Celebrating IWD: Meet three remarkable women at BellchambersBarrett

Celebrating IWD: Meet three remarkable women at BellchambersBarrett

At BellchambersBarrett, we’re lucky to work alongside many brilliant women – every day.

So, as International Women’s Day 2024 approaches, we’re turning the spotlight onto three of them. Thanks to Amanda Walker, Fiona Hempstead and Yen Le for sharing their stories.

Finding firm foundations

When it comes to Amanda, Fiona and Yen’s careers, there’s only one word that applies to all: diverse.

For Amanda – a Principal at BellchambersBarrett – her start in professional services came midway through her career. 

‘I transitioned from accounting and business management roles rather recently. I was lucky to find a vibrant community at BellchambersBarrett, where my skills have flourished in internal audit and consulting, especially within the for-purpose sector.’

Audit Manager Yen had a similarly fortunate twist of fate. An accidental foray into accounting led her to a Master of Professional Accounting, then to BellchambersBarrett – where her fears of navigating a male-dominated industry were quickly allayed.

‘Initially, I was worried I’d have to adjust myself to align with traditionally ‘male’ traits to progress my career. However, I haven’t experienced any barriers because of my gender. The firm’s leaders are steadfast in their support of my career. 

‘Over the years, they’ve witnessed many of my professional and personal achievements. From getting my Australian citizenship and starting as an intern to becoming an Audit Manager and Chartered Accountant, I’ve grown a lot on this journey.’ 

More than just numbers

While the professional services sector has historically been male-dominated, women make up a large, invaluable portion of the BellchambersBarrett team.

So, what makes them stay?

For Senior Manager Fiona, a key part of her commitment to – and enjoyment of – professional services is the opportunity to make a meaningful difference to her clients and stakeholders.

‘For me, my role is about more than just numbers. It’s about building relationships, sharing and collaborating with clients, and working in a supportive team environment.’

It’s a sentiment shared by Amanda, who embraces the opportunity to give back.

‘We’re involved with people and organisations that make a real difference to Canberra’s community.

‘I can use my skills in organisation, communication and critical thinking to build rapport with people and deliver great results. I love the variety I get to experience at BellchambersBarrett.’

Overcoming the hurdles

Every career brings its own hurdles. And unfortunately, women typically face more than their fair share in the workforce. 

How have Amanda, Fiona and Yen managed to overcome their hurdles?

‘Balancing family and work commitments is an ongoing challenge. But BellchambersBarrett cares about its people and always promotes a healthy work-life balance,’ says Amanda. 

‘I’ve raised a family, and the partner-led flexible work arrangements at BellchambersBarrett have been very important,’ says Fiona. ‘It’s given me job stability and security – and enough time for my family commitments.’

‘Plus, we have a great balance of male and female leaders, which supports diversity in thought, experience, knowledge and ideas,’ adds Yen. ‘Partners are always ready to listen to our goals and problems – and do whatever they can to support us.’

Amanda agrees.

‘BellchambersBarrett thinks outside the box when it comes to recruitment. So we hire people with diverse backgrounds and experiences, which brings valuable new perspectives to the firm.’ 

Fostering inclusion at BellchambersBarrett

At BellchambersBarrett, our commitment to fostering an environment where women can thrive professionally and personally is not just a policy. It’s a lived reality.

‘BellchambersBarrett has such a supportive culture. From our formal coach and buddy system for new starters to our monthly morning tea and social club activities, there’s always something to make you feel part of the team,’ says Fiona.

This inclusive atmosphere is the best kind of feedback loop, shaped and sustained by Fiona, Yen and Amanda – among many other team members.

‘I’m proud to be a part of the team and grateful to be able to grow here. Throughout my time, I’ve learned that when you’re in a supportive environment and willing to learn, there is always room to grow,’ explains Yen.

Advice for aspiring women

As we continue to strive towards greater parity in the sector – and in the Australian workforce more broadly – it’s only right to take a pause to acknowledge how far we’ve come. And celebrate the women responsible.

‘I’ve seen many success stories of our female staff members. Thanks to them, I believe women can be successful in both their careers and personal lives,’ says Yen.

To help women achieve this success, Fiona shares some excellent advice.

‘It’s so important to know yourself, your values, and what you want out of your career – now and into the future. That way, you can navigate the ‘what if’ moments more easily.

‘And remember, every experience offers a learning opportunity that can guide your career development.’

‘That’s right,’ says Amanda. ‘The more you engage with enjoyable, challenging opportunities, the faster you’ll develop the core skills you need to succeed.’

‘No two days are the same in the professional services,’ says Yen. ‘Believe in your ability – and you can achieve your goals.’ 

Want to discover how we can support your career goals? Head to our Careers page.