Rosie Le Gros

Leaders with Ambition - Rosie Le Gros

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​This episode of Leaders with Ambition features Rosie Le Gros, Global Business Development Director at Kennedys, who shares insights from her professional journey. Her focus and impressive track record are built on a fundamental desire to make a positive impact, even at the risk of disrupting the status quo.

Rosie walks us through her earliest career moves. Back then, she had no idea that a random junior-level marketing role would catapult her into Ernst & Young’s massive global organisation or how a decision to move into legal services would result in an acquisition that has helped to open doors for her ever since.

Rosie has held a series of transformational roles at Kennedys, prepared at every juncture by the flexibility and adaptability she learned through her early career experiences. “Every role I’ve worked in has taught me something or set me up in a better way for the next opportunity,” says Rosie.

Rosie understood early on that it was okay — even desirable — to stretch outside her comfort zone and raise her hand eagerly for every opportunity. She advises aspiring leaders constantly to be scanning the horizon for gaps to be filled, projects to be undertaken. If you don’t see an initiative? Create one on your own!

Progression up the corporate ladder doesn’t always require a change of employers. To the contrary, Rosie believes institutional knowledge can lead to fantastic niche positions based on credibility and trust among key executive stakeholders.

And being a working parent? Rosie reflects on how the experience has made her a stronger leader, and not just because the juggling requires prioritising and great time management. What she found equally clarifying was the chance to step back, look at the bigger picture of where she was in her career and what she was bringing as a leader. She is laser-focused on setting expectations and encouraging open communications among team members. As Rosie says, “You can be inspired by people all around, sideways, above and below.”

Among the tips Rosie offers for young professionals looking to move through the ranks:

  • Don’t chase titles. Chase opportunities.

  • Push yourself outside of your comfort zone.

  • Find your voice and speak up.

  • Appreciate differences of opinions.

  • Ensure your visibility. Promote your profile and share your story. No one is going to do your PR for you.

  • Be authentic. People will otherwise see straight through you

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Key takeaways:

Starting out

Instead of going to University, Rosie chose to go into the workforce to acquire real-world experience, which led ultimately to a junior marketing role that was a great fit. She combined travel with a range of positions that were challenging and engaging.

Rosie was exposed early in her career to an opportunity to manage people, taking on a job at Ernst & Young in Ireland that was out of her comfort zone — but transformational.

Rosie deliberately entered legal services, moving from EY’s massive global organisation to a much smaller firm that was ultimately acquired by Kennedys, where she has remained and enjoyed a range of opportunities.

Serial change

Rosie’s experience at EY left her well prepared to take on multiple roles, adapting to fluid circumstances as Kennedy grew and evolved.

Her orientation has always been towards making an impact, even at the risk of disrupting the status quo.

Aspiring leaders constantly need to be scanning the horizon for opportunities and ways in which to make a difference, a recipe not only for growth but also making a mark and securing promotions from within.

Institutional knowledge is powerful not only because it inspires trust but also because it enables transformation. Credibility is a critical tool that can only be cultivated over time.

The importance of having a champion

Rosie has had both amazing mentors and a lot of support over the course of her career.

If you’re not finding inspiration from your direct managers, it’s up to you to seek it elsewhere among other teams inside or outside the organisation.

A passion for learning

Study serves a purpose but Rosie believes the most valuable learning generally occurs on the job.

Rosie shares the story of how she reluctantly accepted an enlarged leadership role — somewhat under pressure — that has earned her an extended opportunity for growth and confidence building as the go to person for business development.

​About Rosie’s leadership style:

Rosie describes her style as:

  • Not necessarily super-organised on a micro level but clear about the horizon.

  • Unafraid to reset expectations, even if feathers are ruffled.

  • Communicates milestones and the why’s behind her roadmaps.

  • Relies on strong relationships for help and patience through transitions.

  • Builds clear accountability into team plans and planning, priorities and metrics.

Maternity leave

This proved to be a great opportunity for Rosie to take a step back from the day-to-day, reconsider and re-enter with clarity about where she performed best and most wanted to focus going forward.

