A day in the life of a Jersey entrepreneur – Helen Hatton

Helen Hatton - BDO Sator

Helen Hatton-BDO Sator

What makes you spring out of bed in the morning?

The hunter instinct – I want to track new opportunity, hunt down new knowledge, capture solutions, skin problems and enjoy the intellectual chase!

What does your normal day look like?

There is a lot to pack into my day. It starts with my horses at 6.30 am and then when I hit the office, the day becomes a mixture of supporting colleagues, managing our own business and leading client mandates.

This latter certainly involves technical regulatory stuff, but often its about coaching clients on organisational management skills, or helping them tackle cultural, governance or wider risk issues.

I usually leave the office at about 7.30pm and race home, where my wonderful husband generally has a cocktail waiting for me. We cook, relax and share the highlights of the day.

How did you get to where you are today?

Appetite. I have always been hungry for the next thing.

What couldn’t you live your life without?

I guess we can live without pretty much anything, even self respect, liberty, wealth, security, health, or our loved ones – plenty of people do have to face these awful situations. I pray I never have to live without my children or my husband.

Which outsiders (professional services, investors, mentors, family etc.) have been most important to the success of your business?

A very interesting question. I think I have to say the clients. Without them I wouldn’t have a business. Our key early clients were the IMF, World Bank and UK Foreign Office – it was amazing that such major organisations empowered Sator on the basis of their faith in me: as a result, I was able to get the business started. The next clients were Government of Aruba and the FATF – ditto. Then the biggest leap of faith of all, were our financial services business clients, who – when faced with a regulatory difficulty – were prepared to trust their corporate future in Sator’s competence. Yes, definitely clients.

At a practical level, Mark Kevlin of Jersey Enterprise was a huge help to me in 2009 when I set the company up. He accessed various government money for me (just a few thousand pounds) for professional branding, a marketing plan and my first business development trip. Through him I developed a relationship with Beverley le Cuirot who helped me enormously in my early days in business.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome?

A catastrophic spinal injury in December 2007. 7 fractures in the spine and 12 in my pelvis, plus cheekbone, jaw, upper jaw and orbital bone. It was a life changing event. I was lucky to survive.

As Sator grew and matured, it became more than “me” – accepting that I had an overriding duty to the business and its staff, beyond my personal time horizons, was a watershed thought process and something of a challenge to get my head around. Recognising in fact that you are no longer “just” an entrepreneur, but a fully fledged businesswoman. The “baby” I had created had taken on a persona and critical mass of its own.  On that basis I made the decision to merge Sator with BDO and it’s been a wonderful and exciting development. We cracked on and bought Greenlight, a change management business; C5 the Channel Islands largest IT solutions company; and ALX, a training business. We have over 300 staff and are locally owned and managed.

The entrepreneurial spirit flies high throughout BDO Group and maintaining that energy is both a constant challenge and a constant motivator.

What advice would you give to your younger self before embarking on your business journey?

Trust yourself. Follow your heart. Always do the right thing. Surround yourself with quality. Be excellent.

Website:- BDO Sator

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