I was born in Uganda and migrated to the UK with my family when I was only 7 months old so have no real memories of my birth country. I grew up in London and then moved to the Midlands where I went to Loughborough University to study Accounting and Financial Management. Even at this stage I had no real idea what I wanted my future career to be other than it wasn’t going to be anything science related! In my 3rd year placement I went to PwC in Leicester and did my first year ACA exams. They offered me a full time job after graduating. I joined the audit team and completed my ACA qualification and then wanted to try something different. I applied for a 6 month secondment to tax and really enjoyed it so have spent the last 18 years in tax. I was promoted to Partner 7 years ago and now lead our Private Business Tax team in the Midlands – a team of 100 very talented people who love spending time helping our clients solve their problems.
On a typical workday, how do you start your day and how does it end?
First of all there is no “typical” day which is why I love my job – each day is different and you never quite know what it will bring.
If however I am in the office then my day will usually start at 9am. My PA will tell you that I’m not a morning person, and she’s right! I would normally have a client meeting either at their site or in the office and then spend time with the staff on client work. If I can make the time I like to go for a lunchtime walk or run around the office – it really sets me up for a productive afternoon.
I like yoga and pilates exercise classes after work which means that if I can I need to leave the office promptly at 5.30pm. I like encouraging my team to have a strong work life balance as I feel strongly that you are a lot more productive when you get this right. If I need to I log on in the evening to clear anything urgent, with the technology we have its very easy to do this.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
Never. I’m not the type who has a clear view of what I want to do and by when. Instead I’ve always gone with the view that as long as I am developing my skills and learning new things that I find exciting then I’m in the right place. It’s served me well so far.
What do you love about working for PwC?
That’s an easy one – the people. I feel really lucky to be around such talented people who have a strong team ethos so will always work together to get things done, no matter how difficult.
Have you faced any challenges along the way and if so, how did you overcome these challenges?
PwC is a superb at the support it gives to its people in their personal development and there is a huge focus on this particularly at senior levels. One of my challenges where I got some great coaching at the time when I was looking at promotion to Partner was around being more confident. This centered around 2 things: talking about myself and dealing with senior people. I have continued with the coaching and find it incredibly valuable.
How have you benefited from coaching, mentoring or the sponsorship of others?
Above I talk about professional coaching but equally there is an immense amount of informal coaching that I have benefitted from. By this I mean consulting with colleagues not just on client related matters but also on personal matters – over my career I have made some incredible friends. Wherever I have sought out colleagues to help I have always found it helpful.
Do you believe in the power of networking? If so, where do you network?
Absolutely. I think this is critical. Networking makes your job easier for you – the more people you know the more people you have access to for information or work opportunities. At PwC networking is easy as there are so many opportunities, the challenge is selecting the right ones which will be the most beneficial.
What advice can you give to our members about raising their profiles either inside or outside their own organisations?
Be confident and believe in yourself. Done assume that other people will know what you are good at or what you want – you need to tell them
What advice would you give to those who aspire to a career in professional services?
Go for it. It’s a great place to build your career or use it as a platform to do other things.
What does the future hold for you?
Who knows. As long as I’m happy and enjoying doing what I’m doing I’m not going to worry about that question.