Brewer Morris is proud to be supporting International Women's Day 2017. We have interviewed a series of our female clients asking them how they have been bold for change #BeBoldForChange
Brewer Morris interviewed Genevieve Moore, Partner at accountancy firm Blick Rothenberg.
Do you have any secrets to having a successful career?
For me it has been as simple as hard work and dedication! I was very fortunate to be offered a training position with Grant Thornton and started a few days after finishing my A levels, something that would now be referred to as a modern apprenticeship, but back then was virtually unheard of. I think mixing in a peer group of graduates and experienced business people gave me the drive and determination to succeed and prove that as a non-graduate I could cut the mustard! I’ve been fortunate to work in environments and for people where hard work, passion, enthusiasm and dedication has been rewarded and this has enabled me to reach partner, and now head of Corporate Tax at Blick Rothenberg.
What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
For many women, sadly it’s still a case of having to make a choice between their career and their family after having children, and I think this means many successful business women put their careers on hold, although some come back to it later in life after their children are older. Whilst I absolutely support any women that make this choice for themselves, I feel there are too many women that have to make this choice because they are unable to find a work/life balance that enables them to be there to see their children grow up, and still pursue their careers with the same determination as before having a family. I also feel that the cost of childcare can be a barrier to returning to work, and although incentives such as the child care voucher salary sacrifice arrangements are helpful, these do not go far enough to help off-set the cost of childcare.
Who inspires you and why?
Great question! I am fortunate being an 80’s child to have had lots of strong female role models within business and politics. At the same time, my male role models are just as valuable to me, for a whole heap of different reasons! Dame Anita Roddick, who founded the Body Shop back in the 70’s, had to be one of the key female role models whilst I was growing up, not only as a business women but also a human rights and environment campaigner – plus she was based in West Sussex, not too far from my own home town.
On a business level, I have been fortunate to work with many inspiring and talented female and male partners; friend and mentor Rose Edmunds (who gave up city life to become an author!) has been a constant confidant and inspiration throughout my professional career, and continues to be so today.
I’ve also had the chance to meet several female entrepreneurs through my work, including two ladies who started their own business when they had six children between them, and the business is now successfully turning over in excess of £2.5m.
What do you think will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you in the workplace?
I think the challenges that exist today will still exist for the next generation, how to balance family life and pursue a successful career. I don’t think this is just a challenge for women though. The millennials generally have a greater focus on work / life balance and the ability to work flexibly and fit work around a wide range of commitments is becoming increasingly important in the decision of where to work, and businesses that are unable to offer this are likely to be left behind in the recruitment race. The use of technology should certainly help address this, enabling people to work more effectively from home and work flexibly, which should mean more women and men can be there for bath and bedtime, whilst still being a successful career wo/man.
What advice would you give aspiring women in your industry?
My advice is to be ambitious and work hard for what you want in life. In today’s modern world there really should be no barriers to the Boardroom, but if you don’t aim high, you will never know what you can achieve. Funnily enough, tax and professional services actually seems to be populated by women leaders, not just within my firm but within many of the top UK accountancy firms. Women looking to pursue a career in professional services only need to do a little research to see this is the case, and that should inspire them to aim for the top.
How do you achieve work life balance?
I manage my diary well and my PA is wonderful to protect the time I “keep free” for family and life! My big hobby is horse riding and I have a horse called Flash and an ambition to compete him in British Eventing and British Show jumping competitions this year. Although Flash is kept on livery (where someone else looks after his care on a daily basis), I still want to ride at least two evenings during the week, and on those days I make sure I leave work on time. When needed I come to the office early in order that I can keep on top of my client work and keep my evenings clearer, and where I can I catch up with the non-urgent emails and technical reading on the commute to and from work, rather than spending time in the office on these.
I’m also pretty good at “switching off” after work and at the weekends, and although naturally things about work will filter through my mind during these times, I’m quite disciplined at keeping weekends free for my horse, dogs and husband!
I also have a cleaner and credit must go to my husband who is the cook in our house and saves me from living off cheese on toast or takeaways!
What were the main drivers in helping you succeed in your career?
I think the main driver has simply been me! I was ambitious from a young age according to my parents, and very focused, and I’ve never known when to quit nor been one to sit back and think “I’ve made it”. When I made partner I thought I’d be satisfied but I still wanted more! Being appointed head of corporate tax for Blick Rothenberg has been fantastic, but I’m not finished yet!
What have you learned about leadership, entrepreneurship and mentoring others?
I think it is incredibly important to treat everyone as individuals and try and understand (by asking them!) what it is that they want from life and a career, and what is important to them. A business needs all sorts of people, from all walks of life, working together as a team, to be as strong as it can be, and understanding that what motivates one team member is likely to be very different to what motivates another team member is crucial to creating that environment.
If senior management within your industry or sector is historically weighted towards males, have you noticed any changes in the last several years?
Absolutely I’ve noticed a change since my career started in 2000. I’ve been fortunate to work for a number of inspiring female partners since my first day in tax, but over the years I’ve seen more women appointed to the top within both practice and industry. Now that is inspiring!