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Nirosha Perera

Director at Deloitte LLP

Class of 1995

What is your most memorable moment as a student at Sheffield Girls'?

I still remember my first day at Sheffield Girls', aged 11, the smell of the old building, the wooden desks, the brown uniform (which has improved over the years!) my first glimpse of my new classmates, almost all of whom stayed with me and throughout my journey at Sheffield Girls' all the way through Sixth Form. My closest friend today is still my best friend from SHS!

Why did you decide to take the career path you did?

As you can see from my A Level choices, I was interested in a broad range of subjects at school. I believe a lot of my passion for those subjects came from the teachers who taught me at Sheffield Girls'. 

Having no idea what career I wanted to pursue so early in life, I decided law would be a good solid degree to have whatever I decided to do so, after SHS, I went to The University of Birmingham to study Law.

Whist there, I was inspired by careers seminars given by corporate law firms who came to the law faculty to promote a career in law and to encourage students to apply for training contracts. I knew it was competitive and would be tough to get a training contract but I was determined that this is what I wanted to do.

I went on to Nottingham Law School to complete my Legal Practice Course and then completed my two year Training Contract at McGrigors (now Pinsent Masons).

I qualified as a corporate solicitor in 2002 and am now a Director at Deloitte LLP working on international business transformation projects for a variety of clients from fast growth start-ups to listed UK and Global corporates in a variety of sectors.

What does your job entail?

I am an English qualified lawyer and my current position is as a Director in the Corporate Law group at Deloitte LLP, one of the four largest global providers of professional services. I provide corporate law advice to both UK headquartered and global corporate clients.

My team at Deloitte has been ranked for four years running as a Tier 1 International Business Reorganisations practice in the Legal 500 and I am also proud to have achieved a personal ranking as ‘Next Gen partner’. My career started out with a Training Contract at McGrigors (now Pinsent Masons) in London. 

What have been the biggest challenges in your career? And the most rewarding parts of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is coaching and mentoring lawyers who are coming up the ladder behind me. As I have worked my way up, I have made sure to bring up people with me as that is what I would like my legacy to be when I retire. To hand over to those whose careers I have helped shape.

The biggest challenge in my career has been to find work-life balance. It has taken time to find something that works for me but I feel I have found it and make an effort every day not to compromise on my boundaries to make sure I put my well being at the top of my agenda.

I lived in London as a junior lawyer and enjoyed the excitement of living and working in the City. I moved out to Hertfordshire with my husband to raise our two children and now enjoy the benefits of hybrid working – I spend a few days a week working from our offices in central London and the remaining time working from my home office. In my spare time, I love to cook, travel and keep fit.

Did your education at Sheffield Girls' influence your career?

Sheffield Girls' gave me self-confidence and both academic and pastoral guidance. I believe that spending my school years at SHS and being surrounded by such positive energy made me truly believe I could pursue any career that I set my mind to. Especially back in the 1990s, it was important as a female to have such a strong influence as Sheffield Girls' had and it has helped me find and make my way up in what is still in a lot of ways a male dominated career.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t be scared to try new things. I wish I had joined a few more after school clubs (netball and hockey I loved!) and not just focused on the academic side.

What advice would you give sixth form pupils at Sheffield Girls’ today?

It will be ok. You do not need to know what you will be doing in 10 years’ time, 20 years’ time. Just enjoy the journey (even the bumps) and have confidence in yourself and your future.

A Levels: Chemistry, English Literature, German

University: Law (LLB), University of Birmingham

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