To mark International Men’s Day 2020, we spoke with Empire Finance Director, Gary Ireland, to celebrate his role in the business and ask how he maintains an effective work-life balance.

Upon joining in Empire in 2016, what would you say has been your greatest achievement?

“For me, the greatest achievement is the growth that has been achieve over the past 4 years – Jo, myself and the team have worked hard to achieve this.

We are proud of the Consultant offering that we have put together and we will continue to develop and improve this. We have attracted quality people which has resulted in a fantastic Consultancy team.”

There is a very supportive work culture at Empire, how do you feel your role as Director encourages this?

“When I became a broker, I went through a very steep learning curve (especially as I had previously only worked for one organisation for 32 years). I quickly realised that operating on my own was far from ideal. I found it to be an ineffective business model given the diversity of demands, responsibilities and skills required. I was spending too much time on non-productive activities and in areas where my skills were weak.

On the back of my experiences, I have tried to contribute to Empire’s culture by working closely with our Consultants (all of who are at different stages of their broking journeys). We have encouraged and cultivated a sharing culture which recognises that by working as a team we are far stronger.”

When working collaboratively with Jo Sutton, Managing Director of Empire Finance, where do you see Empire in the future?

“Our vision is for Empire Finance to be recognised as the best brokerage in the UK.

This means:

  • We have highly satisfied clients
  • A bespoke Consultant proposition that ensures we attract and retain an excellent team of top-quality consultants whose values match our culture.
  • A happy support team.”

Being a Director comes with a lot of responsibility. How do you manage this work-life balance and the day to day pressures?

“I feel far less pressure than when I was an employee. As an employee, so many things were out of my control (changing targets, unpredictable workloads, last minute demands from management/customers etc). I have found that being part of running the business gives me control back – I set the agenda/I make the decisions – I find this liberating.

In terms of work life balance, again because I have “control”, I work far fewer hours than when I was employed and go to the gym during the day, every day. At Empire, Jo has put together an excellent team who all contribute in different ways which is also a huge help.”