Saturday, 25th March 2017
KPMG DIVERSITY AMBASSADOR
1. You are a highly successful woman in what is traditionally a male world. What are the different skills that women have which help business and professional services?
I believe that women generally approach issues from a different angle, delivering solutions in often a more creative way. They are also more relationship orientated and in it for the long term which is key in any professional services firm As a tax professional, I personally find this an interesting area of finance and it certainly plays to my skill set. A successful tax practitioner is someone who can engage with a variety of people and really think creatively about the issues that are affecting their business. With its emphasis on compliance and relationship-building, tax provides an attractive and flexible career path for many women – one where we can not only shine, but also reach the very top positions.
2. You were born in the small town of Mombasa, but are now at the zenith of a top global professional firm. How did you build the self-confidence to make this jump?
I believe that if you want something really badly, and you dedicate your best efforts in order to achieve that and provided you have the right skills and abilities than you have every chance of succeeding especially in an organisation whose culture is based on meritocracy. From a very young age I knew that I wanted to work in Finance and become a Chartered Accountant. Joining KPMG gave me access to a fantastic talent pool across the board ranging from young graduates to partners and a range of really interesting and successful clients. More importantly the firm encourages all of its staff to push the boundaries in building strong relationships and being innovative. With each new piece of work where you get a chance to be innovative and impress the client, helping to solve their issues and doing the best job you can do, your confidence grows. I think working for a world class organisation and having the right level of support within that organisation is vital in order to develop both as a person and a professional.
3. As an Asian, how do you stretch the minds and thinking of the non-Asian partners towards understanding this growing and dynamic customer and employee base?
KPMG is always looking at new markets and new opportunities and the success of the Asian business community in the UK has been well recognised generally As a result KPMG is fully behind my work in building relationships with the Asian business community and recognises just how important this community is to the UK economy, particularly in London where I work. The rise of India and its bid for superpower status has had a transformational effect on the British economy and the businesses that operate here over the last decade. Not only do home grown Asian businesses make up a large percentage of the UK’s small to medium-sized business community and represent one of the fastest-growing sectors, generating a substantial percentage of the UK’s turnover, but Indian businesses are now operating in a host of industries in the UK, owning some of the most British of institutions and all firms are waking up to the diverse and important contribution that Asian businesses make to our economy.
4. In Indian culture, women are highly respected, but not traditionally seen as career professionals. How do you overcome this stigma?
I have always had great support from my family and I’m pleased to say that the image of Asian women as purely daughters and wives has moved on. Asian women have come a long way in business and this to some extent has been helped by the change in attitude and environment around women in general and diversity in particular, and the realisation that women have a lot to offer and it makes absolute commercial sense to retain and develop that pool of talent. We have some great examples of very successful Asian women such as Ruby McGregor-Smith and Baroness Sheila Flather who have helped to make the journey for other Asian women an easier one both professionally and within their family environments. .
5. What does it ‘feel’ like to work in a dynamic global firm? Absolutely great! I get a huge amount of satisfaction from my work – from building new relationships to winning business, from managing risk to developing others, and, above all, helping to ensure the firm delivers a consistently high quality service. I work with some of our most demanding and successful clients in London and I’m constantly being challenged and developed which makes life really interesting
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