Fostering female leadership

A picture of Palak Tewary

Ahead of the Great British Businesswoman Awards, we caught up with Palak Tewary (Executive MBA, 2010), who has been shortlisted in the Banking & Finance Businesswoman category.

Palak shares insightful information about women in business, her role at chartered certified accountants and chartered tax advisors’ firm, Price Mann, and her studies at Bayes. Find out more…

Congratulations on being shortlisted in the Banking & Finance Businesswoman category at the Great British Businesswoman Awards! Please tell us what this means to you?
I am extremely honoured to be recognised. It motivates me to keep doing what I have been and to try to make more of a difference and give back more.

We look forward to hearing the results! Why is it important to you that we celebrate the changing face of business and help to foster the next generation of female business leaders?
I believe it is extremely important to give women more of a voice when it comes to business. In my small way, I have tried to help foster female leadership – be it within my career in the UK and East Africa or through my volunteer work.

The power of education and strong work-ethic had been instilled in me through my parents and upbringing, and due to this belief and knowing that education is not easily accessible to everyone, one of the first things I did once I started earning was sponsor a girl through Plan UK.

Through Bayes, I got the opportunity to be a mentor with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women in Business, where I got to be a group mentor as well as do one-to-one mentoring with women entrepreneurs in low and middle-income countries. Knowing how hard it is to be a woman in business – this was one of the most enriching experiences of my life as I not only got to make a difference in someone’s life but also got to learn from them and enhance my own skills.

Could you tell us about your role as Associate Director of chartered certified accountants and chartered tax advisors’ firm, Price Mann? What does a typical day look like to you?
A typical day at an accounting firm can be extremely varied. Whilst my day-to-day responsibilities include running a portfolio of clients to help them with their compliance and advisory work on accounting, tax and consulting, I also work on additional projects for the firm on marketing, human resources, social media management and IT, as well as looking at systems and processes within the firm to improve them.

Where did your interest in business and finance come from?
I sort of fell into this. I loved maths as a child and on the basis that I didn’t like sciences, I took Accounts, Economics and Maths for my A-Levels. However, as I started working in this realm, I found myself enjoying this career as it appealed to my logical nature.

Why were you inspired to complete the Executive MBA at Bayes?
My father has an MBA and from watching him work as a Group Managing Director in East Africa in an international firm, I had always said I would follow in his steps. As I grew older, I had an irrefutable quest for knowledge and I pursued an Executive MBA at Bayes whilst in fulltime work.

When considering business schools, I chose Bayes as it made the entire process really seamless. The people I had met were really friendly and open. The opportunities it provided were immense, as well as its incredible positioning as one of the top three ranking universities in London.

How have the skills you developed during your studies supported you to get to this point in your career?
Studying for my Executive MBA were probably the hardest two years of my life. I was juggling work, study and life. However, my best experiences have come from those two years. Not only did I manage to learn other aspects of a business such as IT, HR, Marketing etc. but I also grew as a person to become more varied, balanced and confident. The skills attained have made my career more fulfilling and rewarding.

Did you participate in any electives during your studies or once you graduated?
I did a consultancy week in St Petersburg and a symposium in China. I haven’t attended one since I graduated but I really want to do one this year if dates work out. They were very educational experiences and I would love to repeat them.

What advice would you give to someone looking to follow in your steps?
Be authentic to your WHY. My WHY has been to leave a legacy in the lives of clients, teams and others that I meet – to make a difference for the better and everything I do has been with that in mind. I would advise anyone to find their WHY and then work towards that to achieve an enjoyable and satisfying career.

If you focus on the impact you are making and make genuine attempts to make a positive difference, rewards automatically follow. The mantra of honesty, optimism, hard work and a ‘don’t quit’ attitude have stood me in great stead throughout my career.

Thank you to Palak for sharing your studying and career journeys. Best of luck with the Great British Businesswoman Awards

Find out how you can connect with Palak