What was your earliest ambition? What’s the biggest challenge you face?
From the age of 10 I wanted to be a forensic scientist. I read chemistry at Oxford and realised being a forensic scientist wasn’t all about Agatha Christie glamour. I never lost the curiosity to understand what has happened.
What was the first senior role you had?
My first leadership role was as managing partner of Grant Thornton’s London audit and tax practice. I had only been a partner for a year, so it was a big leap of faith. The senior partners were very supportive and there was a sort of power in naivety. The firm thrived and we tripled the size of the practice and quadrupled profits.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I work with brilliant people, both internally and with fascinating clients. And I get to work on interesting projects such as the new growth accelerator project with BIS.
What’s the biggest challenge you face?
I love to go into situations where there is commonly accepted thinking about the ways things should be done and unpicking that
Other people’s assumptions about what can and can’t be done. I love to go into situations where there is commonly accepted thinking about the ways things should be done and unpicking that or asking awkward questions.
Why do you use social media?
I am a big fan of Twitter. I can build connections with people in the leadership arena I would never normally get the opportunity to meet. I like that “intimacy at scale” it offers.
What makes a good culture?
It’s about having people who know and care that what they do matters, and creating a place where everyone can bring their best thinking to make a difference for clients and colleagues.
What is your proudest achievement?
My two sons. In particular the fact they ask questions and challenge what’s not right. That gives me hope for the future.
Who do you most admire?
Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. She embodies what she believes and has accepted her chosen path.
What is your career ambition?
My ambition has never been about job titles. I‘d like to get to the end of my career and look back and know that I made a contribution to helping UK plc find its path in the new global economy.
What is your guilty pleasure?
When I am in need of comfort, I turn to marzipan.
What trait do you dislike most in others?
Unkindness. What I enjoyed most about last year’s Olympics was that it made people remember how to be nice to one another. If we all made a little more effort to be kinder, the world would be a much better place.
What motivates you?
If I can ask questions that make someone see the world differently or think in a new way, I’m pleased.
How do you balance work and home life?
The secret is working out what works for you. I moved to Devon 18 months ago and live in London during the week. I got back 10 hours a week previously spent commuting. If I can I work from home on Fridays, it’s where I do my best thinking. It means when I’m home at weekends I have more energy and can be a proper mum. Yoga and meditation also help.