that my husband has chosen to be a stay at home Dad plus starting his own flexible business, so I have limited childcare issues. However I still have the challenge of making time to spend with them (and still to ride), so I am resolute about leaving the office at 5 every day to get home before the boys go to bed and then work later on in the evening, I work at home some of the time and I try and pick them up from Nursery once a week. Plus I try to be creative about my time – when I had a client meeting in Brighton recently, my family came with me and spent the morning on the beach and pier and I joined them for lunch, plus had 6 hours chatting in the car with them all!

What can be done to improve gender parity at Mazars?

I think we need to make it easier for women to stay in and come back to the workforce – more funding for nursery care from the Government, more support from businesses with regards flexible and agile working and more support around returning to work – the only way we can get closer to gender parity is to increase the pool of talent.

 

Thanks to Amy for sharing her journey with us.

Check back next week for another segment of #WomenAtMazars.

#WomenAtMazars: Hayley Brightmore

Celebrating #WomenAtMazars

36227 WomenAtMazars Linkedin cards_Hayley Brightman

Next in our Celebrating #WomenAtMazars series, we’re speaking to Hayley Brightmore, a Senior Manager in Mazars Deal Advisory based in Manchester.

Don’t forget to catch up with the previous interviews in this series with:

Tell us about your career path to date.

After starting a degree in Pure Maths, hating it, running away to Spain for a year, returning and graduating with a degree in Accounting and Finance, I started my career at a small, one office firm in Stockport, preparing accounts (using pencil and paper) from bags of invoices and receipts. I’m not as old as that makes me seem…

I moved into external audit at RSM Tenon halfway through my ACA training contract and joined Mazars as a newly qualified Senior in October 2013. I joined the Transaction Services team and I am now a Senior Manager focusing on assisting corporate (mainly owner managed and SME) clients, banks and investment houses on acquisitions and investments.

What motivates you, what values guide you?

I love to learn and I’m in the perfect environment to do that. Transaction Services is a project driven environment with each client’s needs being unique. I love the feeling of completing a particularly challenging piece of work and getting a great result for the client – especially if that means saving them a huge amount of money!

We have a great MDA team in Manchester – the team vibe and the support we give each other massively motivates me to work hard.

I value straight-talking honesty, drive and a sense of humour!

What qualities have enabled you to get you where you are today?

One of my team told me the word to describe me would be tenacious – I think that was a compliment. I’m very driven but I also strongly believe everything happens for a reason – some of my biggest lows have led to opportunities that wouldn’t have existed otherwise.

I used to get frustrated by my lack of confidence so I developed a ‘what’s the worst that could happen’ approach which is much more effective (in all reasonable situations). A lot more doors seem to open when you focus on opportunities rather than obstacles.

I’ve always tried to be genuine rather than attempting to remould myself into a persona that better fits my role and the world I work in. Rather than be a limitation, in a world full of slick-talking corporate financiers, the occasional (frequent) ridiculous question and complete lack of common sense has proved to be an excellent ice-breaker and foundation to building good relationships!

Over your career who have been the people that have mentored or sponsored you? Why and how did they have an impact?

I’ve only recently begun to work with a formal mentor – prior to that I’ve been incredibly lucky to have worked for and alongside people who have challenged and supported me.

Working under Neil Robinson (Transaction Services Partner in Manchester) has had a huge impact on my career. The learning curve has been exponential over the last 4 and a half years. As well as improving my vocabulary with ridiculous words, Neil has genuinely invested in my development and from day one made me feel as though I am an integral part of the team, that my thoughts and opinions matter and that my voice is always heard.

What has been the most defining point in your career to date?

Moving to Mazars Transaction Services from external audit at RSM was genuinely a leap of faith. I think this was the first of numerous instances where I’ve thrown myself right out of my comfort zone and hoped for the best. Each time I’ve done this the results have been so positive – I think we can all be guilty of allocating ourselves inherent limitations that probably don’t exist.

 What does leadership mean to you? And what makes you a good leader at Mazars?

I think a great leader is a role model who inspires others. I’ve admired certain qualities in others throughout my career and tried to emulate certain skills and traits I have been impressed by.

