Ruby Parmar, on the business connections which have ignited her retirement path
Following a stellar, three-decade long career in professional services, with the last 20 years spent at PwC, Ruby Parmar, MKBLP Board Director, proclaims herself as being ‘re-fired’ rather than ‘retired’, and credits the business community of Milton Keynes as playing a pivotal role in creating many of the links to the multiple fulfilling roles she is now able to embrace.
Following many years of climbing the corporate ladder within PwC’s London offices, which culminated in her becoming a senior partner, Ruby moved to Milton Keynes four years ago to head up the company’s Milton Keynes and South Midlands office, leading a team of 120 staff.
The move, while enabling Ruby to personally carve out a new work/life balance away from the capital, also empowered her to create ties to the growing business community within Milton Keynes:
I became involved within MKBLP straight away as my predecessor, before his retirement, had too and I found the connections extremely helpful. While working in London, where I would spend my time building, nurturing and supporting relationships with large clients, there was very little scope to bring these vast business communities together in a centrally driven programme. In contrast, the rapidly growing economic hub within Milton Keynes comes together to create one large business community.
Unless sitting across a table, there are very little opportunities to meet other professionals within the business community, particularly those whose businesses have very little interaction with your own. Without the anchor of a strong business network such as MKBLP pulling these strands together, a professional person, moving to a new city, could potentially feel out on a limb.
Undoubtedly, throughout my career I have been privileged to take on other fulfilling roles, such as my position on the Board of Trustees of the Magic Bus India Foundation, a charity dedicated to providing children living in poverty the opportunity to pro-actively shape their future. But, after 30 years within the professional services sector I have been fortunate enough to cultivate the skills and experience necessary to seamlessly side step into a variety of new roles, and today I have effectively become ‘plural’.
Many of these roles have become a reality as a result of initial connections made at MKBLP events, including my position as a Governor for MK College and as a judge for Women’s Leaders. So, while joining a network can create business to business links, it can also create invaluable connections and an opportunity to raise not only your own profile, but that of the causes which are close to your heart.
For instance, in my capacity as Chair of TOTM I am passionate about creating environmental awareness amongst businesses. As a company producing 100% organic feminine hygiene products, TOTM exists to drive change with their ecologically friendly range and, through my position with MKBLP, I am raising awareness of the need to provide sustainable feminine hygiene products for women which are completely free of perfumes and chemicals, whether in offices or retail offerings.
The theme of the forthcoming Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards (MKBAA) focuses on the health and wellbeing of our great city, its inhabitants, organisations and workforce and this has perfect synergies to the work we are doing at TOTM.
Being part of a thriving business network has undoubtedly helped me to seamlessly fall into these diverse roles, each of which, while carrying differing levels of involvement, both stimulates and challenges me.