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Having recently joined the Corporate & Commercial team at Cleaver Fulton Rankin, we take a look at some key facts about Stuart Sproule, including his career move, why humour makes a difference, and the importance of a work/life balance.
When I was younger, I thought lawyers had all the answers and that is what put a career in law on my radar. As I got older, other aspects of being a lawyer (and specifically a Corporate Lawyer) really appealed to me, such as problem solving, team work and the feeling that you have made a difference to a client’s business. Being a trusted advisor for clients is something I take immense pride in and I’m lucky to be able to say I enjoy what I do.
A new challenge presented itself, which would allow me to develop my corporate & commercial expertise in a leading commercial law firm in Belfast. The development of the Corporate & Commercial team, provided an exciting prospect, to help shape the growth and development of the team’s services. In addition, the appointment of Paul McBride at the beginning of 2022 provided an opportunity to work with a Corporate & Commercial expert with a depth of experience.
It is no secret that these are incredibly challenging, turbulent times. The many phrases that have become commonplace in the media – rising costs of living, inflation, crippling energy costs, strikes – are impacting the world of commerce in particular. There has been a notable lack of confidence in the financial markets which has led in some cases to a reduced willingness to move forward with deals, acquisitions and investment in business. Companies that may have had major strategic objectives are now focusing on facing the challenges ahead. The continued evolution of businesses is key to driving the Northern Irish economy. Growth means more profits, employment, innovation, investment and exports. Although it might be tricky in the short term, businesses will need to be strategic and even creative to find new opportunities.
I learned early in life not to take myself too seriously. I have been able to develop strong working relationships with clients and contacts by taking the time to understand their needs, and through bringing a personable and positive approach. I have always made sure that both my personal and professional relationships are infused with humour.
Like many people, the pandemic was a big factor in learning how to evaluate my need for balance. I learnt how to put boundaries in place, and have continued to apply these learnings as hybrid working has resumed. For me, this means maintaining full focus and giving my all during working hours, but I do aim to leave the laptop bag at the door when I return home and focus on family activities and downtime.
This interview was initally published in the November/December 2022 issue of Ambition Magazine.