Julie Billard

Julie Billard and Nik Pratap have known each other for over 20 years. Nik and his team helped to place her in her first role in Yorkshire after relocating from Essex.

April 6, 2021
Apr 6, 2021
Women in Finance

They have worked successfully together since then in a candidate and client relationship. One of the first jobs that Pratap Partnership recruited successfully for was in Julie’s team at SVM. We will always remember this!

“Julie is a stand-out CFO and a superb role model as a Female Finance Leader – she has mastered a range of sectors, company sizes, ownership structures and been involved in a lot of change. She has always had a great reputation with her peers, superiors, and subordinates. I am really looking forward to sharing her story with our network” Nik Pratap, Managing Partner.

What brought you to a career in finance and what challenges have you faced along the way?

For as long as I can remember, I have always been driven and set myself goals. My first goal when leaving school was to become a lawyer or an accountant, so I set off on that track and have never looked back.

I can remember times when I was studying for my exams and wondering if they would ever end, but after securing my first time passes in my final exams, I knew it was all worth it.

What advice do you have for women aiming at leadership positions?

One of the best pieces of advice I was given by a dear friend and mentor was to ensure you check in with yourself as much as you do with your team. The analogy here is when you are taught about what to do if an aeroplane crashes, they say put your own oxygen on first before helping others. This is to ensure you are the best version of yourself, which in turn means you give the best support to others.

We know that a meagre 15% of FTSE 100 CFOs are women – what do you think is holding women back?

My personal view is balancing a good work life balance when you have a family. It is so much easier to climb the career ladder when you are fully focused on that goal, but when other things come into play it can divert you away and make you doubt that you can do both. I think it is strange really, because we all have so much going on in our lives each day, that we never only focus on one thing, so really this is not as alien at all.

How do we encourage more women into senior finance positions across our region?

My view is to ensure best practice in a good company is to see a balanced, diverse set of board members. This could be done by embedding it in the Corporate Governance of the organisation. I do not mean in an enforced way, but more sharing tangible evidence that balanced companies give better results. I believe diversity is the key to a successful business and that in turn would naturally lead to more women being appointed in key roles and women seeing that they can succeed with complex and competing priorities.

What do you love most about your job?

It is hard to say what I most love about my job. There are so many amazing things that I have been privileged to be involved in, so I could probably write novel! If I were to try and summarise it, then firstly, I would say my love for numbers, analytics and strategic focus have been a constant since I was a small girl and that will never change. I love that I have been so privileged to work with so many talented people over that years that have also become great friends too.

If you could give  your 21-year self a piece of advice what would it be?

I know it is philosophical, but over the years I have seen this play out in so many ways. Aristotle said, “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts”. Never underestimate the power and impact of successful teamwork.

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