I think a good leader recognises the differences in individuals and is able to adapt their approach to their team’s development based on this. I think it’s important to recognise that a ‘one size fits all’ approach doesn’t work.

I hope to lead by these rules in the future and to be a leader that encourages challenge and free-thinking. I see the personality diversity we have in our team and how well that works – disagreements and challenges are constant but it’s all done in a supportive and inclusive manner – everyone’s voice counts.

What advice would you give to other women for progressing at Mazars?

Look forward instead of around. Focus on the positives and enjoy the job – ambition and drive should feed from this.

Be yourself in order to build genuine, solid relationships. My obsession with aliens and conspiracy theories may sound odd but has given our team plenty of hours of entertainment!

And don’t be afraid of failure – everything happens for a reason!

What can be done to achieve gender parity at Mazars?

There is also definitely work to be done on a social scale in order to support women returning to work after maternity leave given the increasing disparity in more senior roles. Hopefully the full effect of initiatives like shared parental leave etc. will be felt in the near future. Ultimately I think we all have a collective responsibility to ensure that diversity remains on the agenda and that where possible we do our bit to support this. Some of the most rewarding women’s events I’ve been to have been attended by a number of men also – maybe this is something that could be encouraged more.

Thanks to Hayley for sharing her journey with us.

Check back next week for another segment of #WomenAtMazars.

#WomenAtMazars: Beth Dodson-Wells

 

Celebrating #WomenAtMazars

36227 WomenAtMazars Linkedin cards_Beth Dodson-Wells

Next in our Celebrating #WomenAtMazars series, we’re speaking to Beth Dodson-Wells, Director of Talent Acquisition and Development in the UK.

Don’t forget to catch up with the previous interviews in this series with:

Tell us about your journey to and within Mazars?

I started my career in HR working at NatWest head office and then Woolworth PLC and joined Mazars in 2003. I’ve had a variety of roles at Mazars, from HR Manager for what was then the Chilterns region, and being the HR advisor to the OMB Board, to projects such as implementing the HR system and project managing the offshoring of HR Services to our team in Delhi. I am now the lead on Talent Acquisition and Development.

What have been the enablers that have helped you get to where you are today?

A very supportive family, a willingness to work hard and learn and resilience.

Over your career who have been the people that have mentored or sponsored you? Why and how did they have an impact?

I’ve had a number of informal sponsors and mentors in my career. The best are encouraging but also challenging. I’ve learned that the best support doesn’t have to come from formal mentors or people more senior than you. Be open to learning from anyone. I learn from my team all the time and friends and colleagues like Fiona Revell – who is always supportive and helpful. My family keep me on the straight and narrow – helping me keeping things in perspective and giving me that all important balance.

Has Mazars been able to accommodate for your needs?

Six years ago we adopted two boys – I took a full year off (we needed it) and came back part time. This gave me an opportunity to do something different and develop new skills, both at home and work! I’ve been agile working ever since and work full time now.  I am trusted and supported at Mazars to manage my time as I need to. I’m very proud to be an adoptive mum and proud that I’m still developing myself at work at the same time.

How would others describe you at work?

Honest and approachable and usually have a smile on my face. Prepared to admit when I’m wrong. Having high standards and expectations of myself and others. Always looking to learn.

What advice would you give to other women for growing and progressing in this organisation/starting their careers?

Learn from as many people as you can, look for opportunities and be really proactive about your development. Be yourself.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your younger self?  What would you do differently?

Get some international experience early on, take a few more risks, be really single minded about your development.

 

Thanks to Beth for sharing her journey with us.

Make sure that you come back to the Mazars blog each week to hear from more inspirational #WomenAtMazars.

#WomenAtMazars: Vaneeta Khurana

 

Celebrating #WomenAtMazars

36227 WomenAtMazars Linkedin cards_Vaneeta Khurana

Next in our Celebrating #WomenAtMazars series, we’re speaking to Vaneeta Khurana, Partner, Head of Employment Tax based in London.

Don’t forget to catch up with the previous interviews in this series with:

Tell us about your career path to date and about your journey to and within Mazars?

