Just a Minute: Joanne Brown Head of Public Sector Assurance Scotland at Grant Thornton

Joanne Brown
Joanne Brown

Our current series of Just A Minute profiles continues with Joanne Brown, Head of Public Sector Assurance Scotland at Grant Thornton


Why did you choose to work in the finance sector and how and did you get started in the industry?

I did a politics and geography degree and was really interested in the workings of the public sector, and knew I didn’t want to be a politician. I applied to the PwC graduate training scheme in 2000 so I could get as broad an experience as possible and the additional qualification.


Who or what has been the greatest professional influence in your life?

I learn something new or different from everyone I meet, and have been inspired by so many people over my professional career particularly in relationship to leadership, personal drive and motivation, and ability to continue to think differently despite the constraints across the public sector.


Your best and worst professional experience?

My best professional experience was having the opportunity to head up the Public Sector Team for Grant Thornton in Scotland. The worst I wouldn’t like to mention, but you’ve got to take the positives from all situations and learn!


What’s the best advice you received, either personal or professional?

Be true to yourself, both in a professional and personal perspective.


What do you like most and least about your job?

I love talking to people about what is happening across their organisation, the sector, and the future opportunities and challenges. I least like the admin (who does!)


What advice would you give to anyone considering a career in finance?

It is an excellent platform to get a range of experience, across differing sectors and gives you a great insight into all parts of an organisation.


What you would most like to change in the industry?

I would like there to be greater recognition of all the great work done across the public sector – which other organisations manage a diverse range of services and complex stakeholders against a climate of substantial financial reductions for example £120 million over 3 years? That is a significant savings target! We should also support the public sector to take greater measured risks, and embrace the innovation/differing approach rather than oversell what has gone wrong.


Are you pessimistic or optimistic about the economic outlook in the wake of June’s Brexit vote?

I am a glass half full person so you’ve got to look for the opportunities in everything.


Which social media sites do you use?

Linkedin, but I do need to get into Twitter, even if just to keep up with celebrity gossip!


What are your hobbies and interests outside of the office?

Spending time with my family and relaxing.


What job would you want to do if you were not in finance?

A researcher for Andrew Marr or the host of Strictly Come Dancing!


What is your favourite holiday destination?

Anywhere hot and sunny.


To take part in our Just a Minute feature, please contact us at newsdesk@scottishnews.com

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