Five things that made me

How they got to where they are now

Success means different things to different people. Respect. Money. Happiness. Giving back. Legacy.

We all have leaders we look up to. ‘They’ve made it’, we think. But every role model walked their path before becoming one.

We spoke to senior role models within the firm about their stories. We talked about their lives and their careers. The highlights. The turning points. The shiny opportunities.

But we also talked about the tough times. The lessons learnt. How they find balance. And the helping hands along the way.

Here are their stories. May they inspire yours.

Meet Annabel: Grew up in Surrey. Mum, Leader and Marketer. Challenged norms and opened doors for others.

Five things we learnt from Annabel...

  1. Trust your decisions. They’re leading you on your path.

  2. If you want to do interesting work, stay curious.

  3. There are many parts to what makes you, you. Honour them.

  4. You can't pour from an empty cup – make time for you.

  5. Success is not a title. It’s loving what you do.

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Meet Ben: Grew up in Dorset. First Brightstart to become partner. Thinks success is happiness.

Five things we learnt from Ben...

  1. Roll the dice. Life is about experiences.

  2. Figure out what makes you tick. It’s the best investment you’ll ever make.

  3. You’re not an island. Talk to others and don’t be afraid to ask for support.

  4. The biggest barrier is you. Believe others when they say you can do it.

  5. Success is feeling content. Don’t obsess about the next step – enjoy the journey.

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Meet Emma: Private equity leader. Always puts people (and family) first. Eternally positive attitude.

Five things we learnt from Emma...

  1. You don’t need to change who you are to belong.

  2. Yes, you can take another step. You could actually take another five.

  3. When you think someone is great at what they do, tell them. And tell others too.

  4. There’s no work you and home you. There’s just you.

  5. Success is about setting a positive example for others.

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Meet Charindra: From Hong Kong to London. Business builder. Full of energy.

Five things we learnt from Charindra...

  1. If you really believe in something, you have to go after it.

  2. The hardest experiences teach you the most. Keep getting up.

  3. An overnight success is years in the making.

  4. Prioritise you. It’ll help you show up for others.

  5. Don’t forget to enjoy the moment. The time is now.

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Meet Sharnelle: South African native. London local. Enjoys the little things.

Five things we learnt from Sharnelle...

  1. Take your work seriously, but don’t forget to live.

  2. Make big decisions with your heart, not your head.

  3. You’re much stronger than you think. Remember that during your hardest moments.

  4. See how far you’ve come. Help others go even further.

  5. Look after yourself. Look after others. Repeat.

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Meet Caroline: Force of nature. Social worker. Proud of her community.

Five things we learnt from Caroline...

  1. A big dose of self-belief can take you a long way.

  2. Try something out. Learn from it. Repeat.

  3. You can stand out and fit in and still be you.

  4. Accepting your vulnerabilities is your greatest strength.

  5. When you do less, others can do more. And that’s a good thing.

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Meet David: Multicultural background. Black Action Plan sponsor. Capoeira fan.

Five things we learnt from David...

  1. Be proud of who you are and where you come from. It makes you, you.

  2. Possibilities are everywhere. For everyone.

  3. Find your style. You don’t need to emulate someone else’s.

  4. Listen carefully before jumping into action.

  5. Look after yourself. Be kind to you so you can be kind to others.

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Meet Colin: LEGO fan. Digital leader. Here to make memories.

Five things we learnt from Colin...

  1. Throw yourself into life. It’s rewarding and makes you stand out.

  2. Be comfortable with the uncomfortable. It builds your confidence.

  3. An issue is just a decision that hasn’t been made.

  4. Be there for your team. Even if you’re just buying the pizza.

  5. Life is so precious. Do what makes your heart beat faster today.

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Meet David: Executive leader. Punk fan. Forever curious.

Five things we learnt from David...

  1. If not you, who? Don’t be afraid to give something a go.

  2. It’s never about individuals. A good team is everything.

  3. It’s okay to make mistakes. Just learn all you can from them.

  4. Support people when things are difficult. They’ll do the same for you.

  5. Stay curious. Embrace variety. You’ll have a lot of fun.

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Meet Shilpa: Technology leader. Brings women together. Loves sharing stories.

Five things we learnt from Shilpa...

  1. Do what you love and love what you do = the secret to success.

  2. Don’t underestimate how much you can help somebody by sharing your story.

  3. Think of your career journey as less ladder, more jungle gym.

  4. Take it each day at a time. Perfection is a myth.

  5. Everybody is a role model (yes, you reading this too!) so pay it forward.

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Meet Katie: Audit partner. Champions women in leadership. 100% herself.

Five things we learnt from Katie...

  1. Do your best at whatever it is you’re doing.

  2. Look for ways to grow. You’d be surprised at what you can do.

  3. Be who you are everywhere you go.

  4. When things get difficult, remember you’re stronger than you think.

  5. We’re all just human. Learn. Make a change. Have fun!

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Meet Lara: tax partner, world traveller and new mum.

Five things we learnt from Lara...

  1. Don’t worry about not fitting in. Become comfortable with who you are.

  2. The secret to success? Go after what you enjoy doing.

  3. Try new things. Dream big. Ask people to take a chance on you. They will.

  4. There’s no pre-determined path. Discover your own.

  5. Rethink ‘failing.’ Those moments are learning experiences, a nudge in a different direction.

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Meet Matt: parent, consulting leader and neurodiversity champion.

Five things we learnt from Matt...

  1. Helping others is where success lies.

  2. There’s no such thing as a failure. Everything’s a learning experience.

  3. Let everyone hear it: work and home are both important.

  4. Be you. You’re valued for who you are and what you bring to the table.

  5. Inspiration comes from everywhere – just look around you.

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Meet Lucy: Sustainable finance leader. Passionate about purpose. Believer in silver linings.

Five things we learnt from Lucy...

  1. Your past can shape your future – in a good way.

  2. When there’s a clear why, everything falls in place.

  3. Your wellbeing comes first. Always.

  4. Don’t worry about how you think you should lead. Be you.

  5. Being able to help others is pretty successful.

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Meet Stewart: Audit director, cricket fan and proud dad.

Five things we learnt from Stew...

  1. It’s about where you come from. But it’s also about where you’re going.

  2. Accept help. Help others. Repeat.

  3. Don’t forget to look around you. There’s always someone looking up to you.

  4. Priorities change. People change. Stay close to yourself.

  5. Do more of what you love. Life’s too short to spend it on things you don’t.

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Meet Will: People and purpose leader. Big music fan. LGBT+ champion.

Five things we learnt from Will...

  1. You don’t have to have a grand plan. What interests you right now?

  2. Look for opportunities to learn – and have fun.

  3. Share your story. Listen to others’ stories.

  4. Look after yourself. It makes everything else easier.

  5. Don’t try to be like anyone else. Be yourself and watch how far you’ll go.

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Meet Rachel: Tax leader. First to go to uni in her family. Mother of three.

Five things we learnt from Rachel...

  1. Just because others around you didn’t doesn’t mean you can’t.

  2. Stepping out of your comfort zone is never easy but it always pays off.

  3. If you could design your dream job, what would it look like?

  4. Helping others helps us. Always.

  5. You’re not one career. There’s more than one path for everyone.

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