If everyone was as passionate about their job and loved going to work as much as Leanne Abela does, the world would be a very happy place.
Leanne has been attending Business Network events over quite a few years now and it’s always great to welcome her along. This time I was able to visit Pearsons Lawyers in Glenroy and get a feel for Leanne’s work space and work culture.
After getting our latest travel news shared! (we were both in Sicily at the same time this year, however didn’t sight each other), I asked Leanne what factors influenced her decision to start her own business.
Leanne said that since childhood she had always wanted to either be the Prime Minister or a lawyer (and don’t put it past her that she might not achieve the first!). She was so keen to work that she adjusted her birth certificate when she was 13 years old, so she could get a job at K-Mart which she loved. She then got her first job at Pearsons Lawyers as a 23 year old and there she has stayed.
At Leanne’s job interview she was asked where she saw herself in five years time with the response being: “at home being a wife and mother”. This however did not eventuate. As Leanne’s three children arrived, the decision was made that she loved her job far more than her husband, and that he would be the main carer.
Leanne saw the potential of the business and has achieved many ‘firsts’ in her career: first non Anglo partner and first female partner being the major ones.
When she started at Pearsons the firm was 10 strong, but now staff are around 30 plus specialising in Family Law.
The continued success of the business is dependent on a few factors:
Employing a diversity of people both in age (everyone from baby boomers to Gen Z) and race.
Continuing the learning curve. Leanne listens to speakers, seminars, reads books and keeps an open mind.
The courage to make all the decisions, even those that are not popular.
Looking after herself…Leanne sets very strict boundaries which she sticks to such as no emails at home or on holidays.
Of course every business faces challenges and Pearsons is no exception. Leanne’s conundrum at the moment is whether the business should expand and grow in size with the risk of losing it’s culture and the full engagement of staff. Leanne points out that none of these types of decisions are driven by financial goals, but rather quality of service and life. She feels she is the luckiest person and truly blessed.
As mentioned, Leanne has been a regular attendee at Business Network events over the years and she puts this down to feeling a connection with the school. She wants to put back because of the amazing effort staff and parents made who contributed to her son’s time here.
An opportunity which Leanne is embracing and offering to her staff as she thinks about the next stage of life, is offering portions of the firm to employees. To her this feels right and will be a win/win for all parties. Who wouldn’t want a boss like that!