Harriet Avison has recently joined Nottingham High School as the new Director of Finance and Operations, here we get to know her a little better.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I live in West Bridgford with my husband and two sons. I love all things outdoors (assuming I have enough duck down layers on) and will try anything once. This summer I will be paddle boarding, cycling, walking and camping. I also love cooking, however I think my enjoyment may be tested in May when I have been asked to cater for 40 scouts and cubs over the bank holiday weekend single handed!
Where has your career led you so far?
For as long as I can remember I have wanted to work ‘in business’. I realised as a teenager that, to have the impact I wanted to have, I would have to learn a lot about ‘business’, I didn’t want to specialise, I wanted to have an overview of everything. Once I left university, becoming a chartered accountant seemed to be a good first step and I spent 8 years in accountancy practice working first on statutory audits but then moved on to mergers and acquisitions and financial due diligence. Whilst in practice I got to work in numerous different industries at home and abroad. I learnt loads but the time came when I wanted to get stuck in rather then moving on to a new client every week. I joined Capital One in 2006 with the intention of making horizontal moves in order to build my insights and experience. I started as an analyst on their Savings business and over the following 15 years managed pretty much every team in the department as well as joining the senior leadership team and managing teams in the US.
Why did you decide to join Nottingham High School?
I was looking for an organisation that aligned with my interests and values, and a role that fitted with my strengths. In addition, one of my criteria was a job that was local to where I live and where I could make a positive contribution to society. The Director of Finance and Operations role ticked all the boxes. Through the interview process everything felt very natural and on meeting the staff my mind was made up. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming.
What does your role as Director of Finance and Operations involve?
I am responsible for all things non-academic and non-pastoral and report directly in to the head master. I also have a role as clerk to the governors. I have an amazing team who look after all aspects of running the school and our development and fundraising work. My job is to make their lives easier in whatever way I can support them and their wider teams. I also have a role on the SMT working on strategy and development.
What are you most looking forward to in your new role?
I love helping people, learning and problem solving. My role requires me to do this on a daily basis, there is never a dull moment and I have already learnt loads. On a bigger picture and more strategic level, there are a number of projects I am already involved in, all with the common aim of making Nottingham High School an even better school and ensuring it can provide the high standard of education well into the future. It is going to be great seeing the impact as the outcome of these projects materialises.