Stories of our impact

From Belfast to Buckingham Palace

In January, our office senior partner for Belfast, Jackie Henry, travelled to Buckingham Palace to receive an MBE for services to the economy in Northern Ireland. She is one of Belfast’s most vocal and enthusiastic business leaders, acting as an ambassador for the city while at the same time helping Deloitte build a major international delivery centre for global clients. Jackie talks about what motivates her, why she’s passionate about Deloitte’s role in Belfast and her hopes for the city’s future.

A strong foundation

“My parents were major influences in my life. My first job was in dad’s corner shop, where I started working when I was about 15 and then throughout university. Working in the shop taught me a huge amount about running a business, managing customers and to not take myself too seriously. All that proved to be a great foundation for working at Deloitte. And I went back too - when my dad was ill last summer I was in the shop helping out on weekends with my eldest son Rory.

I’m an accountant by background – I’ve worked at Deloitte for nearly 28 years, initially in audit, where I qualified as an accountant, before moving to a career in consulting. As office senior partner, I love seeing the contribution that our business has made to the city of Belfast and it helped me to realise what a personal passion it is to create possibilities that weren't there when I was growing up.”

The power of opportunity

“The key opportunity for me in creating and sustaining economic prosperity and growth is investment in skills and education. Our young people are an incredible talent pool that will drive future creativity and innovation – and that should be our priority. That’s why we’ve established partnerships with Hazelwood College, Ulster University and Belfast Metropolitan College. These partnerships allowed us to design a six-month business internship programme and deliver our BrightStart and Graduate Academy programmes.

I’m also committed to recruiting and retaining more women into our business. We attract really well at entry point to our business and our graduate intake balance is wonderful, but at issue are the more senior grades and making this an attractive career option to those with children and other family caring responsibilities. That's our biggest challenge, and programmes such as Return to Work and policies like agile working will be an important part of addressing these issues.

Over the next year, we will continue to work to reach our target of a workforce in Belfast of 1,000 by 2020. By growing our talent and delivering innovative solutions for our clients, we will contribute to building a stronger economy for Northern Ireland. I am heartened by what has been achieved so far in FinTech, cyber security, the film industry and tourism, and I’m excited about the possibilities for the future that now exist.”