A conversation with Sigrid Viselé


Sigrid's story is one of a passionate female entrepreneur, someone who is driven by the challenges that come her way and who seizes opportunities with the necessary resilience. Since her start in the profession, she has had an exciting career path, until where she is today: Accountancy Partner within Grant Thornton and Head of the service line, and also the - currently only - female member of the management committee. She is also the proud mother of a twenty-one year old son.

We spoke to her about what drives her, what her views are on the broad topic and how she sees her role as a leader to lift women up. We will take you through her personal story.



Despite the progress that has been made in recent years, women remain underrepresented in senior leadership positions in our profession. What's your vision on this topic?

Sigrid: "The reality is that women are more likely to step aside to take care of the family. And that's ok. But I find that afterwards, they don't necessarily pick back up their career plans when the family situation allows it. They often put themselves and their lives on hold. And that is unfortunate, because I have seen a lot of interesting potential over the years. In my experience, it is often a matter of self-confidence, of trusting that the combination of work and family will work out."

What can we do to boost that self-confidence and encourage women?

Sigrid: "First of all, it is extremely important to share similar stories. There are plenty of examples within our company of women combining work and family fantastically. They are living proof that it is possible. 

Furthermore, we need to reassure them that we will do everything we can to support them in this. That starts with giving them the flexibility they need to get organised. But it is also about giving them the right signals. Showing that you understand that they need time, reassuring them that they can come back to grow further in our structure. But also continuing promotions, for example. I believe promotions are also possible during the period when someone has just given birth, or is working part-time. After all, we need to judge people on their competences and reward them when they deserve it. To me, these are important signals that we should not underestimate."

You are a mother yourself and made a career at the same time. What does your personal journey look like?

Sigrid: "I was 32 when I became a mother and very soon found myself on my own with my son. But at that time I was already head of a company and managing a small team. Then it's easier to get organised. However, I never considered putting my career on hold. For me, my work is an essential source of satisfaction and fulfilment. I cannot imagine life without these challenges. 

In my career, it was also a matter of seizing the opportunities when they presented themselves. For instance, we (as former DWVA) joined Grant Thornton in 2017 and merged in 2019, I became a partner in a much larger team, and then got a position within the management committee. And even now I still enjoy seizing the new opportunities I get. As of summer, a new challenge awaits me, that of CFO. My son is now 21, so I have all the time I need to throw myself fully into it."

In your opinion, are there typically female and male traits?

Sigrid: "For a long time, I thought that men and women intrinsically see or feel things differently. But my latest experiences, especially within the management committee where we extensively share our own views about plenty of topics, taught me that I too had a stereotypical view on that. How we see or feel things is linked more to the personality of the individual than to gender."

On a final note, what advice would you like to give to young women?

Sigrid: "Don't put yourself and your life on hold for the sake of your family. Combining work and family is a matter of good organisation. Trust that it will work out. And finally, don't underestimate the impact of your job. Be proud of what you accomplish. Because if you feel good in your work, it will also reflect on your family life. The two cannot be separated. 

In short, be proud of everything you do, in your role as a mother and in all the other roles you may have, and have confidence in yourself, that is my main message that I would like to bring."

Inspired? Get in touch

Want to know what it's like working at Grant Thornton? 

Reach out to Sigrid