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Meet Kirstie, the dynamo who's turning the wheels at BDO with a zest that's as infectious as it is inspiring! With a background as diverse as coaching junior school sports and managing a bike shop, she leapt into the world of professional services without missing a beat. Let's dive into her story and discover how a passion for people and a love for the game of hockey weave together to create a career that's as fulfilling as it is fun.

OK Kirstie, we're all excited to find out what your background was before joining BDO?

Well, I have quite a sporting background; at University I studied sports psychology, and fresh out of that when I graduated, I coached at a junior school in physical education. It was a really direct route into employment which was great for me to build up experience. Whilst I did that for about 3 years – and learned a lot – I found that I couldn’t really progress as I wasn’t a certified teacher.

After that I did some nanny work so I could get some more experience. The family I was looking after ran their own bike shop, and so with a bit of hard work and willingness, I eventually became manager of their store – that gave me really useful face to face customer service experience which just added to my CV.

Alongside this, I’ve always played hockey for a local club. It was there that I was in contact with a friend at BDO who suggested a role to me. I wanted a change and wanted to give myself the time to both play hockey and get more experience.

So I joined BDO in February 2022, just as we were coming out of Covid! Now, 2 years later it feels like we’re getting back to the pre-covid days of more interactions, more “normality” and human engagement.

OK then tell us why you decided to choose BDO and what makes you stay?

I really love the people! It sounds so cliché but I remember the first week I started; it was a much bigger company than what I was used to, but everyone was so friendly and welcoming, which really helped me settle in quickly.

From what I’ve seen, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been here 20 years or 5 minutes – everyone is treated so well.  Everyone is so willing to help and being a people person myself, I respected that and wanted to reflect that with everything I do.

That friendly and supportive culture really shows itself with things like the generous volunteering opportunities we have outside work. I still can’t believe that we get 10 days of volunteering over the course of the year!

The other big thing that I was impressed with at BDO was how much there is a care for the individual. You’re not just a person at work, you’re a person, full stop. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to be a mental health aider as well: everyone gets looked after.

Can you break down your role for us please?

Ultimately, we’re the heart and the cogs of the office – people will come to us with anything they need help with within the South East region. I’d even go so far as to say we work quietly behind the scenes, making sure everything works.

Great, so what opportunities for the future are you excited for at BDO?

Going back to the people and the culture – I can’t see myself wanting to leave any time soon. I’ve made so many friends here and the people and the culture are still exciting me for the future.

I’m in the process of discussing my career progression and what that looks like for me in the future including steps towards promotion and what opportunities there are to gain more experience and learn more, as well as looking at how I could move my career forward as well. 

Because I’ve not been here so long, I’m still looking to find my feet and understand what I want to do in the future but because I work so closely with the PAs, that’s always something in the back of my head to see what they do. It could be an option for me and from working with them so closely I’m learning so much already.

The people around me are just complete fountains of knowledge.

And what about your day-to-day role in the National Business Support Stream: what do you do?

So, as an Administrator,  I support 2 offices; Guildford and Gatwick. That means I’m always in between those 2 so I get to see quite a lot between them!  We're a team of award winners; Business Support Professional of the Year and Rising Star individual awards.

For me, I like being in the office every day. Given that I buzz off being around people, when I used to work from home I hated it. I love now that I get to see, talk to and engage with people on a daily basis.

My role is primarily based around facilities; that means I’m reactive and working with people. I report to the South East Facilities Manager and we work as a team for the 2 South East England offices.

My role could be anything: meeting interviewees or clients (I’m often the face of BDO!), it could be working with internal teams, or contractors who are sorting facilities issues. While I cover reception, the reality is that I can work on any manner of things. We’re the first contact you engage with when you come to BDO (new starters, visitors and more) so we really do get to see everything!

Again, using a cliché but not every day is the same because of this!

There must be some difficult bits about working in your team though?

As the office gets busier (since coming out of Covid) we’ve found ourselves getting more and more busy. Luckily, there’s enough of us around that means it’s not a real problem, and having that link between the 2 offices means that it can help with the workload.

Therefore, what do you do outside work to relax?

Hockey, hockey and more hockey – I love it! I play for a local club and having always been quite sporty, it means I get to continue that passion. Having played for the university team, I came back and have now captained the team for last 11 years.

It’s my go-to place as a 2nd family; I met my husband there 13 years ago! I play every weekend and so does he, so it means we don’t miss out on time together which is important.

Whether it’s playing, watching, volunteering or fundraising, I’m always there. It’s actually such a big commitment but I love being part of it.

So how can you fulfil that hobby alongside work?

My role as captain means I’m always liaising with teams, umpires, committees and plenty more, so there’s a lot which goes in hockey role which is very similar to my BDO role.

Playing at the weekend means I need to train during the week, but BDO has always managed to support me with that and given me the opportunity to have a good work life balance. If that means leaving early to ensure I can get ready for training, or understanding why I might be hobbling one day, I’ve always had that support!

Part of the reason I won the Rising Star award is that I found out I became ambidextrous last year when I broke my wrist and was in plaster for 3 months...but still continued to work effectively!

We also heard that you recently won a Rising Star Award...

Yeah! I feel very touched to be perfectly honest! Just to have been nominated, let alone to win something was incredible! It came as a very big surprise when it was announced as it honestly hadn’t even crossed my mind! There's me, thinking I was just doing my job, so it was great to be recognised in that way.

But it won’t change anything, I'll just continue to be me!

From the lively corridors of BDO's Guildford and Gatwick offices to the hockey fields where teamwork reigns supreme, Kirstie embodies the spirit of balance and progression. With eyes set on career progression and a heart firmly rooted in the camaraderie of her hockey family, she’s living proof that at BDO you're not just building a career, you're nurturing a lifestyle that celebrates your individuality. For Kirstie, life at BDO is anything but ordinary.