The Inspire DNA

There is one very strong thread that runs through every Inspire employee – a thread that links them together despite their different backgrounds and personal stories. And that thread is this: their passion for entrepreneurialism, and their ambition to support business owners on their unique journeys.

We call this common thread the Inspire DNA.

Here are the stories of three very different members of staff who all have the same entrepreneurial DNA running through them…

Helen Holman  

Helen comes from an entrepreneurial family – her father ran his own business, and her mother, who spent Helen’s early life supporting the family, stepped outside the box and retrained as an accountant – an unusual move for a woman in the late 1970s. Her ambition paid off – she ended up being an FD and shareholder to a multi-million SME.

The ups and downs that come with running a business very much shaped Helen’s early life. Whilst exciting, these highs and lows steered Helen away from following in her father’s footsteps. “I experienced firsthand how difficult it is to run a business,” says Helen. “The triumphs were great, but the hurdles were incredibly challenging, and these peaks and troughs could be very unsettling.”

Helen inherited her father’s love of business, and her mother’s determination. This drove her to pursue a career in finance… but within the safety of a large corporate firm. “Accountancy was a great way to get a general knowledge of business, and the security of being in the corporate world was, at the time, very appealing,” Helen says.

However, over the years Helen became more and more dissatisfied in her work. “The corporation I worked for was constantly restructuring, and it was during one of these restructures that I realised my heart was simply no longer in it,” Helen says. “I wanted to go back to my grassroots and work with business owners – like my dad and mum – and help grow their businesses.”

When she met with Inspire in 2013, Helen’s world suddenly changed. Inspire saw something in her – a spark of entrepreneurialism, an ambition to help grow businesses – and subsequently created a role for Helen in the management team. Now, five years on, Helen is running the Corporate Finance team, is a member of the Leadership Team and has an active role within the strategy of the business.

“The best thing about working for Inspire is the sense of endless possibility – I can be who I want to be, and when it comes to the future, the sky’s the limit,” says Helen. “I have my sights set on becoming a shareholder and leading the business, and I know that I’ll be supported every step of the way. And the best part is, I get to work with incredibly interesting entrepreneurs and support them in growing their businesses – something that’s very close to my heart.”

Having joined Inspire as a Senior Manager, Helen was promoted last year to Associate Director and says she’s continually challenged and encouraged to step out of her comfort zone. “I’m involved in launching new products and services, establishing new teams, and generally developing the business for the benefit of Inspire and its employees,” she says.

“The team is hugely inspiring and I just feel so excited for my future here.”

It’s Helen’s innate DNA – her own entrepreneurial spirit and her desire to help others grow their enterprises – that makes her such an important part of the Inspire family. She shares this DNA with all her teammates, and together they’re building a firm that will give them the opportunity to do great things.

Chris Downing

It was Chris’ mum and dad who instilled a sense of ambition in him; being one of the first in their families to buy their own house, Chris’ parents made every penny count. “I saw my parents make a better life through hard work, and this very much shaped my career choices later down the line,” says Chris. “I admired their work ethic and saw that through being intelligent with your money, you can achieve more than you thought possible.”

When the Young Enterprise scheme visited his school, Chris took the role as finance officer in a small business – set up as part of the project – and soon realised he had an aptitude for numbers and a love for business. He knew from then on that business and accountancy was the direction he wanted to go in, and he couldn’t wait to get stuck in. “I decided to leave school at 18 – I just wanted to get going with my career,” says Chris. “I soon found work as a trainee in a regional accountancy firm and I spent the next nine years working my way up. I absolutely loved helping people make their money work harder and this ethos has never left me.”

It was at 28 that Chris came to a crossroads in his life and career. “I was fully qualified and it felt like I’d come to a point in my career where I either needed to commit to the firm I was with, or take the risk and do something different,” says Chris. Rather than move to the city, Chris chose to relocate to Bournemouth – a place he knew he could mix hard work with adventures in the great outdoors. But the most important change was his desire to work at an innovative firm that he could connect to and develop at. “When I found Inspire I knew they were the place for me as soon as I walked in,” Chris says. “They were dynamic and different, and best of all, they seemed excited about what could be achieved in the future.”

Even though there wasn’t an opening at Inspire, Inspire have a policy of offering an interview to anyone who shows spark and potential, whether from the area or looking to relocate to Poole. It was clear that Chris shared the Inspire DNA, and he was snapped up very quickly. Nine years on, and Chris is now a Director of Inspire with ambitions to lead the firm as an established business. “The great thing about Inspire is if you want to go in a particular direction with your career, Inspire will create that path for you,” says Chris. “I can become who I want to be, achieve what I want to achieve, and spend my week with great people. Year on year, Inspire continue to break the mould. It’s brilliant to be a part of it.”

Joe Hayes

Joe HayesIt was Joe’s entrepreneurial father that had the biggest influence on Joe’s career choices. Like Helen’s experience, Joe saw firsthand through his dad what it takes to run your own business, from the highs of success to the challenges that often riddle an entrepreneur’s journey.

“My dad has had his own businesses since he was 17, so his entrepreneurial spirit was very much part of my childhood,” says Joe. “His enthusiasm and ambition was infectious, and I became fascinated by what it takes to succeed, namely hard work, passion and an ability to make your money work hard and intelligently.”

But whilst Joe admired his father’s drive and ambition, he didn’t want to follow in his footsteps directly. “My father is now a very successful business owner, but the ups and downs were pretty prevalent in the beginning,” Joe says. “So, whilst I had a burning ambition to work with business owners like my dad, I didn’t want to run my own business.”

It was Joe’s love of numbers that paved the way for his career in finance. He knew that he could make a difference to business owners through intelligent and dynamic accountancy, and ultimately support people like his father. “After a few stints working as an apprentice for local firms, a friend suggested I joined Inspire,” says Joe. “It was the best advice I’ve ever been given – here was a firm that would allow me to work with entrepreneurs like my dad, whilst also having the freedom to explore my own entrepreneurial journey.”

Joe joined the Inspire team as a trainee in 2013, when Inspire paid for him to attend college and complete his ACCA. Once qualified, the firm put him on a management course and he is now a Client Services Manager, with his sights set on becoming a Director. “I know that when it comes to realising my ambitions, Inspire will go above and beyond to get me there,” says Joe. “I am reminded regularly that there is no glass ceiling and if I want to progress, then there’s no stopping me. I even have the opportunity to explore my creative side – I film a video every month for the Inspire team and am developing a project to reach out to digital influencers and YouTube bloggers for accountancy support. To say I’m satisfied in my career is an understatement!”

Joe’s entrepreneurial DNA makes him an incredibly valued member of the team, and, with his innate work ethic and ambition, he is destined to go a long way.

Helen, Chris and Joe join a 50 -strong team of likeminded professionals who all share the Inspire DNA – a determination to work with ambitious entrepreneurs in a collaborative and nurturing environment. Every Inspire employee is selected for this unique quality, giving the team an unusual edge in the accountancy world. As Inspire grows, we’ll continue to bring on board individuals who share this DNA and we’re excited to see how far our amazing employees can go in their journeys.

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