Claire McDowell, Continuous Improvement Manager at Mearns & Company, answers some questions about her career to date and life in general.
What was your route to Mearns & Company?
I joined Mearns & Company on a three-month Women Returning to Financial Services Internship in 2018, a programme funded by the Scottish Government. I was looking to return to work having taken a four-year career break from PwC, the accountancy firm, to look after my family.
I had worked with PwC in a variety of roles since graduating from St Andrews University in 1995. Firstly, qualifying as a chartered accountant in London and latterly working in business development and account management.
What do you think is the best perk about working for Mearns & Company?
I really enjoyed the yoga class that we ran in our breakout space on Thursday lunchtimes. I’m hoping that after lockdown we could find a way to resurrect it.
What was your first job?
I worked for the local library service in my summer holidays during university, running the children’s holiday programme and providing holiday cover for the rural branches. I never knew that the older gentleman’s favourite genre were Westerns and that Danielle Steele and Catherine Cookson had the rest of the market sewn up between them!
What has been your best purchase or investment?
This may sound boring, but we have had an offset-style mortgage for over ten years. We must have saved a packet (and reduced the term) by having our savings offset the amount of the mortgage.
What has been your worst purchase or investment?
The £155 of premium bonds I was given as a child have singularly failed to make me a millionaire.
What would you do if you won the lottery?
I would love to travel more. If I won ‘big style’ I would like to set up some kind of environmental foundation and maybe try and re-wild an area of the world.
What was the last picture you took?
A photo of my finished lockdown attempt to paint a picture of my three children – sent to my family to show them that, although I have got their bodies right (top tip, use the grid technique), I am completely unable to paint faces!
To read more about Claire’s role at Mearns & Company click here.