Life at Deloitte

Deloitte Global Employer Services

Ride Across Britain: A ride of 980 miles starts with one pedal stroke

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The city of Aberdeen is in a beautiful part of Scotland. It's also Hayley Barker's home and where she landed a job with the Deloitte UK Global Employer Services (GES) team after traveling the world and then completing her graduate and post-graduate degrees. "We're a tight-knit team in the Scottish practice, helping multinational clients move employees across borders to the places where they are needed," says Hayley. "I spend my time helping clients do that in a way that supports each assignee's success and the success of the business."

Support is something Hayley has both provided and found throughout her career at Deloitte, particularly in her relationship with the GES partner for Scotland, Ian. "He came into the team from Ireland about six years after I joined," says Hayley, "and we have had a great relationship from the start." That's in part because Hayley, as she says, is an ambitious and straightforward person who feels comfortable being open about who she is and what she wants to do. "We had a frank initial conversation, our first of many," says Hayley. "Whenever something comes up that we need to talk about—personal or professional—we do and come out in the right place."

It was natural that when the Ride Across Britain popped up on Hayley's radar, she consulted with Ian before signing up. He was all for it. Hayley, however, had some reservations. Training for the ride would overlap with a key performance period, and she was concerned about how this could impact on her progression. "Working towards promotion, keeping up with the demands on our team, and training every weekend for the next several months was a lot to juggle," says Hayley. "But Ian, because he knows me so well, made the point that I'm better at what I do when I have balance between my work and personal life."

"I was proud to ride for Deloitte and determined to make it to the finish."

So, the Ride Across Britain was a go, and the 100-mile solo training rides began, replacing her usual half-marathon training runs, along with Hayley's relationship with her bike that she named Bertie, and raising donations. "My clients were very interested in the ride and what was driving me to do it," says Hayley. In fact, their messages of support kept her motivated through the nine-day, 980-mile ride.

If you ask Hayley what got her across the finish line, she'll tell you that she had to rely on mental and physical resilience, sheer will, training, and support. On day one, that support came from connecting with a colleague from another office who she'd previously worked with and then rode with every day. On day three, some shared tears and a hug from another rider kept her pedaling. "We all looked after each other, like with the name tags on the backs of our bikes," says Hayley. "We were constantly trading places on the road, and when someone would pass me and shout 'Hey, there's Hayley Barker,' I'd say hello, again! And we'd laugh. Small things like that keep you from focusing on the physical pain."

"Bertie—my bike—and I went through a lot together."

Resilience and support have also helped Hayley to achieve her career progression goals. Support comes from her team and, once again, Ian. "I've always been confident of my skills and the value I deliver," says Hayley, "then I had a bit of a wobble and started to question my ability to move into a more senior role." Ian had the answer. "He said to me 'There's more in you,' and a few months later, I was doing the Ride Across Britain, and the event tagline was 'More is in you.' Funny, right?"

Leaders, like Ian, who help others find more in themselves may be the number one reason Hayley would encourage others to join Deloitte. "I didn't know what I wanted to do when I came out of university, but I did know what interested me, and I found work that fit with that at Deloitte," concludes Hayley. "That and the great people I've met are why I’m here after 10 years."

"I learned on the Ride Across Britain that there really is more in me."

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