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Life, Opportunity and Flexible Working.

Life, Opportunity and Flexible Working.

5 minutes with Heidi Thompson, Fiduchi Executive Director for Private Clients.

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Marine & Aviation Blog

Heidi Thompson, our Executive Director is a mother of two, enjoys extreme activities and sits on Fiduchi’s male dominated board. After successfully leading our largest client facing team through the pandemic, she has certainly had a busy year. In June 2020 she completed the CISI Islamic Finance Qualification to add to her First Class Honours Degree in Management with Trust and Estate. She followed this up by recently completing the STEP Advanced Certificates in Advising the Family Business and Family Business Governance to add to her growing list of professional qualifications.

Heidi’s Private Client Team has continued to grow reflecting another fantastic year of leadership whilst still finding time for exercise, work life balance and is always available when needed.

How does she do it?

In a rare moment of quiet, Heidi shares experiences from her career, the challenges and the highlights.

"It’s been a challenging year for sure and like most people it has brought with it highs and lows, and on occasion made me ponder the meaning of life!  As is typical for me, a pragmatic approach dominated the way I have navigated these times. I have focussed on challenges within my control whilst not allowing the demands beyond that to overwhelm or distract me.  At Fiduchi we have succeeded by empowering the team, having a positive approach, quickly adapting to the new environment and embracing advanced technology. This approach has allowed us to work “Business as Usual” from a client perspective, whilst balancing the competing distractions of home schooling, pets, caring responsibilities, worries and concerns and of course those increasingly important Amazon deliveries at the most awkward of moments!"

Have you always wanted to be a leader?

"After 15 years at HSBC, raising two girls to UNI age and reaching 40 in one piece I decided to use my experience in management to explore my natural propensity for leadership to make the move. Whilst I have always worked directly with clients and will continue to do so, seeing employees empowered, striving to build their own career and building an open and inclusive culture is an area I very much enjoy and was keen to explore."

It’s been an unprecedented year, how do you find time for work life balance?

"The landscape has certainly been different, particularly without the option to travel. Whilst overall my working day gradually extended to support the team, taking breaks at less conventional times for a quick swim at high tide was certainly a bonus giving time to refresh and refocus. I know it has been said before but recognising how lucky we are to be in Jersey, exploring the island, taking time to walk and read has all added value to my day. Studying has been a healthy diversion and looking at the summer ahead now, I’m pleased that it is completed…. I think a break for 2021 is deserved and who knows what 2022 will bring!"

How does Fiduchi support your development and leadership goals?

"Joining Fiduchi was a calculated move and a leap of faith all in one. Moving from HSBC and the comforts that a plc offers to an Independent Group is a bold move. The Business gave me time to consider my options, showed faith in me when I was weighing up the pros and cons of such a big change and then offered me an opportunity I couldn’t resist. I was recruited as Associate Director with a clear promotion plan which allowed me to get to know Fiduchi, our people and our clients before taking a seat in the board room. One of the things I enjoy most about working here is being able to offer that opportunity to develop to others.

It has been a challenge at intervals but overall a rewarding experience and over time, I have influenced the business positively. I’ve had the full support of the Shareholders for two years and now have the autonomy to lead my team, my way."

Hot topic at the moment. Are you a flexible working fan?

Flexible working is definitely a theme of the moment, however whether we mean “flexible working” or simply “working from home” these are two very different things.  Flexible working has, and always will be required to accommodate both work/life balance for our people and the needs of our clients across different time zones and more so as the world gets smaller.  Working from home is a new reality for many and is now, and will continue to be, considered the norm rather than an exception.  We’ll wait to see if the mass exit from office space predicted by businesses over the past 12 month comes to fruition .Certainly there is a desire for more flexibility in the workplace. Equally, experience has taught me our people  like to “leave the office” after a day’s work allowing them to switch off and simply because of the human need to “belong”, many miss the spirit of the office and being part of the “office family”, we may therefore see a split working environment continue.  I’m proud to work in a team where we can offer flexibility in the work place.

If you could give one piece of advice to other women in the industry, what would that be?

"One piece of advice I received many years ago has stuck with me throughout and made me tackle challenges I never thought I could deal with both in life and business, ultimately bringing me to the position I am in today:

Susan Jeffers - “feel the fear and do it anyway”

"Life throws challenges at you both personally and at work, yes they are daunting but know that there will be an end to that challenge at some point. Be brave and go for it head on. I remember a time in my early career when I was faced with a meeting that terrified me. Drawing on this advice I acknowledged the fear, checked the time that the meeting was planned to end and decided to reward myself with something (chocolate) I would enjoy at the end of it. This acceptance of fear gave me the confidence to speak up, be seen, add value and deliver. That experience has seen me through many similar times throughout my career. Do not be told what you can or cannot do, the only person limiting your ability to attain your goals no matter how big or small is you."

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