about 2 years ago by Caroline Crutchley


Astbury Marsden are proud to be supporting International Women’s Day 2018.

Caroline Crutchley who leads our Human Capital Search Team had the pleasure of interviewing Sally Riggs on how she #PressforProgress to make the journey from an Associate Director grade to Director.

Caroline placed Sally in February 2014 with EY as an HR Transformation Senior Manager in London and she is now an HR Transformation Director performing a Global Learning Transformation role.


The focus of this year IWD is #pressforprogress, how did you press for progress to gain the role you are in today?

"The things I have found important are: keeping an eye on the big picture and what I would like to achieve in my working and home life; keeping an open mind and consider all options. It's also very important to keep strong relationships with good head hunters (like Caroline at Astbury Marsden!) so you have awareness of what is going on in the market place too even if you are not actively looking for a new role.

At the end of the day, becoming a Director has been great privilege and it is through  the relationships that I have that has got me here When interviewing for senior roles, your work experience should tell a story - which demonstrates the skills and experience that are needed - and be conveyed with confidence."


What advice would you have for female Senior Mangers wanting to make Director grade in a BIG 4 consulting firm?

"Ask your HR contact for the criteria for promotion and the application details so that you can plan and prepare to be able to demonstrate that you can meet these. You'll be judged on all areas of your work, so sometimes you have to move sideways before progressing to both gain the right skills and relationships.  

Relationships are key, especially in professional services organisations and you need a strong group of leaders who will advocate for and support your application. Set aside time to share your successes with these people so they have a good understanding of your experience and ask for their advice as well. I have found that people are keen on sharing their experiences and to be part of your success as well so don’t be afraid of asking for help and support."


Director grade positions within management consulting seem to be weighted towards males; do you have any advice for how to progress in this environment without having to compromise your values and identity?

"My advice here is to be yourself; being authentic is very powerful and sustainable rather than pretending to be who you think others would like you to be which can lead you towards problems. Also, make sure that you dedicate time to establishing what your unique selling points are and focusing on what you can influence and control rather than worrying or being concerned over what is outside of this.. Take ownership over your own career and avoid being apologetic or defensive for taking control."


What do you think will be the biggest challenge for future generations of women in the workplace?

"I think innovation is really going to change roles in the next 5-10 years, and there will be many roles that don't yet exist as a result, while others will be automated. We are at the cusp of an innovation wave so being flexible and adapting to new ways of working and opportunities will be key. Additionally, we have more data than we have ever been able to have before so being numerate and analytic will continue to be key skills to bring to the workplace."


How do you personally benchmark your career progress?

"I used to benchmark against my peers, but not anymore! A better benchmark for me is whether I feel I have enough challenge and stretch in a role along with a sense of balance in my life."


Quote – Best way to press for progress..?

“Believe in yourself! Confidence breeds confidence from others. To be promoted people need to be confident in what you can do and in your potential, so you need to be clear with yourself on these too"


Globally, there has been great activism for women's rights and equality (#MeToo, #TimesUp) has this had any direct impact on you as a women in the workplace?


"Yes, I think it has made people much more aware and people are speaking about it a lot more which is a great start, but there is more work to do here. I certainly want to play my part in championing diversity and equality as these, when embraced, often bring much better solutions to problems"



Speak to Caroline Crutchley, Lead Consultant Astbury Marsden - Human Capital Search

Tel: +44 (0)20 7065 1232

Email: caroline.crutchley@astburymarsden.com

Link to Caroline Crutchley https://www.linkedin.com/in/carolinecrutchley/

Biography https://www.astburymarsden.com/consultants/caroline-crutchley