I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great sponsors, both women and men, in my career and this has enabled me to broaden my experiences technically and meet people in different roles.  I started my career in a ‘Big 4’ Firm where I worked in tax, and then switched to audit, had a client secondment, and then finally returned to tax.  I’ve continued to learn and develop in each role, making myself the best person I can be and trying to get the best out of the people I’ve worked with.  This is all in between doing my exams, getting married and having two wonderful (most of the time) children!

My journey with Mazars stared nearly four years ago, and it’s helped define me as the type of leader that I’d like to be.  I’ve had lots of support and encouragement along the way.

What motivates you to be an inspirational leader?

Working with positive people and having the ability to influence change and behaviours.  Many of my values come from my cultural upbringing, where I was taught to treat everybody equally regardless of their differences; encourage people to come forward and speak their mind; fully commit to anything I take on, giving it the attention it deserves; and to deliver to the best of my ability. Sounds simple?

What qualities have enabled you to get you where you are today?

People I know in and outside of work tell me that I’m passionate about what I do and have a high level of ’emotional intelligence’.  All I know is that I try to put myself in the shoes of others – I listen and learn from my mistakes, and aim to empower others to do their best as I try to do myself.  And yes, I’m absolutely passionate about would I do, including Tax!

Over your career, who have been the people that have mentored or sponsored you? Why and how did they have an impact?

As my development needs and challenges have changed, so have my mentors.  At the same time, as my career has evolved, my sponsors have also changed, opening doors and connecting me to the right people to help take me to the next level.  For example, at Mazars, I’ve had the opportunity to work with the executive leadership team on a number of projects which my sponsor had facilitated – opportunities that I may never have known about!

What has been the most defining point in your career to date?

There are many – the one that stands out was when I became a fully qualified Chartered accountant.  I remember feeling that I could now become a ‘proper’ advisor and really start to shape my career.

What does leadership mean to you? And what makes you a good leader?

It’s the ability to influence positive change.  I still have lots to learn – but I try to be a role model in promoting good human values and behaviours and try to get the best from people.

What advice would you give to other women for progressing in this organisation/starting their careers?

I would say be confident, speak up, take control of the direction of your career, and be a role model to others.

Finally:

Do you have any thoughts as to what we can do to achieve gender parity?

I have two children, a boy and a girl.  I’ve tried to teach them that there are no differences in what they can achieve in life, and that we should embrace ourselves and others for our individualities – this is the next generation.  In reality, in today’s society, discrimination happens and differences are not always valued.  We all need to learn this skill and be inclusive – whatever the difference.​

Thanks to Vaneeta for sharing her journey with us.

Make sure that you come back to the Mazars blog each week to hear from more inspirational #WomenAtMazars.

#WomenAtMazars: Rebecca Dacre

 

Celebrating #WomenAtMazars – Rebecca Dacre

36227 WomenAtMazars Twitter cards_Rebecca Dacre

Next in our Celebrating #WomenAtMazars series, we’re speaking to Rebecca Dacre, a Director in the Restructuring Services Team, based in Milton Keynes.

Don’t forget to catch up with the previous interviews in this series with:

Hi Rebecca, can you tell us about your journey to and within Mazars?

I joined a different top-10 firm in London as a summer intern in the corporate recovery department (I had written to them on the off chance that they would take someone on for the summer) and was lucky to be offered a graduate placement there at the end of my degree. I gained my ACA qualification within the corporate recovery department and gained my insolvency qualifications – the CPI and JIEB – as well.  I then moved out of London to a local firm and started taking insolvency appointments, which was very rewarding and a great step forwards, and in time, I took over responsibility for the Milton Keynes office.  Eventually I began to seek a new challenge to stretch me further, and joined Mazars as a director and appointment-taker in Restructuring Services.  When I joined Mazars I was immediately offered the opportunity to work on a project for the banking consulting team, which was a great experience and emphasised to me the wealth of opportunities available at Mazars.

What have been the enablers that have helped you get to where you are today?

I have been really lucky that I was ‘thrown in at the deep end’ during my formative years – it really was sink or swim. It made me self-motivated to find solutions to the problems each case presented and it gave me a great deal of self-confidence.  I am grateful that my past managers have had the faith in me to allow me to grow, to learn and to develop a strong work ethic of my own accord, and I aspire to manage others as well as I have been managed.