Career highlights

  • Playing a role in projects and planning that have spurred huge growth at Kennedys, which has evolved into a healthy global organisation.

  • Being a working mum and artfully juggling two young kids without a nanny simultaneously with thriving in her job (thanks in part to sharing parenting equally with her partner).

Career Challenges

  • Stretching to take on her role as Director of Business Development when she felt underprepared (which proved not to be the case).

  • Learning how to negotiate desired outcomes at board meetings.

  • Growing globally both in terms of operations, cross-cultural communication and keeping teams knit into the overall Kennedys community.

  • Working around times when she has lacked direct line management support or people to learn from.

What’s ahead for Law firms

  • Ongoing growth in the burgeoning area of business development.

  • Continued professionalisation of services and associated new roles.

  • More emphasis on data analytics as a driver of marketing decisions and increasing automation.

Words of wisdom for aspiring leaders

  • Don’t chase titles. Chase opportunities.

  • Push yourself outside of your comfort zone.

  • Actively look for opportunities to stretch. Don’t wait to be invited.

  • If you don’t see opportunity, advance your own projects and initiatives for consideration.

  • Find your voice and speak up.

  • Challenging others — even managers — is okay. Rather than framing things negatively, it can be done through interrogation and curiosity.

  • Appreciate differences of opinions.

  • Ensure your visibility. Promote your profile and share your story. No one is going to do your PR for you.

  • Never be afraid of chance, even when daunted. It’s inevitable. Embrace it.

  • Take personal time to nurture your own well-being.

  • Be authentic. People will otherwise see straight through you.

  • Recruit for attitude and potential over all else. People want to work with people who have the right attitude.

Key quotes:

  • “I’ve always been very keen to explore and take opportunities when they’ve been presented to me.”

  • “I’m someone who quite enjoys change and challenge as well, so I wouldn’t have expected to be in the same discipline for so long but I can honestly say that I’ve loved it.”

  • “Every role I’ve worked in has taught me something or set me up in a better way for the next opportunity.”

  • “It’s part of my nature to be curious and not necessarily afraid of change … never accepting that things are the way they are because that’s how they’ve been done.”

  • “It’s only when you get to a place of credibility and trust that you can change things or influence the Partnership. People will listen to you and your view, but that takes time to develop.”

  • “I have watched people in much more junior roles and taken things from them myself … You can be inspired by people all around, sideways, above and below.”

  • “Reach out for opportunities that are going to stretch and push you. And don’t be afraid if … it’s a bit out of your comfort zone. That’s where you’re going to learn the most.”

  • “I’ve never been driven by title or status. I’ve always had career goals and wanted to be pushed and challenged, but do things that I enjoy.”

  • “For me it’s constant evolution … We’re on the way to getting to the ultimate goal or what’s next.”

  • “(Maternity leave) has made me better at what I do because it’s made me really consider how I do things and what I spend my time on.”

  • “The more you start to work with other territories — even though you often speak the same language — you sometimes don’t realize how different you are culturally.”

  • “Take a chance on things. Hunt down opportunities and create them yourself.”

  • “Make sure you you’ve found your voice and you’re heard. It’s okay to have a difference of opinion. It’s okay to challenge. I welcome that and you can do it in such a positive way.”

  • “Appreciate differences of opinion. Reflect on those. Don’t see them as a challenge but rather as a different way of coming at things.”

  • “No one is going to do your PR for you, so make sure you’re finding ways for the great things you’re doing to be told.”

  • “Make sure you’re getting your stamp on making a difference. A positive difference!”

  • “People see straight through you when you’re not being authentic. It’s far more transparent than people realize.”

  • “Don’t assume you have to be like someone else or a certain way. Be yourself, but be a supportive colleague as well.”

About Rosie:

Rosie Le Gros started her career in a number of roles both in London and Ireland with Ernst & Young. A native of New Zealand, she has worked as a Marketing Executive, Learning and Development Supervisor and Project Manager. For the past 14 years she has held a variety of key team leadership roles at Kennedys, where she is currently Global Director of Business Development.

About Nicky:

Nicky has led high performing recruitment teams for over 20 years. As the Managing Director of Ambition UK, she 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.

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

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