Marking International Women’s Day 2023, DSG spoke to it’s partner, Laura Leslie, about what #IWD2023 means to her. Laura joined the firm as a graduate and has excelled in her career to become partner at the firm. She provides valuable advice for women entering the industry, and highlights why it’s important to maintain diversity in the workforce.
Why is International Women’s Day important to you?
I always look forward to marking International Women’s Day at DSG. This year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity, which is all about providing the right tools for development, allowing everyone the best opportunity to succeed.
There’s a great deal of women at DSG, and we work to bring them the same opportunities their male counterparts enjoy. However, the push for greater equity is not one that solely rests on the shoulders of women. Men play a crucial role, and it’s great to see my colleagues support and champion women during International Women’s Day and throughout the year in an industry that lacks sufficient women in positions of leadership.
Describe your career trajectory at DSG and what three things were the key to your success?
I started my career as a graduate in 2008 with DSG and 15 years later I’m proud to be a partner in the firm.
The three things I believe have been key to my success are:
- Being proactive and putting my hand up for tasks and asking to take on more responsibility.
- Not being afraid to speak up and voice my opinions.
- Learning to balance my tasks and establish boundaries. That means learning how to say no, determining what to prioritise, and managing time efficiently.
What advice would you give to young women looking to start a career in accountancy?
There are a few pieces of advice I find myself repeating when I’m mentoring younger accountants. They’re by no means the be all and end all of having a successful career, but they’re tips that are sure to help at every stage of your progression.
- Be bold, be present, and make an impact.
- Be your own biggest supporter.
- Listen to the advice you receive from your peers.
- You won’t always know the answer, and that’s okay. Take it as an opportunity to find out and learn.
How do you feel about the future of female leaders in the accountancy industry?
Women are still underrepresented in senior roles, and I see this in many businesses and networking events in around the Liverpool City Region and beyond, but this is starting to change. If women aren’t represented in senior roles, then there are no role models for future leaders.
Being able to shape the future of the work force and to lead by example is a fundamental goal for me, and International Women’s Day offers the opportunity to highlight the progress we’ve made and the distance we’re yet to cover.
What steps can firms take to attract and retain more women, and why is this important?
For me it’s about being a proactive and agile employer. Women need a working environment that is equitable, supportive, and inclusive. Not one solution fits all, and employers need to learn to have open conversations with employees about what works best. That’s why my door is always open for anyone, and DSG encourages exchanging ideas to make sure working at the firm is enjoyable and practical for everyone.