"Perseverance: my journey so far" by Jessica Patel

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

"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. When I was growing up in Leeds, there was not a lot of diversity (this has changed since then!). Leaving Leeds was not easy, but I remember my first day in London and being amazed by the diversity of the people around me. Society expects organisations to be inclusive. This is necessary to remain competitive and be a key player in the market.”

Chapter 1: From Leeds to London

I grew up in rural village in Leeds with strong family roots. I’m super close to my two sisters and I get the best of both being in the middle. My grandparents also lived close by and were always encouraging me and my sisters to pursue a strong education as the first-generation in our family to go into higher education. Growing up in Leeds at that time, there was not a lot of diversity (Leeds has changed a lot since then!).

Leaving Leeds was not easy, mainly because I was so close to my family. It was my older sister who took the first brave step to move to London. I don’t know if I ever would have been as brave as her. However, she broke the ice and it gave me more confidence to take that same leap myself. I remember my first day in London and being amazed by the diversity of the people around me. Just taking the tube, I remember looking around and seeing and hearing so many different cultures. While I didn’t think at the time I would stay in London forever, I knew I was where I was supposed to be.

'One of my proudest moments recently was when I got that call from my people manager to say that I’d got through to partner. I’d hit a real milestone in my career.'

Chapter 2: Trainee to Partner

I joined Grant Thornton as a trainee and have never looked back. After my qualifications, I joined the real estate team when it was formed in 2006 and now am one of the 5 partners leading a fantastic team of [70]. One of my proudest moments recently was when I got that call from my people manager to say that I’d got through to partner. I’d hit a real milestone in my career. While I knew I had so much more to do, it was certainly a happy moment and I’m passionate to support others achieve their career aspirations too.

As a trainee, I wasn’t focused on making partner. I was more focused on talking to people, understanding the different opportunities at the firm and growing as a person. It wasn’t until I got to senior manager that I started to see how I could make a bigger impact as a partner. That became my ambition. My people manager has been supportive through my journey and helped me understand my true potential – he’s challenged me (still does) which I think really helps. I believe it’s very important for people to have a supportive people manager - the mentors in your career become an important part of your development.

Chapter 3: Focused on the future

Coming from a diverse background, I feel I can connect to 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 would encourage trainees to keep speaking to people. By speaking to different people from different teams and levels, it will give you a better idea about your own journey and where you may want to end up. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Keep developing yourself. Self-awareness is also really important. Self-awareness allows you to learn about strengths you may not even know you have.

I’m passionate about making a difference. I want to be part of taking our business to the next level, see substantial growth and in turn see that that capital flow back into the business. I believe for our firm to be successful, we must create an inclusive environment for people from all backgrounds. Society expects organisations to be inclusive. This is necessary to remain competitive and be a key player in the market.

Jessica's story is part of our 'Stories of our diverse workforce' where we've asked our people to open up and share their own personal story. To read more stories, follow the link below