As a female entrepreneur running a business in the traditionally male-oriented science and innovation sector, I previously found it difficult to meet other women in similar situations, but I have found many inspirational role models through Enterprising Women. Enterprising Women has helped me grow by giving me insight into how successful companies are run, and offering business support and advice.
Emma Pentelow is, quite simply, driven. A dynamic force of nature, her energy and strong moral compass shine through in everything she does.
From winning a university scholarship with American University in her late teens which saw her leave Yorkshire to study at Boston College and spend a semester at Harvard, through to becoming one of the first women to achieve accreditation from the Society of Later Life Advisers, Emma tackles every challenge head-on.
Highly respected by colleagues and associates, Emma is a director in the family firm The Pentelow Practice, a Principal Partner Practice of St. James Place Wealth Management. Far from settling into a comfortable role alongside her father and brother in the firm’s Leeds city office, Emma has forged her own specialisms and opened a satellite office on a stately home business park on the outskirts of the small market town of Skipton.
Her aim is to bring the highest quality financial advice from the city environment and to make it more accessible for the rural communities of the Yorkshire Dales.
While guiding her clients through the world of finance, Emma also manages to juggle the demands of motherhood with two young children. Not content to sit on the sidelines of their education, Emma is the Marketing & Events Co-ordinator on the school PTA. She is also the Family Liaison Officer for the Parochial Church Council and a prominent, active member of the Lothersdale village community.
For many years Emma has been a volunteer for NACRO, a charity dedicated to changing lives by reducing crime. From reading bedtime stories every Tuesday evening in children’s homes through to mentoring young offenders, Emma has made a huge contribution to improving the lives of many disadvantaged youngsters.
A talented chameleon, Emma is a natural communicator across every spectrum, from the boardroom to the shop-floor, with plain-speaking the common denominator which crosses all barriers of culture and background. It gives her the scope to provide carefully considered financial advice even if it may not always be what the client wants to hear.
She is inclined to treat clients as if they are her own family and is not afraid to roll up her sleeves, often going far beyond the usual parameters of a financial adviser in order to help her clients. Colleagues reveal that she is thoughtful and kind, but more than well-meaning platitudes she will give of her valuable time and practical resources. They recall that a widow who had no experience of dealing with money and was completely at a loss how to proceed was given hands-on help from Emma with the absolute basics including household budgets for groceries and take-aways. On another occasion Emma recognised symptoms of severe depression in a client and was sufficiently concerned to enlist an on-the-spot emergency medical intervention from a GP which eventually brought the client back from the brink of suicide.
Genuinely interested in her clients, Emma is determined that everything she does reflects the level of individuality her service offers. Not only do clients get a complete financial overhaul tailored specifically to their needs, but little extras that show how far she is prepared to step outside the box to show how they are valued. The traditional wine or hamper gift is abandoned if favour of something which relates specifically to each client, with attention paid to their hobbies and interests, such as a cleverly personalised Monopoly board game featuring their business and locality for a birthday, through to named baby cushions on the birth of a child or grandchild.
Keen to support the local business community as well as her own clients, Emma is involved with Bradford Chamber of Commerce, the Yorkshire Mafia and Forward Ladies. In June 2014 she launched the Skipton branch of Enterprising Women. She saw the potential of the national club and that Skipton lacked a daytime networking slot for local businesswomen to experience a regular productive group session which fosters natural, organic partnering and referral. Now with a core membership of women from a cross-section of businesses in the locality, her group is building close relationships based on genuine understanding of one another’s business needs and strengths, a utopian ideal for business growth.
Within the firm, Emma has recruited many individuals and helped to foster their careers, including Yogesh Dhir who joined the firm initially as an intern and now works alongside the senior partners to deliver expert financial advice.
In addition to a string of academic and financial qualifications, Emma’s commitment to ethical financial planning for ageing clients led her to undertake specialist training and vetting to become accredited with the Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA). Only a small minority of financial advisors commit to this level of commitment to the elderly sector.
It is this specialism in long term care fees planning which is shaping Emma’s vision for the future. Now with a microsite dedicated to this sector of the business, she is also working to forge relationships with care home owners to help residents and their families to make better preparation for the financial burden of care. As the population is living longer and dementia rates increasing, Emma is anxious to help people to plan ahead in good time. There are instances of residents in independent care homes outliving their funds and she is keen to provide sound financial strategies which will prevent such distressing scenarios in the future.
Find out more about Emma’s care fees planning work: