Wednesday, 08 August 2018 10:42

Become a Partner or a Mother? It doesn't need to be a choice!

Whilst studying Economics at Strathclyde University Business School I realised how much I enjoyed learning about how businesses grow, particularly through acquisitions. During the Milk-round event process, I noticed that Arthur Andersen was recruiting for a CA trainee in CF, which was really unusual at the time, at least in the central belt and I was able to carry out my training there.

When I qualified I moved to a small CF boutique in Glasgow before joining the newly formed Leveraged Finance team at Clydesdale Bank as a Director in 2003. The team funded buy outs and acquisitions and my role included sourcing the transactions; structuring them; undertaking the internal credit and take on procedures; and project managing the deals to completion.  After 4 years I moved into people leader roles in business banking (relationship teams) and business development. By 2012 I was really keen to get back into CF advisory. I moved to Johnston Carmichael to lead their CF activities in Glasgow and stayed there for 5 years before joining AAB as a Partner earlier this year.

Whilst all this was going on I started a family and now have 2 children, age 9 and 6.  When I returned from maternity leave after having my son, I reduced my hours to 4 days a week. This was fine for the bank, as it was understood that I would be fully flexible, contactable on my day off, and continue to be fully committed. While I still worked a lot of hours, my daily work pattern did change.  When I didn’t have an evening event to attend, I would leave the office at 5, go home and do the dinner and bedtime routine, and then start working again when the kids were asleep if need be.  The daily routine has continued to adapt as the kids have gotten older and it’s fair to say I get a lot more sleep now!

My ethos has always been to fully commit to whatever I do, and while my family comes first, I always aim to exceed client expectations.  For me that means being fully contactable and in CF, deals can move pretty fast so you have to be able to react quickly.  Sometimes that has caused challenges but I have a good support network that takes the strain when deal fever is at highest, or when I have a busy diary. My ethos has been the same since I’ve moved to AAB.  I’m generally office based 4 days a week and on kids duty on Mondays. I’ll usually do a few hours from home on Mondays and clients/colleagues can always reach me if need be.

Since joining AAB I have noticed that across the firm there is a can do attitude, lots of innovation and a willingness to embrace change, which I love. I love the dynamic nature of the firm.  I’ve already seen loads of examples of people getting on with things rather than just talking about it.  It’s clear we’re a sociable bunch too which is right up my street!  As the Edinburgh office is in its infancy, we all need to pull together as one team and I’m really looking forward to seeing the fruits of our labour. I’ve no doubt Edinburgh will be a huge success and being part of that at the outset is exciting.

Looking back, when I first started in CF in 1999 the work environment was a different place.  Part time would have been viewed as too difficult, but with technology it’s easy to be accessible everywhere. Agile and flexible working has been a big thing for me for a long while! My biggest piece of advice to anyone looking to progress would be to have a support network of family and friends who can help because there will be times when client needs don’t fit with the family routine. In this day and age, starting a family should not stifle career progression, however, having  a strong support network and a supportive employer certainly helps. I am delighted to be at AAB and that the firm has embraced my own requirements for a work/life balance which fits in with my family routine.

Lyn Calder, Corporate Finance Partner