26 October 2016

Last week, the Haberman Ilett Women’s Network hosted a lively debate on a topic that is relevant to all of us in professional services: how to go “above and beyond”.

The talk featured three inspiring panellists who generously shared their personal stories:

  • Juliet Blanch, on her last day as head of Weil’s International Dispute Resolution practice in London, before leaving to devote her time to being an Arbitrator and to her development programme for new female partners across the legal industry;
  • Polly McMaster, Founder of The Fold, a contemporary professional fashion brand, who left her job in private equity in order to start up her own company to create empowering collections for working women; and
  • Ruth Handcock, Chief Customer Officer at new challenger bank Tandem, whose diverse career has spanned sales, charity work and being Global Finance Director at Bacardi.

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Each of the panellists covered the brief of “above and beyond” in an engaging and inspiring way.  To Juliet, going above and beyond has meant being driven to succeed and not being defined by her failures.  She also spoke about remaining true to her values and being motivated by seeing others succeed. To Polly, going above and beyond has meant striving to go outside her comfort zone and becoming “comfortable with being uncomfortable”.  She also spoke about the importance of looking back and reflecting on what you have achieved, before focussing on the next milestone. To Ruth, it has meant being passionate and really caring about what she does, as well as ensuring that anything she does would pass the “pub test”: would you be proud to explain what you do to a stranger in a pub?

Although each panellist spoke from their individual perspective, there were some messages that were consistent between them, such as:

  • not being defined by other peoples’ expectations;
  • accepting that you might need to work hard and have stamina; and
  • working out what you are prepared to sacrifice to reach your goals; but also what you are not willing to do.

Hosted by Liz Perks, who founded Haberman Ilett’s Women’s Network before she became partner in 2015, the subsequent debate focussed on how to balance work and life, and the importance of taking time for yourself (with Juliet sharing her tip of the benefit of power naps).

The evening concluded with canapes and wine, an opportunity to chat about the evening’s discussion and a chance to toast Vikki Wall who has recently been rewarded for going above and beyond by being made Partner at Haberman Ilett.

Thanks to everyone who attended, and in particular thanks to our panellists for such inspiring speeches.  We look forward to seeing everyone at the next Haberman Ilett Women’s Network event. Please email events@hiforensic.com if you would like to be added to the mailing list.

By Lexi Boyes