What motivates you, and what values guide you?

My biggest motivation is the desire to be proud of my work, my team’s work and how that reflects upon the firm as a whole – I can’t relax if I know I could be doing something better than I am.  I am a strong believer in doing the right thing, that giving clients the right advice is of tantamount importance because we embark on a career for long-term satisfaction, not short-term gains.

Over your career who have been the people that have mentored or sponsored you?

I have never had a formal mentor but I have found something to learn from in many colleagues, both senior and junior to me in grade.  The first partner that I worked under showed great trust in me and I wanted to live up to his expectations and not let him down.  It was inspiring and has shaped the way I work with my team members ever since.

What has been the most defining point in your career to date?

I think it must be passing my insolvency exams at the first sitting, as the JIEB enabled me to obtain my insolvency licence at a relatively young age and to progress in my career, even though at that time I wasn’t sure that I wanted to progress as far as I have.

How would others describe you at work?

Hopefully my colleagues would describe me as cheerful and approachable, determined, resilient, capable, confident, keen to learn, and perhaps never seen without chocolate…

What advice would you give to other women for growing and progressing at Mazars?

Learn what you can from everyone you respect, develop your own set of values and don’t be afraid of seemingly insurmountable challenges; overcoming those will give you the self-confidence to succeed in your career.  Not everyone has to aspire to be a Senior Partner – it’s okay to progress at your own pace or to find a level that suits you, but don’t confine yourself to that as you may feel differently as time goes by (as I did).  Above all, do what you enjoy – it’ll help you dig deep when the when the deadlines all coincide and your ‘to do list’ is longer than your Christmas list was when you were seven!

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your younger self?  What would you do differently?

I would tell myself to not be so afraid of what other people think, don’t try to impress but instead try to learn. Ask more questions, be more inquisitive. I would tell myself not to be afraid of networking, as everyone had to start somewhere and once you get to know people, it’s really enjoyable establishing working friendships that will last for decades to come.

What can Mazars do to help to achieve gender parity?

Gender does define a great deal of who we are and how we are brought up, and it’s difficult to eradicate that internal bias; instead we need to focus on accepting and celebrating the variety of strengths that different genders bring to a team environment.  Management and appraisers need to be trained to spot the abilities of team members – particularly women – who may not push themselves forwards for progression as vocally as their male counterparts, yet may be the equal or more capable candidate.

 

Thanks to Rebecca for sharing her journey with us.

Make sure that you come back to Mazars UK blog each week to hear from more inspirational #WomenAtMazars.

#WomenAtMazars: Iris Hughes

 

Celebrating #WomenAtMazars – Iris Hughes​

36227 WomenAtMazars Linkedin cards

Next in our Celebrating #WomenatMazars series, we’re speaking to Iris Hughes, a Senior Internal Auditor in the Consulting team, based in London.

Don’t forget to catch up with the previous interviews in this series with:

Hi Iris, can you tell us about your career journey so far?

I read Business Studies at university. My third year of studies involved a year placement with the London Borough of Brent Internal Audit unit, so after I graduated, I continued to pursue a career in internal audit – mainly within the public sector. I had a brief experience with a major retailer last year but decided it wasn’t for me. Being at Mazars is like putting on an old pair of shoes – a perfect fit! I’ve been at Mazars for almost six months now, which has been challenging at times but I’m loving it.

Who has enabled you get to where you are today?

My mother’s encouragement and faith in me to take opportunities on offer. Also, my manager’s encouragement, warmth and supportiveness.

What motivates you, and what values guide you?

Making a difference – I love that with each audit, we can make a difference to enhance processes within the organisations we work with. I think the main value that guides me is leaving a good impression, as I’ve always been taught to leave a good impression, so this motivates me to do my job well.

Over your career who have been the people that have mentored or sponsored you? Why and how did they have an impact?

My manager at Mazars (Abbie Francis-Pike), has similar traits to my previous manager when I worked at Bentley Jennison. They both give recognition for good work and provide guidance where they see opportunity for development.

