Forging inclusive work cultures

Meet two of  our team members - Charlotte Harrington and Gill Crofton - who both combine busy home lives with a career at Cortus Advisory Group.

 

Charlotte Harrington, Corporate Advisory Associate Director. Wife to Chris, mummy to Ava aged 4 and owner of three horses!

Why is I.W.D. significant to you?

After having my daughter, I became acutely aware that I was now viewed as a mother, over and above anything I had been or achieved before. Employers, recruiters, friends and family each asserted that my priorities had changed and that the career I had before (and had spent many years working towards) should now be put aside and to instead choose something less demanding, allowing more flexibility to deal with any child related issues that may occur. My husband, however, returned to work after two weeks hearing none of that same narrative. I asked all those individuals why this was the case when my husband and I had jointly made the decision to have children, but the only answer I ever heard was “they’re only young once”.

How difficult has it been juggling an M&A career with young children?

Having now worked in different financial roles since having my daughter and finally returning to M&A, I would say it is not significantly different. Yes, there are times when increased flexibility is needed, but I am fortunate to have a very supportive husband who is as much involved with childcare as I am. In my experience, time away from children to work in a less fulfilling role, feels like more of a sacrifice than working comparatively longer hours in one that is.

How important is support from your workplace in achieving this?

One of the reasons I joined Cortus was due to the genuine desire to promote a working environment that supported families. The team at Cortus gave me the flexibility to work a four-day week in addition to some working from home, allowing me to spend more time with my young daughter and less time on a commute.

What advice would you give to other women (or men) wishing to enjoy a fulfilling career without sacrificing time with their children?

For me, working a four-day week provides the right balance for our family as it helps to create a clearer barrier between work and family time. This arrangement (usually!) gives me the opportunity to be fully present in both situations rather than feeling stretched across the two. Whilst I understand that some employers are concerned about continuity around shorter working weeks, it can be successful with the right planning and processes in place.

 

Gill Crofton, Transaction Services Associate Director. Wife to Rich, mummy to Hannah and Joseph, aged 8 and 5 respectively and Treasurer for Behind Closed Doors a charity supporting victims of domestic abuse.

Why is I.W.D. significant to you?

I think it’s great that this day can be celebrated although it saddens me that in 2023 we still need to have such days to highlight inequalities within the workplace. As a white, British female born into a loving family I have been given many opportunities that others have not. To give others similar opportunities to those which were inherent for me requires a more fundamental shift in society.

How difficult has it been juggling an M&A career with young children?

The fact that I had a career break and my only work was as a Treasurer for a Charity (which I continue to do) indicates how difficult it can be and how important it is to get the family work life balance right for each individual and their family unit.

I joined Cortus in M&A when both children were at primary school. It’s a massive juggling act in trying to ensure I give them opportunities for activities to allow each of them each to develop as well allowing me to progress my career (and have time for myself) and maintain my sanity! There’s a lot of home admin, picnic teas for the kids and taxiing but it’s just another one of life’s challenges (a first world problem at that)!

How has Cortus Advisory supported you?

First and foremost by allowing me to have a term time only contract which I recognise is very unique in the private sector but is one that allows me to spend a quarter of the year with my kids. On an on-going basis it’s the flexibility; to either respond to the children’s needs (often at short notice) or to allow me to continue with my charity work at Behind Closed Doors. With trust between all parties and clear communication, it has worked well so far.

Advice for others?

Communication is key, both at work and within the family unit. I’ve supported my husband’s career and he has supported me getting back into the workplace. Having never historically needed to be involved with the school run he now regularly does it once a week and rearranges his diary when required to allow me to work in other offices, be available for meetings, work conferences and those all-important nights out, etc.

There are always choices to be made. I have made a commitment to my children, my family and my career; fortunately Cortus allows this to be done with a balance