Being admitted to the KPMG Partnership at 31 isn't unheard of, but it certainly isn't common- Steph Loadsman
IN THE NEWS:
Where were you raised and who or what influenced your career from a young age?
I was born and raised in Maitland. I would have to say my parents were the largest influence on my career from a young age. I was the first in my family to go to uni however seeing their tireless hard work shaped how I applied myself to studies and work.
Why did you choose to do a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) at the University of Newcastle?
At school I really enjoyed Business Studies and Economics which drove me into a Bachelor of Commerce. Ultimately I wanted to stay local and sought out UoN to complete my study.
What was your first job after graduating and what were your first impressions of the industry?
I was very fortunate to start a traineeship at PwC 6 months into my degree which gave me vital real-world experience alongside my studies. When I commenced work the industry was very different to what it is today. It was quite manual and reactive. It's been great to be part of the evolution of the industry particularly with respect to technology and use of artificial intelligence and automation allowing teams to spend less time behind a screen and more time with clients.
How did you come to start at KPMG and what was your initial role?
I started at KPMG Newcastle as a Director leading the private business tax and accounting practice. When KPMG decided to open an office in Newcastle it was exactly the challenge I was looking for; establishing a global business in a region I am so passionate about.
You have just been made a Partner at the age of 31. Is that standard in your industry; if not, how did you manage to achieve this?
Being admitted to the KPMG Partnership at 31 isn't unheard of, but it certainly isn't common. I have been very lucky to be presented with amazing opportunities locally, nationally and internationally throughout my career which I've grabbed with both hands. By doing so I have been able to develop a broad and deep technical skillset allowing me to progress quickly in my career. There certainly isn't a silver bullet for success, however for me, seeking out opportunities combined with a willingness to put in the hard yards have underpinned my approach.
What were the biggest hurdles you faced arriving at the point you are now?
I would say the biggest hurdle I have faced is the ever-elusive work life balance. I am very cognisant of being a present parent and spouse whilst still working hard to achieve my professional goals. It's something I'm still working on and am sure it will be part of my journey all throughout my career.
What is your area of expertise, and what does your daily role look like?
My area of expertise is tax, accounting and advisory services for privately owned businesses and multinationals. No two days in my role are ever the same which is why I love it. I spend most of my time with my clients working with them to solve critical business problems and mentoring my team.
How did the arrival of COVID-19 change your role?
The start of the pandemic presented a lot of different challenges for all of us. I had just announced I was expecting my first baby, some of my clients businesses were thriving, some were struggling and none of us were sure what the following months (and years) would look like. What COVID-19 did emphasise was the ability to service clients and build strong relationships virtually and that you could live somewhere yet get exposure to national and international opportunities. I must say though that I'm certainly enjoying being back to mostly face-to-face meetings.
What would be your advice to women working in your industry who aspire to succeed?
Be courageous and bring your whole self to any role that you step into.
Do you believe mentors are important?
I believe mentors are absolutely critical for success; and I have been fortunate to have great mentors in my career and life. Mentors challenge you, support you and bring a diversity of thought which I have found instrumental to being a well-rounded individual and business advisor.
Over the years there has been a "brain drain" from Newcastle when graduates leave to have broader options. Do you think Newcastle offers more these days than it has in the past, so that our Hunter talent might stay?
Newcastle and the Hunter more broadly definitely offers more than it ever has before, regardless of industry.
We are seeing a noticeable shift of people coming to the region and able to achieve lifestyle and world class work experiences.
I do believe there is a role that local businesses need to play to continue to demonstrate to graduates and school leavers the career opportunities that are present here.
What are your career aspirations in the next few years?
Over the next few years my focus will be continuing to grow the KPMG Newcastle office and create even more employment opportunities for people in the region and achieve great outcomes for our clients.
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