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Moorhouse Leaders - International Women's Day 2022

To mark this year’s International Women’s Day, we interviewed some of Moorhouse’s senior female leaders to find out what has shaped them as leaders and the challenges they’ve faced throughout their careers in a male-dominated industry.

We heard from six of our inspiring senior women who have a range of backgrounds and experience, sharing their personal sentiments and what it means to them to be a leader at Moorhouse. Equality and diversity is at the heart of our values at Moorhouse, and we look forward to celebrating all of our incredible Moorhouse women this International Women’s Day.

 

What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome in your career?

I suspect my biggest obstacle is often myself. When I first heard about Imposter Syndrome, I was shocked, as it so accurately described what often goes on in my mind. I couldn’t believe that others who I thought of as confident and successful also felt the same way. I have had a great coach who has really helped me deal with these thoughts, but there are still times when I need to remind myself that I am good enough to be here.

What are the challenges and benefits of being a female leader to you?

I have chosen to work in a sector which still has a little way to go in terms of being “inclusive”. The old boy’s network is still alive and well in parts of Financial Services, although every day I am starting to see women who are breaking down those barriers and with our new “all female” leadership team for Financial Services in Moorhouse I am hoping we are going to help shatter a few more!

The real benefit of my role is that I can help others and hopefully make their journey a little easier. As women we are often balancing many different things in our lives and society does still have expectations of us. We need to support each other to help make this balance easier to find.

What advice would you give to your younger self at the beginning of your career?

Believe in yourself, there will be enough challenges without making yourself one of them – and have fun!


 

What are the challenges and benefits of being a female leader to you? 

One of the biggest challenges has probably been my appearance, especially early on in my accountancy career. I looked young, had long blonde hair and am not particularly tall. I even cut my hair short at one point to try to be taken more seriously. Frequently, questions would be addressed to the man in the room, even if I was leading the meeting or piece of work, and I struggled at times to command attention. However, this has also been a benefit because those who have under-estimated me have found themselves unprepared. More recently, as I’ve become more comfortable with my style of working, I’ve really enjoyed the freedom being a female leader provides to connect with people easily and foster authentic relationships.

Why did you choose to be a leader at Moorhouse? 

So many reasons! I love the humility and passion of the senior team at Moorhouse. They are open-minded, ambitious, and genuinely care about people – a brilliant combination! I love that I am trusted, valued and free to lead in my own style. There are so many great people at Moorhouse so genuinely consider it a privilege to be their People Director, responsible for making this the best place possible for all our people.


 

 

What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome in your career?

Definitely overcoming imposter syndrome! Something I continue to grapple with – but Amy Cuddy’s ‘fake it till you make it’ has been a great inspiration – as have my incredible female peers and role models. It’s definitely about being brave, trusting yourself and recognising the value you bring to the table. 

Why did you choose to be a leader at Moorhouse?

For me, Moorhouse has always been about the people and the culture. It’s what attracted me to the firm in the first place and what has kept me here for so long. Being a leader at Moorhouse you can make a genuine difference to your people, your clients, and the growth of the firm – and I love that. Alongside that, it’s been great from both a personal and professional development perspective and I have and continue to learn so much about the type of leader I am and the difference I can make.  

What advice would you give to your younger self at the beginning of your career?

Stay true to yourself. It is completely possible to be really successful in your professional career, whilst also bringing your whole self to work and setting personal boundaries.


 

What achievement are you most proud of? 

Of course, my kids. I was born with a heart condition and was told by doctors I couldn’t have kids, so to have two healthy teenage boys and have been able to continue with a fulfilling career has been great.

Most proud client work to date is helping to move people with learning difficulties from institutional care into shared lives accommodation to fulfil their life potential.

What are the challenges and benefits of being a female leader to you? 

Empathy comes easily with life experience, and I think that can be a leadership superpower. I do however have a big ‘mental load’ from being a working Mum. My hubby and I share all the family life childcare and chores, but I’m often the one who remembers they need to go to the dentist, haven’t had their five a day and have a basketball match so won’t be able to get school bus home etc.! My head is always very full.

It’s often a challenge being the only women in the room, it can feel uneasy, but I’m keen to always seek to find what we have in common not the points of difference and the positive mindset does help.

What advice would you give to your younger self at the beginning of your career? 

You will always be right to say ‘yes I can’ when someone tries to tell you that you can’t.


 

What advice would you give to your younger self at the beginning of your career? 

I would say three things:

  1. Believe in yourself and trust your instinct. I think particularly early on in my career and each time I have progressed, I have a little wobble about whether I can do it. I have learnt that we are all learning every day, so believing that I am doing things for the right reasons usually helps me through. 
  2. Everything is a learning opportunity, even when it doesn’t seem like it at the time. I’ve worked on some really hard projects, but those are the ones that I look back on and am amazed at how much we achieved, and often the fun we had doing it!

3. Find people to support you. I have had the privilege of working with lots of amazing people throughout my career, some of whom have taken a lot of time to support me, help me develop, given me feedback (good and more developmental!), and had a laugh along the way. Finding people who align with your values and that you can trust is invaluable, as working together we can achieve so much more than trying to solve things by ourselves

Why did you choose to be a leader at Moorhouse?

I think some people feel like leaders have to act a certain way, look a certain way, and deliver their work in a certain way. Moorhouse has been a place that has supported me to develop in a way that suits me, my character, and my strengths – a place where I can bring my whole self to work. That doesn’t mean everything has been straight forward or easy – I work part-time in a busy sector, and there is always more to do, but having a few key people around me who have focused on balancing my own career progression with the needs of the business and clients inspired me to want to push myself to grow into the leadership role I am in now. 


What are the challenges and benefits of being a female leader to you?

Operating in a male dominated industry, I have had many experiences in my career when I have been the only woman in the room. That has always presented as both an opportunity and a challenge. An opportunity to offer a different perspective and contribute in a unique way, but also a challenge because it has often felt lonely. 

What advice would you give to your younger self at the beginning of your career?

Relax. Enjoy the journey – it’s a marathon not a sprint.  

Why did you choose to be a leader at Moorhouse? 

I wanted to join a firm that was small, more personal and cared about its people – where I could continue my leadership journey in an environment that would support me to become a really compassionate, nurturing leader. I feel that leading with compassion and genuine interest in developing people enables truly exciting things to emerge. Moorhouse get that – it’s a different kind of consultancy.


Thank you to all of our wonderful female leaders for sharing their personal journeys and advice this International Women’s Day, and thank you to all the incredible women at Moorhouse – we are lucky to be inspired by you!

 

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Claire is a Client Director at Moorhouse with significant experience within the healthcare and criminal justice sectors.

Claire Eve Client Director
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Leila is a leader in our Strategy and Customer service line who brings proven experience in customer-centric operating model design and implementation, organisational design, strategic alignment and large-scale transformation.

Leila Callaghan Client Director
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Sandra brings over 20 years' global consulting and change delivery experience, having spent nine years at PwC before moving to PA Consulting as a Partner.

Sandra Di Vito Partner
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Sam is our most recent Partner at Moorhouse, who joins us from Newton, where she spent the three years leading Newton Europe’s health and care integration projects. She has a strong NHS background including several directors and board-level roles across acute, community and mental healthcare trusts.

Samantha Knollys Partner

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