To celebrate International Women’s Day, we wanted to talk to our Managing Director Julie Priestley about how her career has progressed over the years, what her favourite part of her job is and what advice she would give to other women who are wanting to excel at their career.
Tell us a bit about yourself and the beginning of your working life?
I am a farmer’s daughter; I grew up on a farm just outside of Lincoln. When I was at school, I loved driving tractors and helping out on the farm, I also enjoyed helping my mum with the business accounts which lead me to wanting to be a farm secretary. I still love working with numbers. After studying at Riseholme Agricultural College I went on to have a couple of jobs, changing every couple of years due to wanting something more challenging. I then went on to work for Lincs FM as an assistant accountant for two years before starting at DBS.
What was your first job when you arrived at DBS?
I have now been at DBS for over 18 years. My first role was Office manager where my day to day tasks included processing sales, answering the phone, doing the company accounts and other general admin duties. Unlike my previous jobs, DBS allowed me to constantly learn new skills and develop. Over the years at DBS I have learnt Pay Per Click, Graphic Design, Website Design, Management and more recently Neuro-Linguistic Programming to help improve the business. Unlike my previous jobs, I have been lucky that DBS always brings new challenges and exciting projects which means I never get bored of my role.
What do you think has helped lead to your success?
I definitely think having a strong support network from my friends and family has helped me to progress in my career. David, the founder and director of DBS has also given me a huge amount of support over the years which has helped my role at DBS grow and evolve over time from a small admin role to managing director with shares in the EOT (Employee Ownership Trusts)
What is your favourite part of your job now as Managing Director?
Working with the team is definitely the best part of the job. I enjoy helping them develop new skills. It is a huge reward for me to make a difference in their lives and as a result, we can make a difference for our clients businesses. I still do some work on the business accounts as I love numbers and it has always been an element of the job that I have enjoyed from the very beginning.
What have you learned from managers in your previous jobs?
The managers at my 3 previous job roles have been men, some were stronger managers than others. My management style has evolved a lot by picking up the things I liked from my previous managers and also noticing the things I didn’t like. I always aim to treat people as I would like to be treated myself and this is one of my core values both as a manager and director of a company.
Do you have any women that you look up to and find inspirational?
I went to see a talk from Debora Searle MBE who is a solo Atlantic rower and I was left feeling completely inspired by some of the things she said. The challenges Debra faced on her journey were both physically and mentally incredibly, it really inspired me. She spoke about how you must “choose your attitude” along with many other thought-provoking things that helped her complete her journey. I loved the talk so much I still have notes on my desk to remind me of the things she said even though it has been several years since I saw her.
What advice would you give other women who would like to excel in their career?
You are only limited by your own belief. If you want something enough, you need to believe in yourself then go out and get it.
If you have a big goal and don’t know where to start, just think of it like a marathon and break it down so that you work on each step one at a time, you will be surprised how quickly you can achieve that first mile.
I want women to have fair and equal opportunities, I believe the opportunities are there for those who are driven to go and get it.