The Fold Woman: Niamh Corbett

The Fold Woman: Niamh Corbett
May 1, 2015 The Fold
niamh corbett

Can you give us a brief bio about your career background and how it has led you to your current job?

I have been in investment banking for 8 years, working with companies ranging from early stage start-ups to global multinationals. I joined Morgan Stanley in 2009 and am currently a Vice President in their Investment Banking division in London.

What is one the greatest challenges that you have had to overcome in your career?

I think the financial crisis and its aftershocks was a huge challenge for everyone, not just people working in finance. It effectively put paid to the idea that careers are linear as it completely changed many industries and added a huge element of uncertainty into people’s working lives. But then, a lot of positive came out of it as well –it forced companies to look at their existing systems and business models and ask ‘what happened?’ and ‘what did we get so wrong?’ Without that willingness and appetite for change, something like the 30% Club might never have come about.

  Niamh Corbett

Niamh wears The Ebury dress in red and The Little jacket in black

You are a Steering Committee member of the 30% Club, which campaigns for better gender balance at all levels of UK business. Can you tell us a bit more about the organisation and your role in it?

The 30% Club launched in the UK in 2010 with an initial goal of 30% women on FTSE 100 boards by the end of 2015 – that figure is currently 23.5%, up from 12.6% when we started. The 30% Club has grown incredibly since then, and now has 19 different workstreams in the UK alone that span the complete spectrum – what we call ‘from schoolroom to boardroom’. We have also gone global and launched 30% Clubs in the US, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, Australia and Southern Africa, with more countries set to launch later this year. I sit on the Steering Committee and run the Career Strategy group, which is focused on the early-to-mid career stage.

Do you have any advice for women who want to work in traditionally male-dominated industries?

I have found that being a woman can often be an advantage as you are the one that the client remembers in a room full of men in suits – you naturally stand out!

Niamh Corbett

Niamh wears The Bloomsbury dress and jacket set

 

Has there been a particular role model or mentor who has helped you define and achieve your goals?

I think what Helena Morrissey has achieved with the 30% Club, and the way she has led it has been nothing short of extraordinary. She gave me responsibility very early on and then trusted me to run with it. It has been a very steep learning curve but one which I have hugely enjoyed.

As a woman in business, do you feel it is important for women to present themselves in a particular way for work?

I think it is important to make an effort when you dress for work, but I don’t think that there is one particular ‘way’ to dress. Presenting yourself well makes you feel more confident and shows respect for your clients. Women are lucky in that they can have so much more flexibility with what they wear, rather than just the typical male suit-and-tie uniform, and can express themselves a lot more.

Niamh Corbett

Niamh wears The Ebury dress in red and The Little jacket in black

What are some of your top tips for dressing for work?

I start work very early and so don’t have much time (or ability!) in the mornings to make decisions about what I wear. To make things easier I effectively have a work ‘uniform’ – usually a dress and heels with a blazer. If I am going to an event in the evening I will accessorise with some statement earrings or heels so that I don’t have to carry around a whole new outfit.

We understand that you have a very busy lifestyle. How do you maintain a good work/life balance?

Technology has made managing your time much easier, in that you don’t need to be physically in the office to be in contact and to be working. I think embracing technology has been the one big thing that has made a real difference to my work / life balance. I run my life from my phone (I have an app for most things!) which means everything is easily accessible and in one place.

Niamh Corbett

Niamh wears The Bloomsbury dress and jacket set

And finally, what is your favourite item from The Fold and why?

Definitely the Arlington dress (I have it in navy) – it’s simple, flattering, doesn’t wrinkle and travels well!

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