My journey as Head of Employment Tax – Interview with Vaneeta Khurana
Tell us about your career path to date and about your journey to and within Mazars?
I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great sponsors, both women and men, in my career and this has enabled me to broaden my experiences technically and meet people in different roles. I started my career in a ‘Big 4’ Firm where I worked in tax, and then switched to audit, had a client secondment, and then finally returned to tax. I’ve continued to learn and develop in each role, making myself the best person I can be and trying to get the best out of the people I’ve worked with. This is all in between doing my exams, getting married and having two wonderful (most of the time) children!
My journey with Mazars stared nearly four years ago, and it’s helped define me as the type of leader that I’d like to be. I’ve had lots of support and encouragement along the way.
What motivates you to be an inspirational leader?
Working with positive people and having the ability to influence change and behaviours. Many of my values come from my cultural upbringing, where I was taught to treat everybody equally regardless of their differences; encourage people to come forward and speak their mind; fully commit to anything I take on, giving it the attention it deserves; and to deliver to the best of my ability. Sounds simple?
What qualities have enabled you to get you where you are today?
People I know in and outside of work tell me that I’m passionate about what I do and have a high level of ’emotional intelligence’. All I know is that I try to put myself in the shoes of others – I listen and learn from my mistakes, and aim to empower others to do their best as I try to do myself. And yes, I’m absolutely passionate about would I do, including Tax!
Over your career, who have been the people that have mentored or sponsored you? Why and how did they have an impact?
As my development needs and challenges have changed, so have my mentors. At the same time, as my career has evolved, my sponsors have also changed, opening doors and connecting me to the right people to help take me to the next level. For example, at Mazars, I’ve had the opportunity to work with the executive leadership team on a number of projects which my sponsor had facilitated – opportunities that I may never have known about!
What has been the most defining point in your career to date?
There are many – the one that stands out was when I became a fully qualified Chartered accountant. I remember feeling that I could now become a ‘proper’ advisor and really start to shape my career.
What does leadership mean to you? And what makes you a good leader?
It’s the ability to influence positive change. I still have lots to learn – but I try to be a role model in promoting good human values and behaviours and try to get the best from people.
What advice would you give to other women for progressing in this organisation/starting their careers?
I would say be confident, speak up, take control of the direction of your career, and be a role model to others.
Do you have any thoughts as to what we can do to achieve gender parity?
I have two children, a boy and a girl. I’ve tried to teach them that there are no differences in what they can achieve in life, and that we should embrace ourselves and others for our individualities – this is the next generation. In reality, in today’s society, discrimination happens and differences are not always valued. We all need to learn this skill and be inclusive – whatever the difference.
Thanks to Vaneeta for sharing her journey with us.
- Diversity & Inclusion