My path from trainee to partner
Joanna Loizidou joined Gerald Edelman 15 years ago as a trainee on our graduate scheme. Over the past decade, Joanna has worked her way up the chain of management and was admitted to the partnership back in April 2020.
We sat down with Joanna to learn more about her journey to becoming partner, where she discusses how she created opportunities for herself and the path that led her to becoming a partner.
Completing my training contract
I moved to the UK from Cyprus to study for my degree in Economics and joined GE on the graduate programme in 2008. When I first joined, I wasn’t sure of the career path that I wanted to pursue, but I knew that qualifying as a Chartered Accountant would provide me with a good foundation.
As time went on, I discovered that the range of projects and clients that I worked with drove my interest in accounting, which led me to continue working within the audit department for four years after qualifying.
Challenges whilst training
The financial services industry is known to be traditionally male-dominated, and I felt that I had to prove myself more so than my male counterparts whilst I was training. I had high expectations of myself and had to commit to driving my own career and creating opportunities to reach my personal goals and achievements.
However, there’s been a noticeable shift within the industry and there has been a clear, positive change in the way that women are perceived in the workplace. At GE, we have made a concerted effort to ensure that women are given equal opportunities. Committees such as our Talent Circle support this by reviewing the recruitment and retention of our team members and I am proud to be a member, working to optimise our environment.
Moving to business services
After seven years in audit, I decided I wanted to change the direction of my career and work in a non-audit department. Having been at the firm for seven years, it was easy for me to make a switch as I knew all of the other employees and was able to meld with a new team very easily.
I was offered a promotion to Business Services Manager, which is where I began my first leadership position. It was daunting at first, but my perseverance throughout my training contract and my time in audit demonstrated to the partners that I was ready to take that next step.
Throughout my time as a Business Services Manager, I built a diverse portfolio of clients from larger property companies to SMEs and owner-managed businesses. It’s incredibly rewarding to know that you have helped clients to achieve their business aspirations – that’s what really inspires and motivates me within my role.
I also have a brilliant team that work alongside me. We all work closely together and have regular lunches and social events to strengthen our team bond, which contributes to making GE such an enjoyable place to work. The team is a great reflection of the supportive environment that we have built across the firm.
Becoming a Partner
Being admitted to the partnership has been an aspiration of mine for many years, so I am absolutely delighted to be in this position now!
I have been with the firm for over a decade and have seen first-hand the steady, organic growth path that has lead us to our strong position today.
As partner, I would like to further facilitate that positive trajectory and contribute to key decision making, which is why in 2022 I launched our female entrepreneurs network, Women In Business. The network offers a platform for our clients, contacts and staff to come together share ideas, experiences and above all celebrate their professional achievements.
I’m looking forward to seeing what the firm will look like in another ten years!
Advice to new trainees
To summarise all that I’ve learnt over the past 15 years, I would say the key to success in your career is to be confident; believe in yourself and persevere. Additionally, ensure that your role challenges you; it will help to drive your professional and personal development, and maintain motivation in the long-term.