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News > Alumni News > International Women's Day: Catching up with Natalie Turner

International Women's Day: Catching up with Natalie Turner

To celebrate International Women's Day 2023 on 8 March, we're shedding a spotlight on female Allanians who have gone on to achieve success in their chosen careers. 
14 Mar 2023
Alumni News

We have caught up with some of our fantastic female Allanians in celebration of International Women’s Day on 8 March and found out what inspired them to pursue their different careers.

Natalie Turner, who left Dame Allan’s in 1992, set up her own Wealth Management company, after working in the City of London in investment banking.

Tell us about your career and what inspired you to follow this path?

I am the principal of Natalie Turner Wealth Management which offers financial advice and wealth management to individuals and businesses in the UK. I started my career in the City of London and worked for several investment banks before transitioning into wealth management following the credit crunch and being made redundant from my role as a derivatives analyst for Swiss investment bank UBS. Watching the Money Programme as a teenager with my mother on Sunday afternoons inspired me to want a career in the City. My mother was a business owner so she also inspired me as I saw that hard work and working for yourself paid off in both financial and flexibility measures. I wanted to be in an exciting fast paced environment and I wanted to work with money as it fascinated me.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

It is a great opportunity to attend or organise events that highlight the great work done by women and also to showcase how far things have moved on with regards to equality. That said I am also mindful of the fact that it sometimes feels at odds with how I have been brought up because I can honestly say I have never felt disadvantaged being a woman nor do I feel I have ever been discriminated against which is quite rare given the environment I worked in and the nature of my current business.

The theme of International Women’s Day 2023 is ‘EmbraceEquity.’ How do you embrace equity in your daily life?

I think I always had the attitude of doing what I wanted regardless of my gender and I often tagged along with the boys. I joined a football team at uni then went on to play for my local club in London. I even set up my own ladies football club when I returned to the North East because there wasn’t one in Tynedale. At work I was often the only female, again I represented the company football team on occasions and played for my local pub team in friendly games. I never felt I had to try and act like a man but I naturally enjoyed the competitive nature of finance and therefore never noticed any difference. I never assume I am NOT welcome or invited, I also assume I am! Maybe I have been included because people have been too embarrassed to say no to me but I would say this is how to embrace equity. Assume it is there and make it happen. 

Which women inspire you the most? Did any particular female teachers inspire you?

I think I am inspired the most by women who have overcome adversity. I was very lucky to have a private education and be born into a traditional family so I had security in all aspects of my life.

My mother inspired me to put in what you want to get out and she was not born into this environment. I enjoy hearing her stories from when she was growing up and it couldn’t be further from my own experience. At Dame Allan's I remember Mrs Fairbairn being great fun but the teacher that stood out for me was a man (Colin McFall). It is ok to praise a man, we are pro-female not anti-men!

How has your schooling at Dame Allan’s influenced your career choices? 

It re-introduced me to the opposite sex as I had spent the previous five years at Church High School for Girls. I think this was a healthy environment pre-university. I think I had already decided I wanted to study Economics and Spanish. Economics became my favourite subject thanks to Colin McFall. I absolutely loved it. He made the subject come alive and he was entertaining, young (then!) and fun. I even subscribed to The Economist (something I find tedious now so God knows what I was playing at aged 17 & 18 reading that) but it helped me secure an A for the Economics A level.

Have you experienced any barriers in the workplace due to being a woman? If so, how did you overcome them?  

I honestly don’t think I have. I have at times been frustrated by promotions being slow to come by but I do not think I could attribute this to being female. I got as far as Assistant Vice President at Barclays Wealth before setting up my own business 9 years ago. I can now call myself what I like! As I said I always assumed equality and didn’t really give anyone the option of excluding me. The few times I was held back I would just keep asking and showing up and being willing and eventually I got what I wanted.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? 

Let people know what you want, ask and ask again. Also if at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again. Couldn’t be more true when you start a business. Also don’t be afraid to ask for help or call in a favour but also when you are giving do not expect to get anything back, at least not straight away. Be yourself and be genuine. People are forgiving when you are authentic and learn how to say sorry.

If you could invite three inspirational women (dead or alive) to a dinner party, who would they be? 

Margaret Thatcher, Amanda Staveley and Madonna (I love her music so she would keep me entertained.

What advice do you have for women starting out in their careers? 

Be firm on what you want out of your career but do not be precious. If you want to get on, most companies are looking for dedicated, hard working team players not princesses. Build a network and support other women around you, do not cut each other’s throats. Together you are stronger. Call out any obvious discrimination but try to give the benefit of the doubt. Men are only human and often get things wrong, such as terms of endearment or running to hold a door open for you. Make it clear what you’re aiming for and learn how to ask for a pay rise! Women are notoriously bad at asking for things and often wait to be offered then get frustrated when it doesn’t materialise. As my dad once said “shy bairns get nowt!”

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