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:
- Beth Dodson-Wells, Director, Talent Acquisition and Development
- Vaneeta Khurana, Partner, National Head of Employment Tax
- Rebecca Dacre, Director, Restucturing Services Team
- Iris Hughes, Senior Internal Auditor, Consulting
- Charlene Nunn, Senior Manager, Audit and Assurance
- Harriet Walker, Corporate Assistant, Professional Practices
- Catherine Hall, International Tax Partner
- Lara Brennan, Senior Manager, Financial Outsourcing and Advisory
- Sophie Mellor Tax Trainee, Tax Advisory
- Jennifer Allison Director, Tax
- Charlotte Ward Assistant Manager, Forensic & Investigation Services
- Helen Parker Director, Entrepreneurial Business
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.