Meet Rebecca Cohen - Partner at PwC

CDP: Being a partner at PwC is no mean feat, what were the steps which led you to partner?

R: As a Partner at PwC, as well as having a strong technical competency, I think you need to be agile and take opportunities – sometimes without knowing where the opportunity will lead you.  I’ve always tried to take every opportunity put in front of me – even when that felt challenging.

One of those opportunities was the chance to move from Perth to Sydney in 2010, which really helped me to grow both personally and professionally, and kick started my path to Partnership. I found it energising to build new networks and establish strong client relationships in a new market, and ended up working on some really iconic accounts and transactions, which set me up for Partnership.

CDP: You have spent the last 12 years as a provider of tax advice to clients. What does an average day look like for you?

R: It sounds a bit cliché but I never really have an average day.  My diary can change really quickly depending what my clients need, and also the teams I work with. I spend a lot of time working directly with clients on client matters – the more time at their offices the better. I also spend a lot of time working alongside my team, including coaching and developing them, which is important in building a pipeline of great talent.  One thing is consistent, I spend very little time working on my own – teaming and collaboration is a key part of every day.

CDP: Looking back, what advice would you give to your younger self starting out?

R: I think if you love what you do, you are better at it.  So I would tell myself to think about what a good day looks like, and to then unpick what it is about that day that I enjoyed, and look at how I could replicate it.  It took me a while to work that out!  Also don’t wait for permission to make a change in your life.

CDP: You describe yourself as a food and yoga lover. Tell us how food and yoga impacts your life?

R: Food is delicious – and I really enjoy trying new restaurants.

Yoga helps balance out what might be described as a restaurant lifestyle, but more importantly helps me to manage stress.  It’s an hour of my day where I don’t think about work, and do something that is just for me.

CDP: Favourite cuisine?

R: I can’t pick one.

CDP: Next career goal?

R: I think it would be really rewarding to see some of the amazing team members I work with become Partners at PwC.

CDP: Diversity and Inclusion are buzz words in Corporate land but PwC seems to be leading the way – can you share with us some of the ways PwC is driving the debate?

R: We have appointed a dedicated Diversity Leader, Julie McKay, to help guide our work in this important area, and every part of the firm is focussed on how we create a truly diverse and inclusive business.

We continue to focus on a range of areas, including unconscious bias training; and how we attract and support diverse talent at all levels.

It is fantastic to see the progress that is being made, and what it will mean for the firm going forward.

CDP: Work/life/balance… is there such a thing for you and if so how do you achieve it?

R: Sometimes the line between work and life can be blurred – so I think it’s critical to love what you do and connect with purpose.  Other than that, for me, it’s about carving out time for things that are important to me, and prioritising my diary around those things as best I can.  Communication with others is always key to that.

CDP: How do you see your role as a woman in leadership? What steps do you take to empower the women and men in your teams?

R: To me, leadership doesn’t equate to a particular role or title – leaders can come from anywhere within an organisation.  I want to make sure people have a voice and feel comfortable sharing views and ideas, so we get the best from all of our people, regardless of seniority, gender or ethnicity.

CDP: When you aren’t working, where might we find you?

R: At yoga, at the park with my 2 year old spoodle Esme, or spending time with friends and family.

CDP: PwC has moved their offices to Barangaroo  – what’s it like working in the busiest hub is Sydney?

Barangaroo is fantastic and our new way of ‘activity based working’ at PwC is amazing.  We have areas where you can think creatively (think ping pong tables, treadmills, lego…), collaborative zones where you can work with teams, and then quiet library spaces for those times you need some space to think.  It’s really a new way of working.

CDP: 3 tips for women wanting to join the world of financial services?

R: Build networks, back yourself, don’t wait to be asked.

Find out more about Rebecca Cohen here.

Corporate Diversity Pathways is a full service diversity and inclusion advisory focussed on empowering women for diversity, happiness, inclusion and peak performance. We do this through Careers for Women, Executive Development Programs, Coaching for Peak Performance, Workplace Wellness, D+I Advisory and Action, D+I Leaders Network and The Power of Mentoring.