A Warrnambool financial firm has appointed its first woman as a partner among three new faces bringing a youthful change to leadership.
Leela Egan-Halls, who started as an admin assistant four years ago and now is a business manger, is the first female partner in 35 years of SHB Business & Wealth Advisers.
"More people who are running their own businesses are females and moving up into those roles," Ms Egan-Halls said.
"It's important we have someone who understands their struggles."
Ms Egan-Halls, 31, said the firm had given her responsibility and promoted her as positions became available, also creating new roles that suited her skills.
"I really pushed for that and they trusted me," Ms Egan-Halls said.
"There are a lot of pathways. If you have the right attitude and work ethic, you can make anything happen.
"The way the business industry is going; the start-ups and side hustles are really women-driven. A lot of females really want a female accountant. I think now is the opportunity you could be really successful."
Two Warrnambool-born men have also become partners at SHB, increasing its leaders to eight.
Jarrod McDonald, 26, is the firm's youngest ever partner and says growing up with new technology helps give him an edge in accounting.
Mr McDonald attended Warrnambool's Deakin University and has been working at the firm since his studies.
"There is a high demand for local accountants," he said. "If you don't want to leave, you don't have to."
Jason Leddin, a financial adviser, grew up in Warrnambool and started his career in Melbourne but returned with a young family in 2018 and worked towards becoming a partner.
"It was something I was always striving for," he said. "We are assisting mums and dads with their finances.
"All sorts of people worry about money whether they are young or about to retire. Our job is to try and put a plan in place for them and help them get to their goals."
The firm has about 4000 clients on its books, and Mr McDonald said the coronavirus and subsequent recession had affected some businesses while other industries thrived.
"Building and farming operations are probably on track for some of the best years they've ever had," he said.
"Hospitality and retail are probably still struggling; they are the major ones impacted.
"We've probably been a bit sheltered.
"The dairy industry and the beef industry; if they are going well they prop up the economy."
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