WeAreFutureLeaders Speaker Spotlight: Tracey Groves

Tracey Groves, Founder & CEO, Intelligent Ethics

WeAreTheCity speaks to Tracey Groves, Founder & CEO of Intelligent Ethics, about her career.

Tracey is also one of the keynote speakers at our upcoming WeAreFutureLeaders conference on 24 May.

Tracey is a trusted business adviser and educator on ethical leadership to Boards and Senior Business Leaders and has deep consulting and business transformation experience.  Working at PwC UK for over 25 years, the last 6 years as a Forensics Partner, Tracey’s specialism is advising Leaders and delivering executive training on Corporate Governance, Culture and Behaviours, Trust and Ethical Business Conduct, driven by all types of reputational risk across diverse organisations, sectors and industries.

As the Founder and CEO of her own advisory business, Intelligent Ethics, Tracey is passionate about how developing Leaders define and embrace what ‘doing the right thing’ means to them using behaviours, culture and trustworthiness as critical levers for change and placing customers at the heart of doing sustainable and responsible business. Through her work she enables leaders of organisations to unlock high performance and business integrity by designing and delivering leadership development programmes, enhanced risk-based corporate governance frameworks and cultural assessment reviews with business ethics, trust, behaviours, corporate purpose and values at their heart.

Tracey helps Boards and Leaders to think differently about responsible leadership, trustworthiness, diversity, a customer-inclusive culture and ethical behaviours as drivers of a high performing business and creation of a trusted culture. She is experienced at communicating and engaging with individuals from Board and Executive level down, developing rapport and trust quickly and effectively based on her strong strategic relationship building capabilities.  Tracey is a qualified chartered accountant and certified organisational change management practitioner.

At the conference, Tracey will talk about the future world of work and how to incorporate your career plan into it. Discover the full agenda for the day here.

WeAreFutureLeaders, now in its third year, is a conference aimed at women (below Director level) who wish to progress in their career or who are preparing for promotion. This is not a conference that labours about the lack of women in leadership positions, this full day learning event where our guests will gain real tangible skills that they can take back in to the workplace the following day.

You can find out more about the conference and book your place here.

Can you tell us a little about your background? Where you’ve come from, where you’ve worked, how you got to where you are today?

I spent 26 years at PwC as a change management consultant working with some amazing clients all over the world, in places such as Chad, Moscow, Germany, Denmark and many more!  I spent the last 7 years of my PwC career as a Partner in the Forensics Practice where I led our Business Ethics, Risk and Compliance capability.

I left in 2017 to set up and lead my own independent advisory business, Intelligent Ethics, following my passion to advise leaders on corporate integrity and how to embed what “doing the right thing” is in their organisations.  I also sit on the Board of Middlesex County Cricket Club and the City Women Network (CWN), as well as being a Visiting Fellow at the University of Leeds (Inter Disciplinary Ethics Applied Centre).  Recently, adding to my portfolio of roles, I have joined Talking Talent, a unique boutique consultancy specialising in diversity and inclusion, to act as the Global Head of Client Advisory Services.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Yes. I did and I still do!  Periodically I was always encouraged to sit back, reflect on my progress and achievements, and challenge myself on whether I was fulfilling my potential.  I have always had a clarity of purpose and a certainty about how and where I can perform at my best, which is absolutely my grounding belief. Am I living my best life, and if not, what am I going to do about it?  No-one else can answer those questions for you.

What inspired you to get involved with in motivational speaking?

The bottom line is that I love telling stories and sharing my experience so that others can learn from what’s worked for me, as well as what’s not worked. I don’t think of myself as a  ‘motivational speaker’ which feels like a label or a role.  I just try to be me, at my best.

Do you have a favourite experience from your career?

Oh there are so many super experiences it’s hard to pinpoint one favourite!  Thinking back, I think it’s when I led a team of 15 men and women from my office to complete the London Moon Walk overnight in 2015 as part of a huge fundraising campaign for a work colleague who had breast cancer.

We raised over £10,000 for Breast Cancer Research and I felt so proud, humbled and inspired to have led the team over the line. We were such a high performing team at work after such a moving experience.  It’s times like that you realise what it’s all about.  It’s not all about status, progression or power in the workplace. It’s really about us as human beings.

What do you think WeAreFutureLeaders guests will gain from your talk?

My aspiration is that everyone will feel empowered and inspired to take ownership of their future career, to feel optimistic and energized about their personal potential and to lead from the front.

What are your top three tips for success?

Be yourself

Work out what your true purpose is – “this is who I am and this is why I do what I do”

Be kind to yourself and others

What has been your biggest challenge during your career?

Retaining my authenticity, for sure.  Keeping true to myself and not trying to be someone I’m not, are two things I learnt very early on.  When I tried to conform and “fit in”, it was so miserable! Be proud of your difference and celebrate your individuality.

Which female role models are you most inspired by?

Malala Yousafzai

Sheryl Sandberg

In your opinion, what is the biggest obstacle for women at work and how can it be overcome?

Sometimes the biggest obstacle is ourselves – we hold ourselves back for fear of failure.  The question to ask is: “what’s the worst thing that could possibly happen”?  And then you realise that you’ve actually got very little to lose and so much to gain.

Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and jump.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?

For men and women to work much more closely in creating an equal world both inside and outside the workplace.

What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

The same piece of advice my Dad gave to me many, many years ago: “there is no such word as can’t”. It’s stuck with me all my life and driven me to do things I never thought I could do. Thank you Dad.


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