Annie Graham CA on becoming EY's youngest partner
Annie Graham CA became EY's youngest partner at the age of 29. As part the ICAS Gold Dust Career Insights Series, Annie discusses the importance of networking and what it takes to be a great leader.
She first joined EY on a summer internship in 1997 and quickly fell in love the role; from the variety of work to the clients and her colleagues. She joined the firm in 1998 and went to qualify as a CA with EY in 2002.
"I became a partner at EY at the age of 29. That’s something I’m really proud of. I didn’t have a plan to become a partner. Early on in my career, it would probably have scared me a bit. I tend to look at the past six months - what I have learned, what I have achieved - and six months ahead," explained Annie.
"My best quality is probably my energy. I have a real passion for what I do," she said. "That, together with the expertise I have as a CA, creates a really powerful combination."
What are the qualities that make a great leader?
"There are loads of qualities. To name a few: vibrancy, vision and honesty – because sometimes things go wrong. A great leader is self-aware. One of the real gems of this job, for me, is the variety of people you come into contact with. You get to see them in action and you can take the very best from what you see every day. That’s inspiring."
How important has networking been in your career?
"Networking doesn’t have to be difficult; it’s something that you actually do every day. The power of a network really begins to show as you go through your career. Networking is all about having a relationship with somebody. If you meet someone and you have a rapport, and there is something meaningful for you to catch up on, then keep in touch, meet up for a coffee or have a more formal meeting."
What’s the most exciting part of your job?
"The variety; my client portfolio ranges from small entrepreneurial start-ups to FTSE 100 multinational businesses, and all the facets in between. The individuals I work with, colleagues and clients, are highly motivated people."
"I’m currently a member of the ICAS Council and in the past, I’ve been on the Members Services Board, and the West of Scotland Area Committee.
"I want to achieve my best. I love adding value, I love coaching my team to come through the ranks and become leaders in their own right. I have never looked back: there is always something more to go for and I believe that will be the same into the future."
This Q&A is based on Annie Graham’s interview in the ICAS Gold Dust Career Insights series.