What has been the most defining point in your career to date?

Working as a contractor for the Department for Communities and Local Government over a seven year period was the most defining point of my career to date because I felt well respected, valued and rewarded. I took charge of my own development within the field of work and as a result I was often consulted for advice from clients and peers – it was rewarding.

What advice would you give to other women for growing and progressing in this organisation/starting their careers?

Growing and progressing within Mazars is about demonstrating your capability to do your job well. To get ahead of the game, you need to take responsibility for your own learning and career development.  You need to take the initiative to learn new things and not wait for opportunities to come to you.

Finally, what can we at Mazars do to achieve gender parity?

All credit to Mazars for its agile working policy. This gives me greater flexibility to manage my work and family commitments. It’s definitely a step in the right direction for improving gender parity.

I believe in setting plans for everything. We can start with a realistic target for gender parity at all levels and grades within the firm – only then would we have a base to monitor our progress. This could also be extended to Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people within senior posts. It would be good to see senior posts filled with people who are reflective of our diverse clients and society.

Thanks to Iris for sharing her journey with us.

Make sure that you come back to Mazars UK blog each week to hear from more inspirational #WomenAtMazars.

#WomenAtMazars: Charlene Nunn

 

Celebrating #WomenAtMazars – Charlene Nunn

36055 International Women's Day twitter cards_CN

This week’s edition of Celebrating #WomenatMazars, we’re speaking to Charlene Nunn, a Senior Manager in the Audit and Assurance team, based in Manchester.

Don’t forget to catch up with the previous interviews in this series with:

Hi Charlene, can you tell us about your career journey so far at Mazars?

I joined Mazars in 2010 as an Audit graduate in the Manchester office, obtaining my ACA in 2013. I have remained in Audit throughout my time at the firm progressing to Assistant Manager in 2014, Manager in 2015 and Senior Manager in 2016.

What has helped you to get to where you are today?

I would say a mixture of my focus, determination and resilience, the opportunities within the firm, and my support network both within the firm and externally.

I also think achieving a balance in life that works for me has kept my focus over the years. Regardless of how busy I get I still make time during the week to train and play netball and rugby, spend time with my friends, family, fiancé and cats, and read almost every evening – normally Harry Potter.

During your career, who have been the people that have mentored you?

There are too many to name, I think the right person to mentor you changes throughout your career.

Can you tell us about the most defining point in your career to date?

A short time after I became a Manager, a client of mine spoke with the Audit team to try to decipher my age. Her comments were that, “on the one hand Charlene looks very young but on the other hand she really knows her stuff, so I’ve come to the conclusion that she is actually old but looks young”.

Whilst I certainly took pleasure in her young comment, the real defining moment from that comment is I begun to accept that I could do this job, I do know my stuff and I am not an imposter (it is really common for both men and women to experience ‘imposter syndrome’ – I encourage you to Google it. It’s fascinating topic which I am sure if you speak amongst your teams almost all will admit to have experienced this at some point in their lives).

How do you think would others describe you at work?

This is an extremely difficult one so I asked for some input from colleagues with the following results: enthusiastic, driven, constructive, helpful, meticulous, technical, demanding, ambitious and practical.

I am motivated by being able to make a positive difference; to my clients, the team and the firm.

How have you overcome any gender-related roadblocks in your career?

Do not let the fact that you are a woman stand in the way of you achieving your goals. Acknowledge that there is still an issue in relation to gender disparity, not just within Mazars but society more broadly, but recognise this should not be a barrier for realising your full potential.  Read up on the issue, discuss the issue and realise that you are always in a position in this firm where you can influence positive changes.

It sounds like a cliché but it is very important advice nonetheless – be true to and always be yourself – live by your own set of values and always know who you are.

Oh and read Sheryl Sandberg’s book ‘Lean In’.

Finally, as a woman in a senior leadership position, do you have any final thoughts on how gender parity can be achieved?

I wish I had the answer, but I don’t think any one does – it is a complex issue that extends beyond gender to diversity more widely. I think society needs to continue to give these issues the attention they deserve and allow all to voice their thoughts and their ideas for progress and most importantly encourage action.

