We Need More Women Leaders – Here’s How to do it 

Women working in the office

By Natasha Frangos  

Natasha Frangos shares what she has learned on her journey to becoming the first female Managing Partner of haysmacintyre. Recalling her experiences on the way to the top, Natasha shares her views on how more women can become leaders too.  

In July 2022, I had the great privilege of being elected as haysmacintyre’s first female Managing Partner in the firm’s history. Whilst I am immensely proud to be the first woman to lead haysmacintyre, it is also a tough reality to accept that it is the only instance in all the years that the firm has existed and that this is not unusual for our industry. We are, in fact, now pioneering amongst our peers in this respect.     

Of course, change does not always come quickly, and we shouldn’t ignore the progress that has been made. Since joining haysmacintyre, I have seen significant progress across the entire firm, as well as the wider industry.  We have improved the firm’s diversity metrics, including a reduced gender pay gap from 12% to 5.5% for 2023, alongside increased female representation in management. This includes 44% of the firm’s Management Team being female, alongside 39% of our women holding senior manager, director and partner titles.   

We have also introduced leading maternity and menopause policies, alongside a new maternity support group for all grades, paving the way to make it easier for other women to follow in my footsteps. 

But we cannot afford to rest on our laurels, which is why I am determined to make the most of my time as Managing Partner to continue building on our progress and spearheading further change. This responsibility is, in my view, a key part of my role because I know that the more progress we make in these areas, the more effectively we can support both our employees and our clients.  

Transparency is key 

A transparent culture throughout the firm is essential if we want to keep providing a platform for women to succeed. For instance, there are still too few conversations about the challenges of juggling motherhood and a career without a glass ceiling or glass cliff edge. It is particularly important that men are a part of this collective, societal discourse, because this isn’t just a problem for women – there are, after all, as many fathers as mothers.  

For every parent, juggling the demands of work and family life is a constantly evolving and challenging acrobatic act. There is no perfect work life balance. The reality is that parents will need to step away from their desks at times to be with their families, and jobs need to provide them with the flexibility to accommodate this. Our flexible working arrangements help support our teams with this balance, ensuring our service to clients never falters.  

Better funding for childcare from the government would be a good starting point, but we also need to see more and varied support to help parents return to work and manage their work-family life balance when they have done so. It is promising, at least, to see many large organisations setting the tone by implementing schemes such as return-to-work policies and adopting flexible working but there is still more to be done. 

The importance of visibility 

I’m a firm believer that you can’t be what you can’t see. Which is why I’m adamant that we need to increase awareness of what life is actually like for women in senior positions – both the positives and the challenges. How else will we be able to encourage young women to strive for these senior roles? 

In my own experience, as I became more senior – although I had more responsibilities – I also had more autonomy and ownership of my diary. As you become more senior your earnings increase, which can provide other options, such as being able to have some support with running home administrative tasks. Women shouldn’t feel like they need to take it all on. It’s okay to get help and we should talk more openly about this. It is intense and full on but it is also incredibly rewarding.  

I talk about my three children and my family life with my team. My colleagues always know when I am going to a school play or a sports day, and I encourage them to make time for these events too. 

These efforts shouldn’t begin and end in the office either. Community outreach is vital if we’re to continue making progress on making accountancy a more representative profession. For instance, I was delighted to speak with pupils at a school in Croydon about my career as an accountant as part of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales’ RISE initiative which runs workshops, problem-solving and teamwork skills for pupils across the country. These initiatives have a vital role to encourage girls, in particular, to be ambitious in their dreams, pursuits and decisions. 

Ultimately though, my advice for women at any stage in the career journey is to be themselves and do things their own way not worrying too much about how things have been done before. Forget the ideals of how the media, including of course social media, display what being a good mother and/or career woman looks like. There is no cookie-cutter approach to raising a family. Instead, the best advice I can offer is to do what is best for you and yours. Find your tribe who fill your cup in and out of work and keep those people close to you.  

My advice for employers, of all sizes, is that your goal should be clear: to create a progressive and supportive workplace where your employees can be themselves, in an environment, which brings out the best in them professionally and recognizes and rewards strong performance. Realising this goal isn’t going to be easy, but the rewards will more than make up for that.

About the Author

Tash FrangosNatasha Frangos is Managing Partner at the award-winning, top-20 London accountancy firm haysmacintyre. She specialises in advising ambitious, scaling businesses in the creative, media, and technology industries. Natasha was awarded Woman of the Year – Practice (National) at the Women in Accountancy and Finance Awards in 2020, Businesswoman of the Year at the Great British Businesswoman Awards in 2021, in addition to being named on the Global Empower Role Model Lists 2024 and as one of Brummell’s 30 Inspirational Women Champions of Diversity. 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here