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Julia Penny’s vital lessons learned in business

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 16 Mar 2023

From losing her job straight after maternity leave to becoming President of ICAEW, Julia Penny reveals the business lessons picked up throughout her career in a CNBC interview.

ICAEW President Julia Penny has shared her most salient nuggets of careers advice in a video interview with CNBC that reveals some of the business lessons she has learned on her journey to becoming the fourth female leader of the Institute.

Penny’s career path hasn’t been without its challenges. “On the first day back off maternity leave with my first child, I was made redundant,” Penny says.

Her initial reaction after losing her position as an accountancy teacher was despair, but Penny turned to her network for ideas on how to get through the setback. “I talked with an old boss and they said, ‘You could teach students of accountancy, but as a freelance person instead.’ So I picked myself up and carried on.”

Penny firmly believes in the power of networking as a means to bring together a rich environment of experiences. The more diverse the network, the deeper the pool of perspectives you can draw from.

Commenting on ICAEW’s strategic theme of attracting talent and building diversity, Penny is passionate about ensuring that no members are held back due to a lack of opportunity. “I’m trying to make sure as much as possible that those coming behind me have more open doors than even I did.

Penny continues: “Business is about people, not about numbers, and we live in a diverse world. We might all try to be perfect but that’s not going to happen. So we need to learn from our failures as well as our successes, and we need to help others too.”

“I’m the fourth female President of ICAEW, but I’m hoping there will be many more to come,” she adds.

Watch the full CNBC interview with Julia Penny.

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