Lancashire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
4:00 AM 14th October 2021

10 In 10: Natalie McGregor Commercial Director At Headstar,

Natalie McGregor
Natalie McGregor
Natalie McGregor, commercial director at Leeds-based finance recruitment consultancy Headstar, is the latest regional business professional in the hot seat as we give her just 10 minutes to answer our 10 burning questions.

What does a typical working day for you involve?

Headstar is very committed to offering its employees flexibility in terms of when and where they work, so typically I’ll be in the office on Mondays and Fridays, and I’ll tend to work from home on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with Wednesdays off to spend time with my children.

As part of my role, I manage a seven-strong team of consultants who recruit all areas of a finance team, working with the best finance people in the market, from entry level to CFO, for both interim and permanent roles.

We work with a growing number of Yorkshire-based SMEs, including Creative Race and PureGym, and my first big job of the day sees me catching up with my team to understand where they’re up to in terms of the roles and candidates they are recruiting for. It’s a chance to discuss how they’re adding value to our clients and work through any challenges or opportunities together.

I specialise in the recruitment of finance directors so a typical day will often see me meeting with both clients and candidates to understand their needs and requirements in more detail. We have some very long-standing clients, many of whom we started working with as candidates, and it’s always lovely to get out and about and meet with them, more so than ever after the recent lockdowns!

As part of my role, I’m one of four directors responsible for setting the strategic direction of the business and driving further growth. We’re a rapidly growing business so on any given day I might be interviewing potential recruits to the team or looking at how we can continue to cultivate the brilliant culture we have at Headstar and provide our employees with the right tools to succeed - whether that’s investing in further training, better tech or adopting new ways of working.

What makes our company special?

First and foremost, it’s our team. We are a people business in every sense of the phrase, and we’ve got the most amazing team of recruitment consultants and finance directors who are passionate, knowledgeable, and driven when it comes to connecting good finance people and helping businesses to thrive.

Everyone shares the same values and approach to doing the best for our clients and supporting each other. It’s fair to say we’re the very opposite of a bums-on-seats, transactional recruitment consultancy; we pride ourselves on providing clients with straight-talking, evidence-based advice in both the management and recruitment of finance teams. Our approach to working with clients in this way has seen us build a huge number of long-standing relationships with clients and candidates, with demand for our services growing rapidly.

Do you have any business rules?

I believe that good leaders ask great questions and I’ll always try and ensure I’m asking the right questions of my team rather than just giving them the answers. By asking questions, you’re giving your team the opportunity to build-up their own decision-making muscles when it comes to solving problems, and I’ve found this approach really helps to empower and encourage consultants to use their initiative and really take ownership for their own areas.

Do you dress up or down for work?

It depends on what meetings I have. If I have a clear day with no external meetings, I’ll dress more casually. If I’m meeting with clients or candidates, I’ll typically wear smart-casual, in line with Headstar’s professional but relaxed dress code.

What piece of advice would you give your 18-year old self?

Finding a good boss is even more important than finding a good company in so many ways. Employees don’t typically leave bad jobs; they leave bad bosses. My advice to anyone would be to find a boss or mentor who will look out for you, inspire you and really take the time to help you develop and learn. There’s nothing more important. I didn’t have a mentor like that in my first ever job, but I made sure I did in my second, and even though that was years ago, I’m still in touch with them and they continue to inspire me.

What’s your favourite Yorkshire venue for an event or team away day?

Headstar regularly runs events focused on supporting and helping businesses to thrive, and I’d have to say that out of all of the locations we’ve used, the one that really stood out for me is Northern Monk’s Holbeck refectory. Yes, the drinks were pretty good as you’d expect from a great brewery, but the refectory itself is fantastic – such a quirky space, nestled as it is just above where they brew all of their beer.

How do you prefer to travel for business?

By car. Our clients are based all over the region so when it comes to meeting with them, it’s easiest to travel by car.

What’s your favourite place in Yorkshire to relax?

I’m a big fan of St Aidan’s nature reserve near Castleford. It’s a 400-hectare nature park, owned and run by the RSPB and I find it’s the perfect place to relax and unwind and just generally switch-off. It’s an amazing place to explore – there’s 12km of trails and loads of wildlife to see – so I’d recommend it to anyone.

Where is your favourite place to eat in Yorkshire, and what dish do you recommend?

I’d have to say the Deer Park pub and restaurant in Roundhay, Leeds. Their Sunday dinners are out of this world! I’m also a big fan of Skyliners Fish and Chip restaurant in Whitkirk. It’s been around for nearly 60 years and, if you’ve ever tasted their fish and chips you’ll understand why they’ve won so many awards!

What do you miss most about Yorkshire when you’re away?

That’s a tough one. The people and the countryside. And the tea – Yorkshire, of course!