Meet Rebecca Hemshall, finance director for AECOM’s U.K. and Ireland business, working alongside the region’s CEO to drive financial performance. She is passionate about personal growth and development and is a strong believer in encouraging people to step outside of their comfort zone to achieve their potential. She takes this passion into her work as a yoga teacher, in which she has been privileged to participate in many breakthrough moments for her students in the evolution of their practice.
What was a bold moment in the workplace for you?
Part of the role of a finance director is to ask the difficult questions around our financial performance. Sometimes I have to insert myself into monthly project reviews to get a better understanding of the financial challenges projects face and help project managers overcome them. While it can be difficult jumping into a project once work has already begun, it’s a regular and necessary part of business. As an outsider coming in, it takes being bold to dive into the process, get caught up to speed quickly and foster a shared understanding for better-informed decisions.
What motivates you to #BeBoldForChange?
Once I set a goal for myself, I’m determined to deliver it. I think this comes from my upbringing — in our family, our parents encouraged us to never give up and told us we could achieve anything we set our minds to.
Is there a person whose bold actions you admire and try to emulate?
I have a mentor and friend who is a real champion for change — she asks me all of the difficult questions I avoid asking myself and won’t let me get away without answering them! She encourages me to set specific actions and goals and then holds me accountable for delivering against them. I try to emulate this with the people I mentor. Whilst these conversations are often challenging and uncomfortable, they always crystallise the actions which result in progressing something to the next level.
How can others learn from your own experience?
It’s important for each of us to have a sense of belief and confidence in our own abilities. I think one of the best things we can do for ourselves is to remove any of the limits we unconsciously set for ourselves before we tackle any societal or organizational barriers. If we remove our own limitations, then we can really start to fulfill our true potential, overcome obstacles and accomplish things we perhaps never dreamed were possible.
I often come back to the saying: “If not now, when?” — a quote from the teachings of Baptiste yoga! In other words, don’t sit and wait to be ready; take the leap now with confidence that you are ready in this moment. Many of my bold moments have come about just after being appointed to a new role. At those times, when I thought, “I can’t do this; this is beyond my capability,” I’ve found the strength from within to challenge that belief and actively contribute and voice my opinion, reminding myself that I have a valuable contribution to make.
Where better to explore engineering opportunities than AECOM, a global organisation which is experiencing significant growth, and is actively seeking female talent to come and join them.
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