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    A Q&A with managing partner – Helen Clayton

    It’s four months since Helen Clayton took over the reins from her predecessor, Jane Parry, as managing partner at PM+M.

    We thought this would be a great time to sit down with Helen and find out more about how her new role as managing partner is going, her career journey to get to this point, and plans for the future.

    You took over as managing partner on 1 October 2023 – how has your new role been going so far?

    I’m incredibly proud to take on the role and responsibility of managing partner at PM+M and is definitely something I would describe as a career high. In my role, I have no set expectations of what I might need to deal with (we couldn’t have predicted Covid!) but I know I am surrounded by a fantastic group of partners whose support I can rely on, and who I trust implicitly.

    One of my main focuses is to support everyone at the firm to become their best, the best at what they do and how they do it to ultimately reach our ambition to be the best North West firm of finance professionals.  We have a strong culture, we are ambitious and we want to enjoy what we do and who we work with.  All of these things will remain at the core of everything we do and the decisions we make.

    Your predecessor, Jane Parry, was managing partner for 8 years. Is there anything from her leadership which you are hoping to emulate?

    Jane is calm and pragmatic and is always willing to challenge in a good way – whether that’s improving on existing processes or thoughts or challenging others’ opinions or actions to ensure they’re in line with our values, our purpose and vision. She has a very quick brain and agile mind and is able to deal with this ‘in the moment’.

    What qualities do you feel you bring to the role?

    I am very relationship driven and take real pride in being part of other people’s personal and professional development.  I am also committed to my own continued development.

    I am not afraid to show my vulnerabilities, I am honest and ambitious – I hope that through each of these, I am a role model for others.  I will make decisions, but I will also consult and listen effectively to others’ views.

    I have always enjoyed work and see work and fun as being inter-twined.  Again, emulating this through the firm will focus on our value of fun and bring it to life.

    I am always looking for the small improvements and like to create a culture of change.  It doesn’t need to be significant or overnight change, but change has to happen otherwise we get bored, complacent and our business and personal achievements will suffer.

    Can you tell us a little bit about your career journey so far?

    I’ve worked in 3 firms, including PM+M.  I trained and qualified in a small firm, focused on SME (audit and accounts) and law firms.  I was very much master of my own destiny and created a significant client bank of legal firms. It’s here that I built my confidence in business development.

    I then spent ten years with Deloitte, again focused on the legal profession and larger privately owned businesses, including some large retail brands.  I progressed to director at Deloitte in 2012.

    I joined PM+M as a partner in the audit team in 2015, following my maternity leave after the birth of my daughter. I quickly took on the lead audit partner role and was instrumental in opening and growing the firm’s office in Bury, North Manchester.  It’s at this time that I recognised something that had always been inside me – the passion for people, their development and their success.

    What have you been most looking forward to in your role as managing partner?

    The unknown and the variety. Who knows what life will bring! I know I am surrounded by a group of partners that I trust, and we have each other’s backs. We thrived during the pandemic, and we will continue to thrive through whatever else comes along.

    I thrive on variety and no day being the same as the next or the one before.  It’s where I get my energy.

    What challenges do you anticipate in your leadership?

    I don’t see them as challenges – they’re opportunities for us to decide what we’re going to do with them.  If we’re fearful of change or future events, our planning won’t be effective, and we could well be paralysed in decision-making.

    PM+M is renowned for its female leadership – does this make a difference to the firm?

    I do personally see female leadership as making a difference in today’s society.  I am a solo mum and therefore working flexibly is a must.  I also hope that this demonstrates to everyone that it is possible to achieve in all areas of life.  It’s fantastic that we have a strong female demographic across our business, at all levels and in all teams.

    Our diversity, in all ways, across the firm is important and is strengthening all the time.

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