Diversity & Inclusion
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Sonia Gibson

ASPL #WeLead Campaign  |  Vol.

62
Sonia Gibson
Sonia loves to solve puzzles and naturally gravitate towards numbers and maths. As an entrepreneur in the accounting world, she has made a concerted move to elevate her leadership by tapping into a feminine approach. She helps clients see where conflict between the head and heart impacts decision making – going with one or the other in business means important elements are left behind.
“It is most interesting to note how successful women are at starting businesses, leading teams, and managing their family commitments. It is a testament to women’s leadership capabilities.” — Sonia Gibson

1. Tell us a little about yourself?

The accounting world has always been cryptic and mysterious to most people, but numbers are my favourite language. I love to solve puzzles and naturally gravitate towards numbers and maths. As an entrepreneur in the accounting world, I’ve made a concerted move to elevate my leadership by tapping into a feminine approach. I help clients see where conflict between the head and heart impacts decision making – going with one or the other in business means important elements are left behind. Clients typically feel more engaged with their business numbers and empowered to make positive decisions with a cohesive approach.

2. Who are the women who have inspired you the most in your life?

I have had the privilege of spending many hours talking to the late former international model, Maggi Eckardt, and the first Australian woman on the cover of an international edition of Vogue. She was the wisest of women. I commented to her one day about the impact her wisdom had on me. She laughed and said, “I am not wise; I am persistent.” Then she recounted the story of how her international modelling career began. I am a persistent person, too; perhaps that’s why we got on so well together. I feel so blessed to have known her.

3. Why do you think it’s important to increase the number of women in business, particularly in leadership roles?

The number of women in business is increasing, but not because they’re given the opportunity. It is largely due to so few realistic employment opportunities that offer the flexibility that women need to keep their families and careers afloat. By being self-employed, women find the freedom they need, and the bonus is that their salaries aren’t capped. It is most interesting to note how successful women are at starting businesses, leading teams, and managing their family commitments. It is a testament to women’s leadership capabilities.

4. How would you describe your current thinking about diversity and inclusion?

Bringing more females into leadership roles in the workplace is a passion point for me, and I also feel strongly about improving inclusion for indigenous workers and welcoming LGBTQ professionals into the workplace. As a woman who entered the workplace as a finance professional, I found it lacked opportunities that suit women. There is no flexibility in handling work schedules, there are few professional part-time work opportunities, and a sense of caring lacked from the workplace environment. Most importantly, there is not much talk about maternity leave and its impact on employers. Women miss out on jobs and promotions because they are of childbearing age, leading to a greater number of women facing this kind of discrimination. Creating a professional accounting firm that’s inclusive, supportive of working mothers, and delivers services remotely demonstrates that the industry can make these opportunities. Accounting Heart shows the industry it can change and adapt to.

5. Would you like to tell us a bit more about your thoughts/ comments?

Taking an accounting firm into a new direction regarding leadership approaches was a big move, but it was carefully calculated. The opportunities I was seeking didn’t exist, so I created them, and now they exist for other women in my team and me. My team can work as/when they need to, provided deadlines are met, and clients receive excellence in the service we deliver. Our client success stories, reviews, and client retention rates speak of our success in leading with both the head and the heart in every business decision we make.

It is most interesting to note how successful women are at starting businesses, leading teams, and managing their family commitments. It is a testament to women’s leadership capabilities.

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