#WomenAtMazars: Harriet Walker

 

Celebrating #WomenAtMazars – Harriet Walker

36055 International Women's Day twitter cards_HW

Today in Celebrating #WomenAtMazars, we’re sitting down with Harriet Walker to find out more about her life and career at Mazars. Harriet is a Corporate Assistant in the Professional Practices team in Edinburgh.

Don’t forget to catch up with the previous interviews in this series with:

We’d really like to hear from more #WomenAtMazars, and so if you are interested in being featured in this series please get in touch with Angela Cooke, Diversity & Inclusion Senior Manager.

Hi Harriet, can you tell us a bit about your career path to date?

I originally joined Mazars on a Year in Industry from university, and was fortunate enough to be offered a graduate job. When I returned I got involved in local Corporate Social Responsibility projects, progressing to become the CSR Representative for Edinburgh. I’m now an active member of the Mazars in Society Committee, with particular responsibility for National CSR projects. It’s a challenge juggling my client portfolio with CSR responsibilities, but one that I definitely thrive on.

What part of your role motivates you?

People motivate me! Numbers and spreadsheets are part of the job, but it’s the actual client contact or working with members of my team that motivates me to put in that extra bit of effort.

Who have been the people that have mentored or sponsored you?

I’ve been fortunate to work in teams where my opinions and passions have been taken into account. I’ve worked particularly closely with Laura Clarkson (OMP for Scotland), as she is both the partner for my team, sits opposite me, and is heavily involved with CSR. Laura ensures her team have opportunities to progress in areas over and above our daily roles, and this really spurs us on to challenge ourselves. Thanks to Laura I’ve had opportunities to join national committees, travel, and develop my skills in public speaking.

What has been the most defining point in your career to date?

I’m currently still doing my professional accounting qualification, so I imagine when I finish that later this year, it will be a moment to remember!

How would others describe you at work?

Organised, sociable, and persuasive… especially when it comes to event attendance.

What advice would you give to other women for growing and progressing in the firm?

Be a team player… there are so many opportunities within Mazars to interact with your colleagues, including those from other departments. Embrace these chances, and you’ll find that your colleagues will be able to both support you and open doors as your career progresses.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your younger self?  Is there anything you’d do differently?

Have a meaningful conversation with everyone that you meet – they might be the same level as you, or more/less senior, but you never know when you will meet again or how you can help each other. In terms of doing things differently – focus on your exams and treat them with respect…they’re difficult for a reason.

Thanks to Harriet for sharing her journey with us.

Make sure that you come back to Mazars UK blog each week to hear from more inspirational #WomenAtMazars.

#WomenAtMazars: Lara Brennan

 

Celebrating #WomenatMazars – Lara Brennan

This week in our Celebrating #WomenaAtMazars series, we’re joined by Lara Brennan, a Senior Manager from the Financial Outsourcing and Advisory team, based in Poole.

Don’t forget to catch up with the previous interviews in this series with:

Hi Lara, can you give us an insight into your career journey at Mazars?

I joined Mazars in 2004 and I started as a qualified AAT, aged 19. A few years later, I went on to complete my ACCA training contract in AOS and I’ve developed my career with client facing and national project roles.

I went on maternity leave to have my two children and now I’m a SNM, heading the team in Poole. In my current role, my focus is on delivering technology enabled solutions to SME’s through elev8.

What have been the enablers that have helped you to get to where you are today?

I would say a combination of my support network, my family and mentors, as well as my drive and passion.

What motivates you?

  • Innovation: I believe that ‘old ways won’t open new doors’.
  • Trust: I value relationships.
  • A healthy work-life balance – although I need to work at this!

In your career, who have been the people who mentored or sponsored you?

Toby Stanbrook (Partner) – he’s really supportive and has been a mentor to me, as well as an ear and a sounding board. I’ve learnt a lot from working with him over the last four years.

Sian Bryant (Executive Coaching) – she was my maternity coach and has been a great resource on exiting and transitioning back into the business.

What has been your most defining point in your career to date?

Returning to work full time as a mum of two. It’s something I’m really proud of – being able to develop my career whilst starting a family.

