Course studied: BA (Hons) International Business and Modern Languages, 1998
Position at time of writing: Regional Lead for Scotland, PwC
Interesting fact: Claire presented an award at The Scottish Business Awards with Rob Brydon and Chris Evans
Tell us about your background
I’m originally from Fife but moved to Glasgow when I was two. I went to our local primary school and then did my senior school at Hutchesons' Grammar School in Glasgow. I did well during 5th year and got all the grades required to get into university. I was offered an unconditional place to study International Business and Modern Languages at Strathclyde.
As I was only 16, I decided to wait a year before starting university and ended up spending my 6th year at a high school in Chicago (via a student exchange programme that was arranged through my school). Having been a real ‘home bird’ this was a huge step for me as I went off for the year. It was one of the best decisions I ever made – I learned many life skills around communication, personal resilience, influencing and building relationships (I still keep in close contact with my group of friends I met during my exchange year).
I then came back from the US and started my five-year degree. I was fortunate to spend my 4th year at a French Business School in Nice and returned back to Glasgow fluent in French!
I joined PwC in Glasgow as a graduate into Global Risk Management Solutions in 1998 and after a couple of years, got a fantastic opportunity to move to California where I did a secondment with PwC San Jose and San Francisco working in our Consulting practice where I joined the Oracle technology practice."
Ever since then my itchy feet have taken me all over the world, with a highlight being the 10 years I spent in our London office where I had the opportunity to build out our Oracle business, and latterly our cyber security practice. Since being back in Scotland I have spent time working with our priority clients across our Scottish region, supporting them navigate the challenges that technology, data and cloud environments bring.
Why did you choose Strathclyde?
It was the only university which offered business with the option of two languages and had a great reputation for its business school. Plus, it meant that I could stay at home!
Do you have a highlight from your time at University?
The highlight has to be the people I met and the lifelong friendships that formed. My year in France was fantastic as I was able to visit my friends in Rome and we had many memorable weekends hanging out in Nice!
What has been your most memorable moment from your career so far?
I’ve got lots of great highlights across my career so far, such as making partner, delivering successful projects for clients and helping people in my teams develop and get promoted.
The most memorable moment so far is probably when I got the promotion to return to Scotland to lead our Scottish Assurance business in 2016, which was the team I’d left 10 years before as a Senior Manager.
In my first month, I was asked to present an award on stage at the Scottish Business Awards with Chris Evans and Rob Brydon. Leonardo DiCaprio had just been on the stage and the First Minister had handed out the previous award. I was so nervous but had no option but to get onto the stage. It was at that moment that I realised just what a great role and opportunity I had been given.
What are your ambitions for the future?
I’d love to make a tangible difference to our business in Scotland while I’m leading the practice. We have an opportunity to redefine our profile and role across our country, clarifying what our proposition to Scotland is.
I want us to be known for our technology and deep sector expertise, primarily around financial services and energy. With a clear purpose and vision, we’ll be able to attract and retain top talent across Scotland, offering them the opportunity to develop a distinctive and rewarding career.