This blog is part of the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce’s (ABCC) Diversity in Leadership campaign.
The Diversity in Leadership campaign works with some of the regions’ biggest employers in order to boost the numbers of women and those from black and minority ethnic (BAME), lesbian gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) and disability groups being represented on boards of directors and in leadership roles.
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In this blog, Catherine Hall from Mazars, an international tax partner, discusses inspirational leaders, her experience as a working mum and what she enjoys about her role.
I started my career in Andersen and Deloitte where I worked in a number of offices, including a secondment in Deloitte’s tax policy team. I joined Mazars more than six years ago as a Partner in the Sutton and Brighton offices.
Since then, I’ve worn a variety of ‘hats’, including Office Managing Partner for the Brighton office, had responsibility for Tax across the south region, and I’m now Head of London Tax and the Tax Advisory Business Unit Leader.
Throughout my career, I’ve worked in International Tax, mostly in the Large and Listed space.
I'm motivated by grit, determination, a few leaps of faith and many, many people who have supported and encouraged me along the way – both inside and outside of the firm.
I love my team and the clients I work with, and relish the fact that each day brings a new challenge. I’m really excited about the potential of our Tax practice and the wider firm, and want to play an integral part in helping the firm reach its full potential.
I’d like to think that I’m ‘firm but fair’ leader, and that I care about the team and the clients I work with. Somebody once said that I have a soft exterior hiding a core of steel – which I’m interpreting to mean that I’m approachable but also robust and challenging.
I have a fabulous support network – my partner ‘peer’ group (Tom Brichieri-Colombi, Ann Nilsson and Toby Stanbrook) are invaluable sounding boards. It’s always helpful to have people who are happy to be open and honest with you when you need to talk through challenges.
Luckily, I’ve been fortunate to work with some great roles models throughout my career who’ve been passionate about exceeding client expectations, rolling up their sleeves in researching technical positions, as well as coaching and developing people.
Relatively early on in my career, when I had just been promoted to manager.
The partner I worked closely with moved into a new team and asked me to go with him – it forced me, for the first time, to step back and have discussions with the partners leading both the team I was in and the new team about my career development.
It completely changed the way I saw my own career progression, and was a turning point in taking ownership of my own career, rather than being led. It’s certainly shaped the decisions I’ve made since then.
Upon returning to work after having my children, particularly after having my twins, there were many days where I felt like I didn’t get it right.
But on balance, I’m proud of the fact I can do the job I love and still make time to be school run mum on a Friday and to be confident that, as a firm, the partners and wider team are comfortable that I can make that work.
Be brave, you are stronger than you think!
Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo. Accept that achievement and balance mean different things to different people.
Choose the path and balance that’s right for you but don’t be afraid to go for new challenges, even if they seem daunting at first.
If I could turn back time, I would’ve liked to have had a secondment to industry or part of our business as much as we like to think we know what clients want and need, I think seeing it from the another angle would add some invaluable insight.
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