Rebecca is a managing director in the London office in the Valuation Advisory practice and is the head of business development in the UK as well as the MENA region.
Rebecca is particularly well known throughout the world in the risk management, insurance broker and underwriting communities, where her reputation for providing exceptional client service and care precedes her.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
My career has never followed a linear path! I first started as an aerobics instructor and personal trainer, specialising in Pilates, and ran a successful business from the age of 15; I even had sponsorship and marketing contracts with Nike. Physical fitness was, and still is, an important part of my life today, as are the people I met during that chapter.
Fast-forward a few years, I am now a managing director in the Valuation Advisory practice at global advisory firm, Duff & Phelps. On a day-to-day basis, I assist companies, mainly large global corporates, with valuation issues for a wide range of purposes including the provision of insurance values for placement, risk management, disputes and litigation, asset tracking and reconciliation and cyber risk.
I started the Duff & Phelps Network of Women (NOW) in the UK in 2015 and due to its growth and success am now one of the five steering committee members. I also am a mentor to a number of colleagues within the business.
What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?
For the first seven years of my career in the city I worked in what felt like isolation, an extremely male dominated environment inside and outside of the office. Needless to say, only sheer determination, persistence and resilience during this time enabled me to progress and climb career the ladder. It also taught me an abundance about the city and how it works.
I moved to Duff & Phelps in 2014 and suddenly, much to my delight, had many female colleagues. Having been relatively women free for the first tranche of my City career, this was familiar territory once again—there weren’t many male attendees to my fitness classes back in 1996! Sharing experiences with so many women with incredible drive and determination in the workplace, and throughout our Network of Women is inspiring.
The strong, knowledgeable and incredibly understanding people around me throughout my career are really what have helped me succeed professionally. Duff & Phelps and its collaborative culture has been a huge motivator and source of support for me and my progression at the firm. Here you are encouraged to thrive and spread your wings (also to fly outside of your comfort zone) and if you can’t do it alone, someone will help you.
How do you feel about mentoring?
I have a number of mentors; someone I like and greatly trust within our business, and a few who I merely observe. Outside, friends who have similar jobs and responsibilities assume that role, sometimes unknowingly. Also, no one person is as clear and effective as my family when it comes to being my balance moderators!
As a mother of four daughters, I have a personal obligation to be a mentor for them. I want them to see that you can make your career your own, and a success, and that it doesn’t matter about your background, connections or points at which you have made poor choices. I believe that today working as a mother and sharing parental responsibilities is crucial for setting a good example for your kids. It’s not only important for your state of mind, confidence and self-esteem but it’s also important for your life after your kids become self-sufficient. It’s about having a balance of the here-and-now and also thinking about what your life will look like in the future.
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
Long ago the main challenge I faced was a complete career change due to health issues and also not knowing how to progress my business to the next level. Today my main challenges are having four very young children (and twins who are only one) and keeping a handle on where the needle should lie, doing my job well enough to achieve my objectives and targets but also coming to terms with the fact that it’s not my best performance and in the short term that that may just have to be enough.
I am thoughtful of the general technological advancement within the insurance and financial services industry, and what that should mean for my clients and business. Duff & Phelps is supportive in my creating new software and methods to increase efficiency.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
One of my goals within the industry is to raise awareness around the need to adopt legislation to regulate insurance valuations. I am very passionate about this topic and I hope I can build the profile of this issue in the next few years!
I would also like to increase my gym attendance to twice a week!
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
If your path looks bumpy ask someone to hold your hand whilst you walk it or follow someone who made it to the gate!