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Deloitte Global Employer Services

Ride Across Britain: Keep moving and never say quit

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"Are you bored?" is not the sort of question you'd expect your boss to ask you over lunch—particularly if you have only been working with him as an executive assistant for about nine months. It is, however, what Dawn Turnbull's boss asked her, and her answer was, "Yes." That led him to ask, "What work do you want to do?" and her answer, "Client service." Within a year of that conversation, Dawn was an associate on the Global Compensation Management team managing global payrolls and compensation collation.

"I started working straight out of secondary school, so I didn’t go to university," says Dawn. To upskill and gain the credentials she needed for her new client service role, Dawn learned on the job, took a two-year course, and became a member of the Chartered Institute of Pension and Payroll Managers. "Deloitte and my boss supported me all the way," Dawn adds. "When I needed feedback on my course work, he and the other professionals were there with tips
and advice."

Fast forward to today: Dawn is an associate director in the Global Employer Services practice and is leading her own teams. She credits her career advancement to strong technical, people, and listening skills. "I like the people side of my role and listen carefully to and respect what my partner, team, and clients have to say," says Dawn. "That's part of how I build relationships, trust, and an understanding of their expectations and how I can help to make them happy." For Dawn, having a happy team is a priority. "A happy team is a motivated and strong team that will want to work with you and produce high-quality work," she notes, "and ultimately what will make the client happy."

Going for what she wants and giving her best are in Dawn's DNA. She listened and learned when her dad said always aim to win, and she's no quitter. So, when she was on Deloitte’s website and an ad popped up for the Ride Across Britain 2018 challenge, she signed up, and at no point thought she couldn’t do it.

"Leadership support and learning helped Dawn put her skills to work and advance to Associate Director, Global Employment Services."

Dawn's training for the Ride Across Britain started on a rainy December day with a 20-mile ride and continued every weekend until March. When the weather turned bad, Dawn rigged up her bike onto a turbo trainer, converting it into a stationary bike, and pedaled in her lounge and garage. Sponsored races of 60-100 miles-a-day followed, then hill training in
Majorca. "After I rode up and down the Formentor and Puig Major, my husband said, 'You're ready,' and I knew it too," says Dawn.

Rotten luck dogged Dawn at the start of the Ride Across Britain. Her bike was damaged in transit to Land's End, and for the first three days, she rode over 100 miles-a-day on a loaner twice the weight of her bike. "If I said I didn't have a breakdown, I'd be lying, but leaving the race and letting down the people who'd donated to my charity was not an option," says Dawn. "My husband traveled home and brought back his bike, and riding that was a morale boost from day four."

"Beautiful start at Land's End. Only 980 miles to go. Riding is always better with a friend."

People riding with Dawn and cheering her from the roadside say she smiled the whole route, except on day eight. Climbing The Lecht ski resort in Scotland, Dawn thought she was done. For her, it was one of the hardest days ride. Then, she caught up with a fellow rider she had met at the start. "There's a bus that picks up riders who have to stop for whatever reason and drives them to that night's base camp," says Dawn. "My friend asked if I wanted to get on the bus. I didn't. So we carried on riding up The Lecht, and he had me laughing and lifted my spirits, and I made it to day nine and across the finish line."

Dawn is on the reserve list for her second Ride Across Britain and coaching other colleagues scheduled to ride in 2019. "The sense of achievement you feel coming over the finish line is phenomenal and emotional," concludes Dawn, "and if that and riding for the Deloitte team doesn't inspire you to live up to the race's slogan, 'More is in you,' nothing will."

"Nine days later, I made it across the finish line, and the feeling was phenomenal."

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