Stories of our diverse workforce

Stories of our diverse workforce focuses on telling the stories of our firm's greatest asset: our people. By valuing the differences in each other’s stories, backgrounds and experiences, we will build a more inclusive culture where we can realise our full potential.

By 2023, we want to be the best firm at valuing diversity through inclusion. This is an ambitious challenge but we are taking significant steps to achieve it. We know there’s still more work to do and this starts with creating a culture where we value and celebrate the diversity of our people. We believe everyone has a unique story to tell, with different experiences, backgrounds and ideas. Creating a culture where it’s ok to be who you are, empowers everyone to be the best version of themselves.

Here at Grant Thornton we celebrate the fact that each of our people are unique. We’ve been curious and asked our people to open up about themselves. These stories touch on important topics such as caring for loved ones, living with disabilities and long-term conditions, sharing parental responsibility, agile working, mental health, LGBT+ and inclusion. 

We hope you enjoy the stories of our people and see that Grant Thornton is a place where you can be your true authentic self. 

"Happy to be me all of the time" by Joanne Brown
"Happy to be me all of the time" by Joanne Brown

“I think when people first meet me, they assume that I am confident and outgoing. But in fact, I’ve suffered from being shy and lacking in confidence and would never describe myself as outgoing. I use humour to my advantage, rather than trying to hide the real me. I also struggled when coming back from maternity leave the second time. It was hard to find me again. However, rather than trying to be someone else I embraced being me."

"Game of Crohn’s" by Grant Bones
"Game of Crohn’s" by Grant Bones, Treasury Assistant

I like to think of my life as one big episode of Game of Thrones, but the only enemies are Crohn’s Disease and boredom. Growing up in Manchester, my life was ordinary - that was until I was 16 and fell seriously ill. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease soon after. The next few years became really challenging as I tried to maintain a normal life.A big moment for me was when I did a parachute jump. I never thought my health would allow it. But, I did it. It was one of the most terrifying and rewarding moments in my life.

"Unique, quirky, remarkable and autistic" by Lucy Coole
"Unique, quirky, remarkable and autistic" by Lucy Coole, CRM Assistant

Throughout my life I have been told that I’m not like other people, and not always in a complimentary way. At an early age I decided not to pursue my childhood dreams of becoming an astronaut or genetic scientist for fear of either discovering an evil alien lifeform or cloning an evil lifeform. My autism means that I have to study people in order to ascertain the social norms of everyday life.

"From meetings to nappy changes" by Debbie Osu
"From meetings to nappy changes" by Debbie Osu, Recruitment Coordinator

While being a mum worried me slightly, after learning about agile working it was nice to know I could be a mum and still have a career. My two boys and my husband are the most important people in my life. After a long day at work, seeing them when I walk through the door, happy and smiling, makes all the worries I may have had disappear.

"The lioness, the witch and the closet" by Michele Edwards
"The lioness, the witch and the closet" by Michele Edwards, Resourcing Adviser

I’ve been working for Grant Thornton for almost eight years. I’ve held many different roles, from client take on to the business services group. I’ve always felt included and supported with my disability and sexuality by my colleagues and the wider business. I’ve been able to be very open from the start about who I am and who I love.

"Part-time benefits advisor, full-time dad" by Laurie Eggleston
"Part-time benefits advisor, full-time dad" by Laurie Eggleston, Senior Manager, Tax

In late 2016 I decided to take a permanent step down from full-time hours to look after my son, after taking three months of shared parental leave. I think there’s still a fear or a perception that working part-time or taking time off for your kids means you must hit the pause button on your career or even take a step back.

"Resilience: it's in the genes!" by Robert Hannah
"Resilience: it's in the genes!" by Robert Hannah, Partner

We all have challenges in our life that test our strength and resolve, but I take the view that making the most of whatever your situation will ensure you get the most out of life – don’t complain about the cards you're dealt, just use them wisely. For my wife and family, it’s been a genetic degenerative illness called Huntington’s Disease that has tested us, but I’m proud of both my sons’ resilience through it all.

"A Jolley good time" by Becca Jolley
"A Jolley good time" by Becca Jolley, Tax Associate

Having something to aspire to has always motivated me. I’m proud of what I’ve been able to achieve in my life so far. As a school leaver, you could be at a disadvantage when it comes to the interview process, since you’re competing with grads who may have been through a similar process before. It was exciting when I was selected to be the only school leaver in the corporate tax team.

"Perseverance: my journey so far" by Jessica Patel
"Perseverance: my journey so far" by Jessica Patel, Partner, Real Estate Tax

Coming from a diverse background, I feel I can connect with people from all walks of life. This is particularly important to lead a diverse team that can connect with clients, targets and intermediaries from different backgrounds. I’m passionate about making a difference. One of my biggest ambitions to become a partner was the opportunity to have bigger impact in creating an economy and society for our next generation to be proud of.

"It’s a marathon, not a sprint" by Sam Harrison
"It’s a marathon, not a sprint" by Sam Harrison, Special Project Senior Manager

I have always worked with people. From coaching sport to volunteering at Samaritans. Helping people has always been my passion. Throughout my life I’ve learnt the importance of having strong mental health. I want to continue to push the dialogue and dispel the stigma around mental wellbeing – especially in the workplace.

"Daring to succeed" by Izzi Lerwill
"Daring to succeed" by Izzi Lerwill, Public Services Advisory Executive

I’m often told I’m a very smiley and happy person. I guess what my smile hides is that I had a very difficult childhood. I’m proud of myself for daring to succeed and my resilience to overcome challenges in my life. I hope my story inspires people to be the best versions of themselves and not to be deterred by comparing themselves to others or allowing others to restrict their potential.

"It’s all about the journey, not the destination" by Paul Wilson
"It’s all about the journey, not the destination" by Paul Wilson, VAT Director

I was born in South Africa to Northern Irish parents who had emigrated there in the early 70s to avoid the ‘Troubles’. The first major step in my career was to spend my work placement year during university in New York City. Around this time my mother had terminal cancer and she hadn't been given long to live. I was going to turn down the placement offer but she told me she didn't want me to miss out on this opportunity and encouraged me to go. While it was a difficult decision at the time, I decided to move to New York and start my new journey.

"You can take the girl out of the Army…" By Caroline Bedford
"You can take the girl out of the Army…" By Caroline Bedford, People Advisory Associate Director

I spent seven years in the British Army as an officer in the Royal Artillery, serving on operational tour in Iraq in 2003 and Cyprus with the United Nations. While in the Army, at 23 years old, I lead a group of 30 soldiers, as the only girl in my troop. While no longer in the Army – as the title of my book suggests— the Army will always be an important part of who I am.