Interview with Amanda Atherton, Partner

Taylor Root was proud to support International Women's Day 2017. We have interviewed a series of our female leaders asking them how they have been bold for change #BeBoldForChange

Taylor Root interviewed Amanda Atherton, Partner of Taylor Root in Australia.

Amanda Atherton

Tell us a little about why you were drawn to recruitment as a career and what has kept you there?
In truth, I initially fell into recruitment. Like many other Australians I went to London on a working holiday. I had experience in a sales environment and a company called Martin Ward Anderson wanted to create a financial services/contracting desk. They needed someone that was happy to have a job and pick up the phone! I went in as a general registration and came out a Recruiter.

What achievements are you most proud of to date?
The first achievement in my recruitment career was being the highest biller. Having struggled through my first year and frankly as an under performer, I knew something had to change for me to be successful so I identified some clients to grow and negotiated a six month period in which I could work with them. Fortunately through hard graft and a little luck I turned Abbey National and Deutsche Bank into key clients and was well on my way.

I’ve had the good fortune to be the highest biller again over the years at Taylor Root and I’ve always tried to aspire to be number one. I have had that crown here in Australia a couple of times, but still haven’t cracked the global mantle! Well, not yet any way.

My more recent win was being promoted to Partner. I’m especially proud to be able to pave the way and support other women within The SR Group who have these aspirations.

What has surprised you about leadership?
I do my best and it’s a work in progress, but it’s one of the greatest challenges I’ve ever had to try and master. There is no manual out there that can prepare you for what it takes to be a great leader. It can be a lonely place at times so you really need a mentor and someone you can both vent to and bounce ideas off.

What qualities do you believe are most important to be a leader?
Being a manager is hard work. It takes time, patience and dedication, but being a great leader is something you really have to work at. It is an intuitive thing that also requires courage and conviction. I believe you must lead from the front and be a great example to others. I also live by the mantra that I wouldn’t ask anyone to do something that I’m unwilling or haven’t done myself.

What is the biggest challenge facing female leaders today?
Having self-belief, being more assertive in self-promotion and celebrating wins. I think women naturally tend to be more critical of ourselves relative to our male counterparts, and if we are going to see more women in leadership roles we must be more forthright.

How did you come to think of yourself as a leader?
To be honest it was a suggestion and encouragement from a colleague to take on a management role that led me up the leadership path, otherwise I may not have given it a further thought. It only took one person to be my advocate for me to then start to see my potential. I hope that she feels like she backed the right horse!

What advice would you give your younger self about being leader?
Be your authentic self and listen to your gut, because it’s rarely if in fact ever wrong. Do the right thing and keep your integrity intact because people are relying on your stewardship and you need the support of good people to be a great leader.

What can we do to help others replicate you success?
Be a coach, mentor and lead by example. Share your stories and just be there to listen because sometimes that’s all it takes for someone to be able to push through the hard times. In recruitment you definitely need to be resilient and able to roll with the punches. Having a good laugh and some office banter on a daily basis helps too!