I joined the UK firm in 1995, straight after university. I spent three years working in financial services and then moved to the consumer, industrial products and services practice. My first significant leadership opportunity came in 2001, when I went to Genesis Park in the US for five months (Genesis Park is PwC's professional development programme for high-potential staff). When I came back to the UK, I had a big role on a very key client account which I held for a couple of years. I then had even bigger roles with other clients and felt I could make a real difference. I still serve these clients today.
I think it’s important for an organisation to accept that there are times for people to accelerate and decelerate. I think people should be encouraged to be open about when they do or do not want a further challenge. If you are labelled a high flier, there's constant pressure to take on special projects and contribute to work which is a compliment, but can be quite exhausting and stressful. I don’t think this is a gender issue though.
I hate the idea of positive discrimination. We need to guard against recruiting and promoting in an image, and people don’t even realise that they are doing it.
Successful women are often “the norm” — together we can change the partnership.