Tracey Sullivan of Grant Thornton is smiling into the camera in a corporate office setting.
Tracey Sullivan. Image: Grant Thornton

‘Career progression in a professional services firm requires grit’

5 May 2020

Tracey Sullivan, audit and assurance partner at Grant Thornton, discusses her career path and the value of mentors.

Tracey Sullivan is an audit and assurance partner at Grant Thornton in Dublin, a role that sees her engage with both local and global clients across a range of industries, from tourism to technology.

Following the publication of Grant Thornton’s Women in Business report earlier this year, we spoke to Sullivan to learn more about her own career path. She described the important role mentors have played throughout her working life and why she looks up to Michelle Obama.

‘Mentoring is key to success, however it is important to recognise that males and females often need to be mentored differently’

What does your role at Grant Thornton involve?

I am a newly appointed partner in Grant Thornton’s audit and assurance department, and I am also the firm’s hospitality and tourism industry leader.

I am responsible for a portfolio of clients from various sectors including hospitality and tourism, retail, technology, professional services and recruitment. I provide audit and accountancy to a broad range of indigenous and international clients.

Has your career path been straightforward?

Career progression in a large professional services firm is challenging and requires grit and determination, but also good support mechanisms.

I was extremely lucky to have several strong male mentors that have assisted me along my career journey and continue to do so in my partner role.

Is there anything you would tell your younger self, if you could?

To believe in myself and my own potential. To have the confidence to know that I can achieve my ambitions.

What’s the importance of conducting and publishing research such as Grant Thornton’s Women in Business report?

The Women in Business report, I believe, is important as it provides key statistics that we can measure and continue to improve on. It also provides insights into initiatives that are having a positive impact.

Was there any resource that helped you in your career path, or do you wish there was one?

I was fortunate to have strong male mentors who supported me and pushed me to achieve my ambitions at times when I didn’t always believe I could achieve them myself.

Do you have any thoughts on how we can encourage companies to be more inclusive?

I believe mentoring is key to success, however it is important to recognise that males and females often need to be mentored differently. It is important that companies adequately train mentors in this regard, ensuring that they become more effective mentors.

Are there any women you greatly admire in particular?

Michelle Obama is a strong female leader who I would admire. She is inspiring and encourages people to work hard and that success will follow.

Do you have any resources that you’d recommend for other women in business?

Personally, it is the constant mentor catch-ups. I would strongly recommend this as a tool to develop your career.

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