Leaders with Ambition - Lorraine Gibson

Leaders with Ambition - Lorraine Gibson

Published on 18th October 2021

In this episode of Leaders with Ambition, Nicky sits down with Lorraine Gibson, the current Business Development Director, UK, US & EMEA at Herbert Smith Freehills.

They discuss the importance of bringing your authentic self to the office and working hard to achieve your career goals. Lorraine shares her experiences within the various roles she has had and talks about the importance of knowing what it is you’re striving towards.

From working for large corporate organisations to spending a few years working for herself, Lorraine gives an insight into her involvement within the Professional Services Industry. This episode is about having the opportunity to find your voice, the impact of visionary leadership and ultimately the significance of personal development.

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Key Takeaways from this episode with Lorraine Gibson

Early Career

Lorraine talks about her first role in marketing for a large organisation as a Junior Marketing Assistant in Nottingham and how she got to experience working with a diverse group of people within the company. This preceded her very first role as a PA for an architectural practice.

Lorraine had her sights set on moving to London to pursue her career in marketing, landing the position of Marketing Assistant for the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange

‘As I developed in that role and became more confident, I knew I wanted to progress my career’

In the Professional Services industry for over 20 years

Lorraine later moved to KPMG Corporate Finance, inspired by the visionary leadership of John Griffith Jones. She expresses how unusual it was to see someone with such a strong vision of what that division could do and what it could become. Visionary leadership is an important aspect for Lorraine when looking for a role.

‘I had a little black book and I wrote in that book seventeen things that I wanted from my next role’

A true and visionary leadership was one of these things.

Transitioning to Business Development roles

Throughout her Professional Services career, all her roles have been in corporate or corporate finance and her fascination with such a dynamic area, is what she says has kept her there.

Learning curve from an international opportunity

Lorraine was offered the chance to work in the Netherlands and loved the idea of working outside of the UK. However the hurdle of a budget meant it didn’t come to fruition. By writing an email expressing her bitter disappointment, she learnt;

‘how you can turn that disappointment into the positive rather than a strongly worded email that doesn’t land well’

Making the transition from Accountancy to Law

Working for the Global Multinational Law Firm, Eversheds, and experiencing BD and marketing within law firms, Lorraine shares how this was an interesting balance and step to compliment the accountancy firm experience she already had.

Driving the London office and the corporate practice, she reflects on this being the most challenging role she has had to date.

Life coach and working for herself

Seeking the expertise of a life coach who talked through not just her career but also took a holistic view of her world, Lorraine reflected on what’s important to her and what drives her. After six sessions, the confidence in the network she had made in London persuaded her to work for herself for five and a half years – a refreshing change.

Back to the corporate world

Lorraine then joined DLA Piper Global Law Firm which was an enticing position, working with a great team of BD professionals.

Diversity and Inclusion

Now at Herbert Smith Freehills working for an international firm with a team to lead but also sitting with the UK exec and EMEA exec has presented her with the opportunity to find her voice.

This is an environment which allows her views and observations to be heard regarding what the firm should be doing to advance in this space.

The importance of working hard and asking for support

Lorraine shares her advice to always work hard and not be afraid to ask for support. Looking for role models, visionary leaders and taking the time to invest in yourself is key.

Key quotes from this episode:

  • ‘It’s important to have that anchor, something you can buy into and know what your purpose is, what you’re striving for.’

  • ‘If you don’t have that interest in business, professional services is not going to be your world.’

  • ‘It’s so important to just have a check in with yourself.’

  • ‘I immediately dived in to looking at roles and then I stopped myself, I thought, 'no I don’t want to start looking at roles, I need to focus on what I want from my next role.’

  • ‘I sat and thought about, what was it I enjoyed from my previous roles and how can I find that in the next role? But also the important thing for me is the development and the stretch.’

  • ‘I thoroughly enjoy watching people develop their careers and finding any way to motivate or help, support or inspire them.’

  • ‘I worked hard and I continued to work hard in every single role that I’ve had.’

  • ‘Set your sights on what it is you ultimately want to achieve.’

About Lorraine Gibson

Lorraine is a confident and energetic strategic business development leader with extensive professional services experience operating at partner and board level.

With 20 years of experience in international firms advising business leaders on strategic issues and operational effectiveness, Lorraine is commercially astute and quick to understand business priorities that inform the strategic direction of business groups and drive key deliverables. Additionally, she has managed multiple new, fledgling and established client relationships and conducted in-person client reviews over the past 15 years.

Lorraine is passionate about team leadership and has a particular interest in developing and training individuals that strive for excellence in a high performance environment.

About the host:

Nicky Acuna Ocana has led high performing recruitment teams for over 20 years. As the Managing Director of Ambition UK, she currently leads a team of highly-skilled recruitment consultants who are experts in their niche specialist areas. With an extensive network of senior and board-level contacts, she is also heavily involved in Executive Search, focusing on Director level appointments across Business Services for a range of Professional Services firms.

If you're a Leader with Ambition from a professional services firm and would like to feature as a guest in a future podcast, please email:marketing@ambition.co.uk.

Listen to more episodes of the Leaders with Ambition podcast here >