As our development conversation window is underway we wanted to share with you one of our colleague’s success stories about their own journey.

Ashleigh Williams works in Finance as Senior Manager for G&A, and Finance business partner for the People and Finance & Legal teams. After two years at Carnival she’s been successful in pursuing a development role and will be starting her new role as Senior Manager, Shared Services Finance Business Partnering in February. Here’s her story…

Identifying career aspirations and development areas

Over the past year I’ve thought a lot about the parts of my current role that I enjoy the most (or least!), and where my strengths and interests really lie. This has been a key part in shaping my development plan – I’ve set out a timeline of where I want to get to in my career and by when, as well as what I need to do to get there.

Forming my development plan helped me identify that I needed to gain some breadth of knowledge and experience of the business outside my current role. I’ve talked this over with my line manager in one-to-ones this year and had honest conversations about wanting new opportunities. My line manager was able to put me forward for a couple of great opportunities this year outside of my usual comfort zone that have supported my development. For example, I’m currently the finance lead on the medical return to service workstream, and I worked on lay-up financial modelling for crew costs in the early days of our operational pause. I’ve also had opportunity to build on my business partnering skills this year by working closely with the People team throughout the collective consultation, and even took the opportunity to run a finance learning session for the team.

How I develop the best

My role changed in November 2019 as part of the Finance reorganisation, and making a conscious effort to embrace this change and opportunity, and take charge in driving forward this change for my area was a great experience to support my development. Along with the new parts of my role, and projects I’ve been involved in this year outside of my BAU role, I’ve had some great on-the-job experience in my two years at Carnival. I think the lion’s share of my personal development comes from my day-to-day role, and taking time out for conversations with my mentor every few months or so has also been a great support. I’m also a bit of a bookworm, so I often read around a theme of my personal development, which gets me reflecting on my day, and can prompt some ideas to put into practice tomorrow.

For me, setting aside a regular slot each week to focus on development has never worked. I have to be in the right frame of mind and this needs to be on a quieter work day, or when I’m walking/driving/doing the washing up and have time to think. I’ve learned to take advantage of these times and go with the flow, so making time for development feels like it comes naturally and doesn’t become one more thing on my to-do list. My development plan (which includes some challenging timescales) and conversations with my mentor help keep me on track and motivated.

I have a great relationship with my mentor here at Carnival, Paul Wilkinson, VP Financial Control. Having open and honest discussions with him has also helped me to reflect on and refine my career aspirations. When I first joined Carnival in October 2018 I worked closely with Paul on transforming G&A and this built a lot of mutual trust between us that made him a natural mentor for me. My approach was quite simple – I asked and he said yes! We talk as often as I need to, particularly when there’s something on my mind, it’s led by me and we usually catch up every couple of months or so.

Learning to not limit myself

Having worked in organisations previously where there was a lot of pressure to conform to a certain style in order to be successful, to fit in, or to shape yourself to fit. Since coming to Carnival I’ve learned that the best thing I can do to succeed is just be myself and be authentic – the right organisations will give you room to do this as Carnival does, and ones that don’t aren’t worth your energy.

Thanks for sharing Ashleigh! Now over to you…

Ashleigh mentions how she really thought about her current role and her strengths. You can do the same by taking yourself through the My Best Me quiz on The Cove, and by working out your career anchors here.

And if you’re thinking about getting a mentor too, then what’s holding you back? As Ashleigh says, all you need to do is ask! Read these 5 top tips to get started.

Development conversations are happening until 29 January, so if you haven’t had yours already, be sure to get ready for the conversation by downloading our 5 step plan here.

We want to hear from you. If you have your own development journey story or some tips and tricks to share with our colleagues please let us know at

Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry


1 Comment

  1. on

    From my point of view, I am very fortunate to have Ashleigh as my manager.
    Ashleigh has always encouraged me with my own development, which has resulted in very positive outcomes for my CPD!

Leave A Reply