Emma Gill

Emma Gill

Director at Vardags

Talks about grabbing career opportunities and taking inspiration from who you work with

Picking one stand-out moment from the past, which has defined my present, is almost impossible – really, a series of events has led me to where I am today.

Nothing highlights that better for me than 2015. It was a year of immense highs and lows both personally and professionally, and it showed me that often in life the best and the worst things can happen very close to each other and make you see your world in a completely different light.

My beautiful daughter Sophie was born in January and my lovely dad died on Boxing Day. Before he died, when I’d been feeling frustrated about the lack of growth opportunities in my then role, he had assured me that soon there would be an opportunity that I wouldn’t be able to turn down.

Little did I know how right he was.

When I heard that top family law firm Vardags was expanding to Manchester, I extended a hand of friendship to managing director Catherine Thomas, offering to meet her for a coffee and introduce her to the area. I remember meeting this attractive, fiercely intelligent and funny woman and feeling instantly more confident in myself. Here was a woman that was unapologetically excellent and who clearly fought for herself and for others – who wasn’t afraid to strike out and try something bold.

It made me want to make a change, take a chance and do something different. All of a sudden, that opportunity my dad instinctively knew would happen had arrived, and I couldn’t turn it down. Within a month I’d handed in my notice at my old firm and agreed a new position with Vardags as head of their Manchester office.

Now every time I walk into our beautiful office it takes my breath away. The surroundings themselves are as inspirational as our managing director and the incredible team I spend each day with. Taking a risk in your career is terrifying – when you have established yourself in a work place, contemplating starting afresh is daunting and can seem like the least logical thing you could choose to do. If it hadn’t been for that meeting with Catherine, I would not have taken the chance, and then I wouldn’t be here, beaming every day I arrive at work.

When I look at my own experience so far, two things strike me as particularly important. Firstly, having the strength and confidence to take risks and strike out into the unknown when you know that it’s time for a change. Secondly, as a woman in an industry dominated by men, being inspired by powerful, bright, fearless women who make things happen is one of the best things you could do. I’m lucky to be surrounded by them in my current role.