Did you have any female role models?
I was lucky enough to be surrounded by incredibly strong women growing up, but my mum has always been the most incredible and constant role model in my life.
She always set a very high standard to aspire to, raising my sister and I as a single parent after my dad passed away when I was 12. I have huge respect for her ability to multitask and create lasting friendships and relationships wherever she goes. She also instilled in me a love of good food (and wine!).
Would you say your career to date has been totally mapped out or more of a journey with twists and turns?
It’s been very much unmapped. When I finished high school in South Africa I took a gap year to travel, intending to return and train to be a doctor. However, within a month or so of being in the UK I met my future husband, fell in love and decided to stay.
We moved to Jersey with his work, and I took a job in finance; having studied accounting and business at school it was a good fit. I was keen to take professional qualifications, and began studying towards my ACCA.
I worked for a brand-new Fund Administration business for the following several years. It was so small that we all got involved in everything, from client meetings, to recruitment, even to ordering the office flowers. I learned a huge amount about every area of the business, especially how support roles feed into the client facing side.
I then joined a gold exploration company which, while based in Jersey, operated in Liberia. This was a fascinating two years!
And six years ago, I was approached by a former colleague who was already with the Aztec Group – they were looking for someone to head up the administration activities of a new team established for a major new client.
I’d never worked in the admin side before but as I am always up for a challenge and keen to learn new skills, I said yes.
Six years later, I’m still here and relishing my role as an Associate Director. I lead a brilliant team and I’m immensely proud of them.
What would you say your greatest achievement is?
Becoming ACCA qualified was a huge achievement for me. It was an incredibly challenging few years as I was in my early twenties, had two very young children, as well as a full-time job.
Like all working students, I had times where it seemed overwhelming and almost impossible to balance working in a demanding, time pressured environment like Private Equity and smash through 14 exams. I knew that if I wanted to progress in my career and give my young family the best opportunities, I had to stay focused, be disciplined and committed.
With the support of my husband and my mum, I qualified in 2007 when my son was five years old and my daughter was just three. This experience gave me the best grounding to start my career, and I am thankful for that opportunity. In more recent years, becoming part of the leadership team at the Aztec Group has been very rewarding. I am fortunate to be surrounded by a diverse group of talented individuals. Personally, my family is definitely my greatest achievement. I am so proud of the young adults my beautiful children Alex and Hannah have become.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Be brave! Trust your judgement. You’ve got this!
What inspires you to strive in your career?
I love working directly with clients – we work incredibly hard to provide the very best service and it’s very rewarding when you get great feedback from them on a job well done.
I also get a lot of satisfaction from helping my team develop and seeing them forging forward in their careers.
Having built my team from scratch, it’s lovely to see them grow in skills and confidence and really succeed.