Deborah Somorin is a Senior Associate at PwC. Deborah completed an Accounting and Finance degree in DCU in 2014. She then went on to complete a Masters in Accounting in DCU in 2015 which helped earn her a place at PwC. She is a qualified chartered accountant and she recently began sharing her story to help change the stigma attached with youth homelessness. She has also recently founded Empower the Family her not for profit company which will open student accommodation with affordable quality childcare for lone parents between 18-23 in third level education. Deborah is also a board member on the board of directors for Chartered Accountants Support which supports members and students of Chartered Accountants Ireland.
Can leadership be taught? If so, how?
Yes, I believe leadership can be taught through effective and honest mentorship.
What do you think is the difference between management and leadership?
Leadership inspires, supports and encourages people to do the best that can be done. Management ensures the job gets done.
The world around us is changing faster than at any time in human history and we need more leaders to emerge. How do we make this happen?
Echoing the above through more effective and specifically honest mentorship. I would not be the woman I am today if I did not have mentors who gave me honest feedback and gave me advice on how to do the best that can be done.
What is the one mistake you witness leaders making more frequently than others?
I read an article recently by one of the heads of a large tech company. The final sentence was how silence is the enemy of effective leadership and I could not have agreed more. If you have a roundtable meeting and ask questions that people are scared to share their opinions at for fear they will look stupid or it won’t be listened to etc. that’s a huge indicator in my opinion of ineffective leadership. The silence is something I believe leaders mistake for respect and as a result, don’t see it as an issue. Really it’s a huge warning sign you need more coaching or mentoring on being an effective leader.
What advice would you give to someone dealing with a high-pressure situation in their life or work?
- You need meditation in your life. If I’m having a really stressful day at work, on my break I’ll head to the quiet room at work, get my headphones, put on a meditation session and take 10 minutes to literally just get some headspace.
- You need an affirmation to be able to do the above. So the thing is when you are under a lot of stress it just feels like you have too much to do with not enough time to get it done. Which means things like exercise or meditation go out the window because of a perception you have no time. My favourite affirmation is “no one is going to die”. If I need to take 10 minutes to meditate so I have a more productive day “no one is going to die”.
- A support network with allies is key. You find those networks by networking and finding more people that are similar to you in some way, for example, all having high pressured lives/work. You understand what you are all going through and support each other when times get tough. Not to be someone’s agony aunt but just to be able to get advice from people in a similar situation on how they dealt with it.
What are a few resources (books, blogs, podcasts, courses etc) you would recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader?
- Get a career coach – I’ve been seeing Barbara Patton from Presta for a few months and I swear by her ability to develop my confidence in my capabilities. She also helped me to figure out what I wanted to do in my career by giving me the tools to think clearly about what I actually wanted out of life. (You can read more about her here – https://www.praesta.ie/executive-coaches/barbara-patton/)
- On our first meeting, Barbara brought me this book called “Playing Big” by Tara Mohr. I strongly recommend this to women who need that push to seek leadership roles and want to develop their confidence in their leadership abilities.