Q&A with Sarah Ashby, Finance Director McVitie’s Cake

Sarah Ashby headshot

FV speaks with Sarah Ashby, Finance Director at McVitie’s Cake. Sarah is one of the company’s rising stars, becoming Finance Director before the age of 30. Find out more below.


What was your dream job as a child and why?

A lawyer. I love to argue and wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps. However I didn’t like the idea of wearing a wig as I got older, and also realised I could win every maths argument without subjectivity. The right answer to an equation is always the right answer, so a career in finance became far more appealing!


How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?

I believe in always trying to do my best. If you’ve tried your hardest, that is all that you can do. I get up early to go to the gym before work (most days!) and try to start my day beating my previous day’s work out. I also get enough sleep, as I believe that’s key to keeping energy levels and motivation up.

If you could tell your younger self one thing you know about business now, what would it be?

Stand by your values and require respect. Women have the choice to stand up for themselves and tackle tough situations head on.

What’s an accomplishment that you are proudest of?

On a professional front, becoming an FD before the age of 30. This was always one of my career goals, and I absolutely love the job I do. On a personal front, completing a triathlon without drowning!

What would be your advice for women who are building careers in the industry you work in?

Support other women! I have had the pleasure of working with some fantastic women and have two female mentors. I have also had the displeasure of working with women who don’t support other women. In a world where women still find an unconscious bias at work, it’s important to stick by each other.

How is your company dealing with unconscious bias?

Pladis (formerly United Biscuits) have a Board that is split 50:50 men and women, which is very inspiring. Working for a company where you have a female role model is very important to me.

What’s your own personal mantra?

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill

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