“I joined Grant Thornton after a six-year career break with my children. I was previously working at a Big 4 firm and knew that the working pattern I was looking for to enable me to balance home and work wouldn’t be possible there. Grant Thornton had a more open, inclusive attitude and seemed like a natural fit. I face the same challenges that anyone trying to balance work and home would face – the guilt that I’m not giving enough time to each part of my life is definitely ever-present. It took me a while to feel comfortable with being who I really am at work but the firm has been progressive in helping each of us achieve that. When I’ve needed to juggle work and life throughout my career, the firm has always been there to support me and I have never felt judged when I’ve needed to combine the two parts of my life. I am very aware that as a leader I want to create an environment where people of all genders feel that they can achieve their potential within the firm and are able to balance work and home effectively.”

Chapter 1: A musical start

I am your classic “non-accountant like” accountant in that my education was a long way from the business or professional world. I did music, French and German A levels then a music degree and a masters in music at Kings College, London. Many of my school holidays in my teenage years were spent travelling around the UK and Europe with the various youth orchestras I played with. However, towards the end of my masters degree, it dawned on me that I would need a job. I wasn’t good enough to be a soloist, I wanted more stability than to be an orchestral player and I didn’t have the patience to teach - so decided I needed a complete change. I made a list of what I wanted out of a career: variety, the opportunity to work abroad, a good standard of living and the chance to have a career break. My shortlist came down to accountancy or law. Looking into the training contracts, I would qualify a year earlier as an accountant rather than a lawyer, so I chose accountancy.

I joined Grant Thornton after a six-year career break with my children. I was previously working at a Big 4 firm and knew that the working pattern I was looking for to enable me to balance home and work wouldn’t be possible there. Grant Thornton had a more open, inclusive attitude and seemed like a natural fit. I face the same challenges that anyone trying to balance work and home would face – the guilt that I’m not giving enough time to each part of my life is definitely ever-present – even though my children are now adults. In addition to that, I’d say bandwidth and making sure that I am kind to myself by getting enough sleep to work and live effectively. It’s not uncommon for me to be asleep by 10pm as, that way, I know I’ll be fresh and focused the next day.

'I am very aware that as a leader I want to create an environment where people of all genders feel that they can achieve their potential within the firm and are able to balance work and home effectively.'

Chapter 2: Finding who I really am

I was very proud to be appointed into my current role as Head of Audit. It was a really stringent process in a short time frame and I needed to really steel myself to go through that process. It’s also been rewarding to have had won significant work over the years. I’m motivated by making a difference in life and making sure that the choices I make at home and work mean that I can have the kind of life I want to have. It took me a while to feel comfortable being who I really am at work but Grant Thornton is definitely a progressive firm in helping each of us achieve that. When I’ve needed to juggle work and life throughout my career, the firm has always been there to support me and I have never felt judged when I’ve needed to combine the two parts of my life.

I have a very deep sense of fairness and the importance of values. In my current role, that means a number of things - doing all I can to ensure that the audit practice within the firm runs effectively, such that everyone who has something to contribute in line with the firm's values gets the best opportunities to do so, and I am very aware that as a leader I want to create an environment where people of all genders feel that they can achieve their potential within the firm and are able to balance work and home effectively.

Chapter 3: Legacy

I want to leave a legacy where the firm is in a better position when I retire than it was when I became a partner. There have been times in my career and life when I’ve had to make tough decisions, which has required a real resilience and I’ve worked with both coaches and counsellors to help me through those challenging times. Being part of a journey where we are more profitable and can provide the career experience that creates opportunities for everyone in the firm is really important to me. I’d like to think that I make a positive difference to the people I work with and interact with along my life journey – that would be a perfect legacy for me. I’ve had the opportunity to hire a lot of talented people into the firm - particularly at partner/director level - who have gone on to be successful, which is a real achievement and something I’m very proud of.

Outside of work, my ambition is to see my kids through their education, safely settled into their careers and living somewhere that brings them happiness when they go home. I am incredibly proud of the adults my children have grown into. They are funny, kind, chilled and just take life in their stride, which is lovely to see. If only they weren’t so chronically messy, they’d be perfect!

Discover other unique and diverse stories of our people