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As part of our Inclusion and Diversity series, we hear from Rachel who joined PwC in 2019 as a Virtual Assistant (VA), based in our Bristol office. Her previous career as Head of Events involved a lot of travel and upon reflection, was something she was looking to reduce as her family grew. As part of our flexible working network, Rachel’s role allows her to work remotely, with increased flexibility to ensure she has the time to spend with her two children. 

The Bristol based VA team makes time to work together from the office every two weeks, so they still maintain that face-to-face contact and build those important professional relationships. It also helps Rachel feel connected to the wider firm and take part in the social aspects of working at PwC.

“Being a Virtual Assistant is brilliant, you do so many different things and develop some great relationships with your stakeholders. I love the breadth of work that you’re able to do and I’ve been involved in organising events in and out of the office, business development proposals, as well as the more traditional aspects of diary management and expenses.”

When she’s not juggling multiple stakeholders, she’s a mum to her two adopted children, a son and daughter aged six and one. Rachel appreciates the flexibility that her role offers her and the chance to spend a lot of time with her family, whether that’s frolicking in muddy puddles, playing tennis with her friends or surfing, she’s glad she’s found a career that works for her.

Joining a big employer can sometimes feel daunting, especially if most of your time is spent working virtually, or, if you’re supporting those based in other offices. But it was the structured and supported set up of our Virtual Assistant network which reassured Rachel when she joined PwC. 

“The first few weeks of learning any role can be difficult, and at times the to-do list can feel endless, especially when there’s a lot to learn about a new organisation and how it operates. Thankfully there’s a lot of support from other VA’s and PA’s and it became evident that PwC really places emphasis on working together.

It’s one of their core values and immediately I could see why - we work as a team, collaborating and sharing perspectives and ideas and everyone listens and takes onboard feedback for personal development.”

Rachel’s also part of our SPACE (Supporting, Parents, Carers, & Everyone) network, following a life changing event a few months into starting her PwC career.

“A career move is always a big change for anyone, and having only started at PwC for two months, my husband and I found ourselves adopting a newborn baby girl. As you can imagine I was worried about how my new team would take this, but I was delighted with the support not only from my immediate VA colleagues, but also from others across PwC. I was introduced to SPACE and realised how many others at PwC had either adopted, or were new parents returning to work and juggling this new working life. 

I’d not come across a network like this before in any of my previous roles, so to have people I could immediately connect with and could relate was a massive benefit for both my husband and I as we navigated those first few months!”

It’s not a surprise that Rachel would describe her PwC career so far as exciting, extensive and supporting. 

On top of the core training Rachel’s received when she joined, she’s also taken the opportunity to upskill herself through our Digital Academy and experience how some of the newest technologies PwC has invested in, could help her and her stakeholders. Having the trust to make those decisions on what training is best for you at this stage in your career has made Rachel feel more empowered and encouraged to take on these additional learning opportunities. 

All people across PwC, no matter their role, are encouraged to upskill themselves in different technologies or programmes, as we continue to reimagine the future of our day-to-day work life.  

Rachel’s part of our Inclusion and Diversity series, and wants to encourage others to be more aware of how Inclusion can create positive change for them as individuals. 

“I’ve never felt more free to be myself than in my current role. I don’t need to pretend to be someone I’m not, or the pressure to fit into a certain mould. 

Being myself has meant that my mind has been clear to develop and learn new things, meaning that I can be more honest and open in my approach to working without the fear of judgement.

As a SPACE ambassador, I look to organise events and discussions where people are encouraged to talk openly and honestly about their experiences. I hope that this will lead to people realising they’re not alone, there are others who have a similar mindset, a similar approach and by talking and having that conversation we’ll feel better connected. 

I’ve found an incredibly supportive, flexible career where I’m empowered and trusted everyday to do my job and also put myself and my family first. I’d encourage others to look at our flexible careers if this is something you’re looking for too.”