We would like to introduce you to Katie, who is a manager in HLB Sydney’s Audit & Assurance division. She will shortly be returning to the office after taking parental leave. 
Tell us a little about yourself

I’ve been working at HLB Mann Judd Sydney for almost four years. I started at the firm during the COVID lockdowns. I’ve been in the audit profession for almost 10 years now. I really enjoy working with our clients and building lasting relationships with them.

I’m also American but moved to Australia in 2018 after coming on secondment with another firm and meeting my future husband. I love spending time outdoors as well as travelling to see my family whenever I can.

Big changes for you this year?

Big! My husband and I welcomed our son William Edgar to the world who was born in June 2023. It’s truly been a blessing watching him grow and being able to have this time away from work to do so.

It’s been such a massive shift in life, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Katie and William Edgar
How has the firm supported you? 

The firm has been so accommodating since the day that I told my team I was pregnant. There was so much excitement and understanding in what I was going through. I was able to have more days working from home and could attend work commitments virtually, when needed, which put less stress on me in a time of needing to take it easy on myself.

During my parental leave I met up with my coaching partner every couple of months. I never felt any pressure to provide a return to work date. I was able to bring William into the office to meet the team and the firm continued to invite me to team events. It made me feel like I will still part of the work family.

My return to work from parental leave will be just shy of 12 months leave. It’s something I never thought in my life I would have the opportunity to do (especially being from America). The firm’s parental leave policy allowed me to have time with my son that I will look back on and cherish for the rest of my life.

What does your return to HLB look like?

HLB has graciously allowed me to return to work on a part time basis, as well as permitting work from home days. Since all of my family lives overseas and most of my husband’s family lives in regional NSW, flexibility with work is going to be huge for me.

Through the multiple conversations I’ve had with my team regarding my return to work, I have been consistently reassured there will be flexibility. This has brought me a great amount of comfort.

Any advice for your colleagues who are adding to their family?

Consider all your parental leave options. It’s such a special time in your life that you won’t get back. Time is a thief once you have kids and its worth cherishing every minute.