The Faces of Deloitte TMT is a series of articles exploring the personal histories of our people, sharing the key experiences that defined their values and exploring why they do what they do. In this story, Claire discusses some her views on good leadership.
I liked the sound of a working life spent solving puzzles something I’ve always enjoyed.
When Claire began her career at Deloitte, she wasn’t sure if she was there for the long haul. But she kept her doubts to herself and took the “fake it ‘til you make it” approach. Then, a few years ago, when she attended a Women in Leadership course and spoke candidly with women in her cohort, she found she wasn’t alone: almost everyone’s experiences had been similar to hers.
Knowing that has been instrumental in shaping her leadership style. Now she makes sure people on her team know that it’s okay not to know absolutely everything and that they can—and should—ask questions and challenge her. “This not only produces better work, but also helps people see that their contributions are valuable,” says Claire. “I like to tell the team that the day I stop learning is the day I will retire.”
At university Claire studied philosophy, politics, and economics, thinking she might join the UK civil service. While those courses didn’t necessarily provide the job-ready, hard skills that some others could, Claire found the problem-solving skills she developed—how to gather, sort, and analyze loads of information and then synthesize it into an easily digestible format—was a valuable skill.
Those problem-solving skills were what first drew her to Deloitte. As a student, she saw a presentation from one of the (then) Big Five accountancy firms and met someone from the forensic accounting team. “I liked the sound of a working life spent solving puzzles—something I’ve always enjoyed,” says Claire.
She joined Deloitte and after three years in audit was seconded to forensics for what was supposed to be a six-month stay. More than 17 years later, she’s still there. She credits the puzzle-solving aspect of the job—but just as important were the fantastic mentors that supported, listened, and taught her. This key phase of her career is one she now tries to emulate as she mentors young professionals on her team.
Claire took up running a few years ago and while it’s good exercise, she finds there’s nothing like a run to “Clear my head and set the world to rights.” Living on the edge of a national park, Claire can indulge in long runs and is now currently training for a 35-mile, hill-intense ultra-marathon.
“TMT clients are among the most interesting I work with,” says Claire. To her, the value they place on innovation makes them open to considering different approaches to solving problems. She also enjoys that the founders of many TMT companies are often still very involved in management. “They bring an emotional connection to the business that others may not,” says Claire.