How do you think others would describe you?

Sunshine with a little hurricane! (Passionate and fun but determined to develop our offering and deliver the best service and solution to clients).

What would be your advice to other women for developing their careers at Mazars?

My advice would be to ask for help when you need it – it isn’t a sign of weakness. Also, take control of your own development as opportunities don’t just fall at your feet.

Knowing what you know now, is there anything that you would do differently?

Post qualification I’d have applied for a global mobility secondment to gain overseas experience or to develop further advisory skills.

 

Thanks to Lara for sharing her journey with us.

Make sure that you come back to Mazars UK blog each week to hear from more inspirational #WomenAtMazars.

#WomenAtMazars: Catherine Hall

 

Celebrating #WomenatMazars – Catherine Hall

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​Next in our Celebrating #WomenatMazars series, we’re speaking to Catherine Hall, an International Tax Partner who is based in London.

Catherine has worked in a variety of roles over the course of her career. She shares how having a strong support network has been key to overcoming challenges, and how a situation early on in her career led her taking control of her own career path and progression. She also tells us about her experience as a working mum and what she enjoys about her current role.

Don’t forget to catch up with the previous interviews in this series with:

Hi Catherine, can you tell us about your career path to date?

I started my career in Andersen and Deloitte where I worked in a number of offices, including a secondment in Deloitte’s tax policy team.  I joined Mazars more than six years ago as a Partner in the Sutton and Brighton offices.  Since then, I’ve worn a variety of ‘hats’, including OMP for the Brighton office, had responsibility for Tax across the south region, and I’m now Head of London Tax and the Tax Advisory Business Unit Leader.  Throughout my career, I’ve worked in International Tax, mostly in the Large and Listed space.

What motivates you to be an inspirational leader at Mazars?

Grit, determination, a few leaps of faith and many, many people who have supported and encouraged me along the way – both inside and outside of the firm.

I love my team and the clients I work with, and relish the fact that each day brings a new challenge.  I’m really excited about the potential of our Tax practice and the wider firm, and want to play an integral part in helping the firm reach its full potential.

How would your colleagues describe you as a leader?

Ha – depends who you ask and when you ask them!  I’d like to think that I’m ‘firm but fair’, and that I care about the team and the clients I work with.  Somebody once said that I have a soft exterior hiding a core of steel – which I’m interpreting to mean that I’m approachable but also robust and challenging.

How do you overcome obstacles?

I have a fabulous support network – my partner ‘peer’ group (Tom Brichieri-Colombi, Ann Nilsson and Toby Stanbrook) are invaluable sounding boards.  It’s always helpful to have people who are happy to be open and honest with you when you need to talk through challenges.

Luckily, I’ve been fortunate to work with some great roles models throughout my career who’ve been passionate about exceeding client expectations, rolling up their sleeves in researching technical positions, as well as coaching and developing people.

What has been the most defining point in your career to date?

Relatively early on in my career, when I had just been promoted to Manager.  The partner I worked closely with moved into a new team and asked me to go with him – it forced me, for the first time, to step back and have discussions with the partners leading both the team I was in and the new team about my career development.  It completely changed the way I saw my own career progression, and was a turning point in taking ownership of my own career, rather than being led. It’s certainly shaped the decisions I’ve made since then.

What has been your experience of returning to work after having children?

Upon returning to work after having my children, particularly after having my twins, there were many days where I felt like I didn’t get it right. But on balance, I’m proud of the fact I can do the job I love and still make time to be school run mum on a Friday and to be confident that, as a firm, the partners and wider team are comfortable that I can make that work.

What advice would you give to other women for growing and progressing at Mazars?

Be brave, you are stronger than you think! Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo. Accept that achievement and balance mean different things to different people. Choose the path and balance that’s right for you but don’t be afraid to go for new challenges, even if they seem daunting at first.

If I could turn back time, I would’ve liked to have had a secondment to industry or another service line – as much as we like to think we know what clients want and need, I think seeing it from the another angle would add some invaluable insight.

Thanks to Catherine for sharing her journey with us.

Make sure that you come back to Mazars UK blog each week to hear from more inspirational #WomenatMazars.