Sunday 8 March 2020
International Women’s Day is a chance to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This feels very relevant at IASeminars where the majority of senior management roles are taken by women.
This International Women’s Day we talk to the Managing Director of IASeminars, Deborah Fyfe, about her career path and her top tips for women looking to thrive in their careers.
Q: How did you kick off your career?
Although I studied Media & Communications, I began my career in the hospitality industry. The fast pace of hotel life, the interaction with the public and the fact that no two days were ever the same were really appealing. I worked for a small, family run, independent hotel group where customer care and exacting standards were all important. Looking back, it strikes me that I was fortunate to be trained in an environment where customer comfort and well-being were placed in such high regard. That's never left me. But eventually the irregular hours that are part and parcel of hotel management lost their appeal and I decided to see what the fuss of 9-5 working was all about. Working with the same employer I got involved in marketing.
Q: How did you find the world of marketing?
I loved it, but without wanting to sound too ancient, marketing back then was quite different. To illustrate, I remember the launch of our company webpage, yes page! This was ground-breaking stuff! We did a lot of innovative postal marketing (including a memorable incident when one of our postcard campaigns earned us a rap on the knuckles from a well-known travel company…) and were amongst the first of our peers to effectively use email marketing.
Q: How did you move from the hospitality industry to international accounting standards training?
After working in hospitality for many years, I really felt that it was time for a new challenge. While searching for opportunities I came across IASeminars and never having heard of IFRS and US GAAP their vacant post started to tick a lot of boxes. IASeminars were also offering flexible hours and home working, and as a mum of two small children this sounded appealing – if slightly scary. It really did feel like the right move.
Since then I’ve worked in a number of roles in IASeminars, making the journey from Customer Services Manager to Managing Director. It’s the ultimate cliché, but there really never is a dull moment. We work with clients from all over the world, and arrange events in many countries. And we'd quickly debunk the myth that accountants are dull and boring! We meet amazing people with fascinating stories to tell. The principles of customer care and quality have never left me, and they fit exactly with the ethos of IASeminars.
I’m so fortunate to work with an exceptionally committed team who are focused on our goals.
Q: What are your top tips for women in business:
- Believe in yourself – you’ve worked hard and earned your place at the table.
- Be authentic – take time to find your own voice, and use it.
- If you fail, take a deep breath, learn from it and move on.
- Build strong partnerships – give and receive feedback, help and advice.
- Work hard but make time for yourself. Work can become all-consuming and it’s vital to do something just for you – run, do yoga, read a book; whatever works.
- Empower yourself and your colleagues – work to create a positive culture where everyone can thrive.