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.