InsightsSix questions in 60 seconds - Brachers - POSTED: December 8 2020
60 seconds with… Tom Hall
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In our latest ‘60 seconds with…’ interview, we chat to Brachers Chief Operating Officer Tom Hall. Tom works alongside Brachers Managing Partner Joanna Worby and the board to achieve the firm’s strategic initiatives to help drive growth and change.
How long have you worked at Brachers?
I joined Brachers a little over a year and a half ago, in July 2019. I remember it well coming from air conditioned offices in London to the very hot top floor of Brachers’ Ashmore House office in the blazing summer sun (but I loved it!). It was great to finally make the move from London to something closer to home and begin to broaden my career outside of a finance team.
What made you get into law?
I was always interested in computing, accounting and boats. My first job at 16 was in a small company manufacturing underwater lights for super yachts; and then before, during and after university I worked for Lloyds and Barclays banks.
I had never seen myself moving out of the banking sector. This had included a move to Manchester where I started my accounting career on the Finance Graduate Scheme for Barclays Bank, and then to India for 18 months. Having been brought up abroad (Turkey and Thailand) I had always seen my adult live outside of the UK, and the banks offered me that career path.
When my daughter arrived unexpectedly I curtailed my travels and went contracting with Lloyds Bank where a number of my colleagues from Barclays had moved too. By accident one of these colleagues got a top finance job with Eversheds-Sutherland.
So ultimately I fell into law by accident over a conversation in a coffee shop with an ex-colleague from Lloyds Bank who was then the Head of Finance for Eversheds-Sutherland. He felt I would be a good fit for the firm. For me it was a fantastic opportunity to broaden my skill-set and gain more commercial experience, and I have not looked back since.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Talk to people. Your network is key to success and teamwork is the most important element of your career. It’s not always what you know, but who you know, and how much trust they put into you.
It’s always really important to do the best you can, talk about your strengths and weaknesses with someone you trust and build on those conversations.
The funny thing is that my role with Brachers is the only job in my career I actually interviewed for and accepted, to this point in my career it had always been my ‘network’.
What’s been the top highlight of your career so far?
Three people have made my career to date and I will be ever grateful to them.
First, it was meeting a Finance Director of Barclays on a plane, whilst on a placement year from university with Lloyds Bank. We were both commuting to Manchester and I had Lloyds paperwork and he had Barclays paperwork. On that plane trip conversation went from being a polite chat to a full blown job ‘interview’ (if I can call it that), and it was this that set my career after university.
Secondly was meeting a manager who trusted me implicitly and taught me how to interpret numbers and see the story they are telling.
Lastly, was when I went to Hong Kong to take up my first senior Head of Finance position. No one knew I was coming (it was all a bit secret squirrel and last minute – I had left London to go on holiday to the Czech Republic and I never went back. Arriving back in the UK from my holiday I got straight on a plane with the Financial Director of Eversheds to Hong Kong, with my family following a few months later). I had not met or even spoken to the Hong Kong Managing Partner at this point. On the plane I was briefed about my new job and told for hours how ‘scary’ the Managing Partner was, and how important first impressions were to him. Two years later we had formed a strong personal and working relationship, and ‘tag-teaming’, we had managed to turn the business around.
Sum up working at Brachers in three words
Family, innovative, brave.
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