International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

So, in recognition of this, we took a few minutes with some of the women in our team who are instrumental in representing Smith Cooper and help make it the organisation that it is today.

Jackie Hendley – Partner

What is the highlight of your career so far?

There are a number of highlights in my career to date – these include being a finalist in Business Women of the Year, settling tax investigations/disputes with HMRC thereby saving clients significant amounts of money and, as importantly, minimising their stress levels throughout, and the successful sale of businesses.

A key achievement for me is the fact that I have managed to have a successful career at the same time as leading a very happy family life bringing up two children of whom I am exceptionally proud.

Vivienne Tolley – Director of HR Services

If you could give your younger self some advice, what would it be?

“Take advantage of every opportunity made available to you because that chance may not come your way again.”  Essentially, you should believe yourself to be capable of those opportunities, even if they feel outside your comfort zone. Sometimes the road you’ve chosen may be hard and you’ll need to persevere, but along the way, you tend to meet surprising people who can help you. Don’t be afraid to accept their help.

Natasha Scott – Tax Manager

How long have you worked at Smith Cooper and how has your role developed?

I’ve been at Smith Cooper a little over 10 years now – I was only 19 when I started and had been working as an AAT apprentice and had never really done a tax return before!

I started out in personal tax where I did my ATT before I moved onto corporate tax and became CTA qualified. I now spend most of my time working on advisory projects and looking after the staff so a complete overhaul from where I started!

Marina Bray – Business Recovery and Insolvency Manager

For a woman entering the professional services industry, what advice would you give?

My advice to any female starting out in the professional services industry would be to make the most of every opportunity that comes your way, even if it feels daunting. You can only assess your own capabilities by putting yourself into challenging situations. Learn from your mistakes – we’ve all made them, and it is important that you learn from them as part of your professional development.

Absorb any advice received from your fellow colleagues and particularly those colleagues who may have had many more years of experience in the same industry. The advice you will receive is invaluable and will stay with you for your whole career. I am very fortunate for the advice that I have received. Do not be afraid to ask questions.

Although you will have to conduct yourself professionally, always ensure that you express your own personality, as that is important.

Here at Smith Cooper, 49% of our team is made up of women, whilst 40% of our operational board are women, overseeing the management and strategic direction of our group companies.

Sarah Flear, Partner at Smith Cooper comments “International Women’s Day celebrates women in all fields and walks of life, highlighting and promoting the roles and significance we play, as well as the opportunities that are available to us.”

“We’re proud of the accomplishments made by the women in our firm, both professionally and personally.”