Taking on opportunities and caring for people at work
Linda has spent 18 years at Pitcher Partners Newcastle and Hunter and the firm has offered her an abundance of opportunities that have shaped her career. Now, as client director, Linda focuses on putting people first – in every situation.
When Linda first started 18 years ago, the firm had a much smaller team and fewer partners. But despite the exponential growth over the years, the culture has stayed strong.
“The partners looked after their clients and people back then and it’s still the same today,” she says.
Over the years, Linda improved her technical skills and built trust with her clients which helped her move through the ranks of the firm to the senior position of client director. But Linda didn’t really have an exact career plan.
“In the beginning, I didn’t have a big master plan,” she says. “But I made sure that when opportunities came up, I said yes.”
As the firm has grown, so has Linda’s career and among the variety of projects and client work, Linda says a stint in audit really helped her analytical skills and provided a great foundation for the variety of work that was to come.
Keeping the culture strong
While the firm has grown a lot in 18 years, the culture has stayed the same and a lot of people have been with the firm for many years.
“It’s a great team environment, there are great working relationships, and everyone works together really well,” says Linda. “The people are friendly, and they’ll go out of their way to get to know you. Overall, the firm has a positive feel which means it’s nice to come to work every day.”
While there are always challenges day to day, Linda says people pull together and do the best they can to sort out any situation, whether it’s a problem faced by a client or more senior staff helping each other and the people they manage.
When asked why people stay, Linda says it’s because of the abundant career opportunities but also because people feel like they’re part of a team that cares.
“People come first,” says Linda. “If there is a conversation that needs to happen with a person that’s the most important thing to address. The experience for the client and for our people is so important.”
A day in the life
When it comes to a typical work week, Linda says that at the level of client director it’s about sharing technical knowledge, looking after clients and looking after the people she works with.
“I spend a lot of my time making sure our clients’ needs are being met and the work is getting done to a high standard,” she says. “But it’s also balancing that with meeting the needs of our people.”
Linda says one of her greatest challenges is making sure she spends her time wisely to get the most value out of the time she puts in. Despite all the juggling of priorities, Linda says one of the best parts is looking after her clients.
“I feel that I’m helping them when I can see something they didn’t see for themselves,” she says. “I enjoy talking to clients and looking after them, and I’m invested in their success. I have a great client base that are willing to take on advice and listen.”
Linda really enjoys the variety of client project work, mentoring those in her team and contributing her knowledge to the wider firm and network.
Growing a career in one firm
Over the years Linda has been offered plenty of technical training to make sure her skills and knowledge are current. When she moved into leadership roles, Linda had access to training on how to grow the business, increase client engagement and on developing a personal value proposition, all of which she found very valuable.
Linda went to the Pitcher Partners National Manager’s Conference in 2019 where managers and directors from across the six firms came together to network, connect and learn.
Linda really enjoyed the session with Georgia Murch on communication.
“Being clear with people is the kindest way to help them,” says Linda. “It goes for both the people in your team and for your clients. You get your message across and they know from the open and honest communication that you’re looking out for them.”
When it comes to growing her career, Linda has found working with mentors along the way very helpful.
“There is a wonderful culture of support at the firm,” she says. “I’ve always felt comfortable to seek out someone I trust to talk through issues and challenges.”
Linda also believes that when working at the same organisation for a long time it’s important to seek out different opinions and perspectives. Linda found this through an external networking program specifically for women.
“The firm was very supportive as I was able to conduct my mentoring sessions within work hours.”
Linda also believes that by paying attention to what’s happening around you and offering your help on projects that opportunities will come your way.
Flexible work is incredibly important to Linda so she can take care of her family as well as her clients. She works five days a week at reduced hours and has taken parental leave twice. Linda also worked part-time when her children were young.
“It’s been flexible in different ways, all of which suited the different ages and stages of my children and family,” she says.
“Flexibility is very clear here,” she continues. “It’s always been fine to go to the kids’ school events and then make up the time later. It’s built on trust – you get your work done.”
Linda says the partners set the tone and it’s not uncommon to see a partner heading off to attend a school event during work hours.
The firm has a Work From Where You Need To Be policy which supports their people to manage their work and personal commitments as they come up, reflecting the true nature of people’s lives.
To work in a firm and feel supported is one of the many reasons people stay in this caring and client-centric firm.
You can read more career stories in our Women at Pitcher Partners hub here.