Service: Human resources 

Taking the leap back into my career

15 Jul 2021

After taking a family career break, Barbara Hughes was looking for a role where she could gradually reactivate her Company Secretarial career. 

Now, in her eighth year at GE, Barbara has been able to balance time at home whilst progressing within the Firm, taking on major projects and clients. 

For our latest team story, we caught up with Barbara to learn more about her GE journey and how she has found her step back into a successful career. 

1. What is your current role?

I’m Manager of the Statutory Department – we take care of the Company Secretarial work for a lot of the Firm’s clients. 

2. What do you enjoy most about your role/GE? 

Working with my wonderful team. We’re so lucky that we work together really well, give each other lots of support and also get on – what more could you ask for?

3. Have you always wanted to work in company secretarial? If not, what motivated you on to your current career path?

To be honest (and probably like a lot of other Company Secretaries) I fell into it fairly accidentally. In my first job, they were offering day-release for anyone who wanted to undertake professional studies – and my ‘fresh-out of- University’ self quite liked the idea of a four-day week. The ICSA exams seemed like a good choice as they are really broad-based – covering law, finance, and tax as well as company secretarial practice and boardroom best practice.

4. Why did you choose GE?

I was looking to return to work after a career break with my then young children – so I approached GE with my CV – they were local and I was interested in the service sector (after a long career in industry). 

5. What do you enjoy most about working at GE?

My lovely team and the great variety of clients and work – no two days are ever the same meaning every day is a chance to learn something new. 

6. What have been your biggest challenges so far?

We’ve had to undertake some major projects during my time here – setting up new systems to deal with the PSC legislation and onboarding DTE clients were quite challenging. The last 15 months have obviously also been a challenge but as ever, having a great team by your side during a challenging period makes it so much easier!

7. What's been your biggest achievement?

Having started out working two days a week with no previous experience of working in the service sector, I’m lucky with how my career has been able to develop and progress within GE. 

8. What are your goals for the future?

Just to keep my Department running smoothly and continuing to offer a great service to all of our clients. 

9. What advice would you give others that are seeking to pursue a career in company secretarial? 

It can actually be a hugely varied career – looking after a big variety of client’s needs like we do here – or in industry, you can be involved in board and shareholder meetings, share options and employee incentives, corporate governance, and legal and Stock Exchange regulations. There’s something for everyone! 

My advice would be to get qualified and get experience - as it’s a not-so-well-heard-of career path – there are often great trainee opportunities available. If you’re a good communicator, organised and methodical – it could be just the career for you.

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