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:
Lara Brennan, Senior Manager, Financial Outsourcing and Advisory
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.