Meet NorSCA Vice President and BCM presenter, Yvonne Gale
We caught up with Yvonne Gale, one of the regular presenters of our quarterly BCM events – and the 2019-20 Vice President of the Northern Society of Chartered Accountants – to find out what makes her tick.
Yvonne qualified at BDO Binder Hamlyn then spent 10 years in a variety of financial management roles including roles within a start-up, a high growth business, and a turnaround. “Without knowing it at the time, this was the perfect grounding for my current role, as we see so many different financial situations in NEL investee businesses” she says.
As well as her accountancy qualification, Yvonne also holds an MBA, Doctorate in investment decision-making, a Diploma in Company Direction and several Financial Conduct Authority authorisations; “Being the CEO of a small business means I need to be multitalented and extensive CPD really helps,” says Yvonne.
In addition to being CEO of NEL Fund Managers – and her roles with NorSCA – Yvonne also advises the Emirates Development Board on their MBR Innovation Fund; “Normally this happens remotely, but I do get to go out to Dubai occasionally”.
Tell us about your job
My role is to create a positive impact on the North East economy by investing the funds we manage into growing local businesses. I get an insight into some of our amazing home-grown businesses and am lucky enough to be able to see first-hand the difference that investing in them can make.
Describe your typical weekday
If I’m not at a breakfast networking event, I aim to be in the office before 8am so that I can get my head down in the quiet hour before the phone starting ringing with businesses looking for finance. The rest of the day is usually a whirl of appointments. I probably spend – at most – less than a quarter of my working day actually at my desk.
What’s your proudest achievement?
Female CEOs in fund management are very rare, so I’m incredibly proud to represent my gender and help break down stereotypical assumptions about the role of women in investing.
How did you become one of our BCM presenters?
I have been a long-term advocate of ICAEW members engaging with the Institute and being active members of Northern Society. I sat and watched BCM being presented for many years and eventually asked Joanne Lucking if I could have a go. Shy bairns and all that…
I’m a member of the Institute of Economic Development, so I take a keen interest in how the local economy compares to other areas of the UK, and the BCM has always been one of my go-to sources of current information. Getting to explore the results in such detail when preparing for the presentations is really interesting!
Which role has thought you the most valuable lesson?
I’m still learning, so I’m not sure that I’ve yet had it yet!
What advice would you give your younger self?
When you are young it’s too easy to feel you need to be the same as everyone else. All my successes have come from daring to be different, so I would tell myself to be extraordinary.
What’s your worst habit?
I overcommit my time, so I never achieve quite as much each day as I would like to.
Tea or coffee?
Good coffee – but decaf after lunch!
Do you have any unusual hobbies?
Choral music; I sing in the Whitley Women’s Community Choir.
Are you a night owl or an early bird?
I’m up early even at weekends – which really annoys my night owl husband.