I LOVE COUNTY DURHAM >>
I do like Newcastle, and the riverscape is superb, but I’m Durham born and bred. I still live in the city, and every time I come home and see the cathedral it gives me a lift.
When people from outside the region talk about the beauty of the North East, they usually mean Northumberland, but to me there are parts of County Durham – around Barnard Castle, for example – that I think are as picturesque as anywhere in Northumberland. I love walking, and there are endless opportunities for walks in County Durham.
I also like to support local organisations and events, whether that’s as a trustee of County Durham Community Foundation or as a supporter of the Lumiere Durham Festival.
MY DAY >>
I don’t drive, so I take the train to work. A few times a week I meet with my personal trainer in Jesmond, and then head to the office.
As Office Senior Partner, my day is generally a mix of client and internal meetings. My speciality is strategic tax advice for private companies, entrepreneurs and their families, so I deal with some very interesting situations.
I don’t subscribe to the notion you have to stay late in the office, so most days I try to leave the office around 6-ish, although a couple of evenings a week I may have a client meeting or dinner, or a function to go to.
WORK IS FUN >>
This is my 25th year at Deloitte, and in that time it’s changed a lot. Originally we were based at Grey’s Monument, before moving to Gainsborough House on Grey Street. We’re now at One Trinity Gardens on Newcastle Quayside and there’s a team of more than 200 people – and it’s growing all the time. The office has a real energy about it. It’s a very collaborative ethos, and it’s fun. We’re all committed to the North East, whether we were born and bred here, moved here or stayed on after university. There’s a strong local culture.
I’M MOTIVATED BY PEOPLE >>
I’m not materialistic. I’m motivated by meeting and helping people, whether that’s clients, colleagues or people outside of work.
I get a huge amount of satisfaction from seeing people develop and reach their potential.
I’m ambitious, but I’m not competitive. I like games to be fun, and close. I don’t see much point in playing a sport, or a game, where it’s completely one-sided. That’s no fun for anyone.
BE HONEST >>
I’ve always believed it’s best to talk straight with people and to be yourself. Don’t be afraid to tell them the truth – they can usually handle it. And any advice someone gives should be gratefully received. It’s up to us to decide how we apply it.
THE IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY >>
Family, in its widest sense, is very important to me. I’m close to my extended family, but I also see the team at Deloitte as part of that ‘family’. I like to think we’re a big, close-knit group.
DON’T THINK YOU CAN’T ACHIEVE >>
I didn’t grow up wanting to be an accountant. I had a history degree and I planned to train as a teacher. One day I picked up a copy of the Chronicle and saw an ad for trainees at Touche Ross, which later became Deloitte. On a whim, I decided to apply.
Maybe it takes a leap of faith to go from an arts degree to accountancy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. In most sectors these days, people come from a broad range of backgrounds, and I think that should be fostered.
We have to encourage people to apply for the jobs they really want, and not think their background will hold them back.
In graduate interviews I’m always interested in the holiday or part-time jobs they’ve had. If someone’s worked in a restaurant or shop that often tells me more about them than their gap year in India.
THEATRE IS MY PASSION >>
People should have passions and interests outside of work.
My love of the theatre started at infants school and a trip to the Sunderland Empire to see a Pinocchio puppet show.
It’s grown to the point where I’ve become personally involved with theatres in the North East and I’ve also invested in local and West End productions. I love the sense of involvement it gives me, and seeing those productions come to life. Without that financial support, a lot of them simply wouldn’t get made.
Deloitte has developed a relationship with Northern Stage in Newcastle, and I’m really pleased with how we’re interacting with them. We don’t see it as a ‘corporate’ relationship where it’s just used for client entertaining. For example, we paid for 30 children from Cardinal Hume Catholic School to go to see their production of James & The Giant Peach last Christmas. That’s a much more satisfying way to use the relationship.
Deloitte, One Trinity Gardens, Broad Chare, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 2HF
T: 0191 261 4111
You can also follow Stephen on Twitter @sthall1