After nine years and at the age of just 29, she has recently been promoted into her first Finance Director role, now leading all aspects of finance for Big Red Industries Group in Huddersfield.
Talk us through your career journey. What have been the secret ingredients in reaching a directorship so early on in your career?
I joined Big Red when they were a start-up company. At that point, I was very much thrown in at the deep end to a sink or swim situation, and I really surprised myself with how I thrived in that environment. In my three years at Big Red there have been some really difficult times, as anyone who has been a part of a start-up will know, it can be very scary and every sale counts. Those first few tough years gave me a work ethic that I am incredibly proud of. I also learned how important a willingness to listen and take criticism can be. I’ve developed a thick skin which I think is incredibly important for a woman in my position in a very male dominated industry.
You were at Big Red for three years before being promoted to the Group FD role. How did that happen and what made you successful in being appointed?
I joined Big Red at the very beginning, a time that would have been considered, a very risky time to join any business. From that point I’ve been extremely dedicated to my role and my belief in Mike and the Big Red ethos: “Nothing is impossible, we are Big Red”. Mike has big plans for the company and I have always been right alongside him, pushing to get the company to be where he wants it to be. I think my tenacity and loyalty to the company is what made Mike and the rest of the board decide that I should be making key decisions with them.
Your current and last employers are in the construction sector. Was it a conscious decision to move into this sector? What are the main attractions to it?
My first role in the industry was purely because the right opportunity came up at the right time. Since then, I have fallen in love with the construction industry. I had times where I was spoken down to and over-looked, and it really lit a fire in my belly and gave me a drive to prove some of those people wrong.
Women have accounted for less that 20% of the FD appointments we have seen in Yorkshire over the past year. Why do you think this is?
To be completely honest, I’m not sure why this would be. I’m very conscious to avoid a ‘victim’ mindset. I do not see being a woman as a hurdle or a setback. I think that the best thing to help push more women to the top of their fields is more female role models. For women who want to ‘climb the ladder’ I think there is nothing holding them back. We’re lucky to be born into a time where women can be anything they want to be and the more we see women in these positions, the more girls and young women will be inspired to follow them.
Who have been the most important influencers in your career?
The most important influences in my career would have to be Jim Reid and Deborah Bell. They gave me my first job in finance and I received fantastic training and career growth opportunities from them. I haven’t worked directly with either of them in years but we’re still very close. Someone else who inspires me is my current boss, Mike Lomas, he is the Managing Director of Big Red. As much as it sounds like a cliché; he sees every day as an opportunity to grow the business and his work ethic and aspirations for Big Red are inspiring.
What do you love most about your job?
I love being a part of an early-stage business, my role is never the same and life is never dull at Big Red. The highs and lows are felt so much more than anywhere I have worked before. Losses are felt hard, but the big wins mean drinks in the board room that often go on later than they should! We have developed such an incredible team and I love working alongside them. My role is challenging but I love it and I wouldn’t change a thing.
Tell us about Lucy outside of work
I’m currently in the process of planning a wedding, which in the pandemic has been nothing short of a nightmare (5th time lucky we’re hoping). My partner and I have an 8-year-old cockapoo and we love taking him on long walks on a weekend. I’d see myself as a very normal woman of my age. I love holidays and nights out with family and friends. My one hidden talent is DIY - I’m not one to blow my own trumpet but I tiled my own kitchen and I reckon that a few of the lads on site could learn a thing or two from me!
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