Like many ‘green’ and ‘wet behind the ear’ young graduates, Dawn was a huge source of encouragement to me as I started out in a career in accounting. Comparing that time (some twenty years ago) to today’s office environment where we must take care in how we speak to and address others, Dawn was a breath of fresh air – she had a nickname for everyone in the office and even if it wasn’t an endearing one, it was said in such a way that it always brought a smile and a laugh.
Dawn set high standards – I recall not answering my desk phone (admittedly now a thing of the past) within three rings and so Dawn picked it up at her desk and took a message from one of my clients for me… Dawn wasn’t overly critical on that occasion, but the point was made in a subtle way and in future I made sure to answer my ‘phone asap and certainly before she could pick it up!
About eight years after leaving Deloitte, I was presented with the opportunity of a career choice and it tells something of Dawn’s character that she was the person I went to (and the only person I turned to outside of family) when mulling that choice. Some comments during that discussion are too personal to share here, but needless to say, I left Dawn that day in the sure knowledge that I could be and do whatever I wanted to achieve and the sky was my limit. That may not have been true – but that is how Dawn left me feeling.
Whilst the ultimate professional and encourager, Dawn was also great fun to be around and it was difficult to be with her and not smile. I have fond memories of working alongside her during her time as Chair in Ulster Society of Chartered Accountants – another arena that she encouraged me to get more actively involved in. During her illness, and particularly in 2020 (during C-19 restrictions), we exchanged a couple of letters / messages and I have just re-read over one she sent me – unsurprisingly it is filled with optimism and encouragement, despite the difficult health challenges Dawn was facing at that time.
Dawn was a very special person, whose faith shone through, and I know that I am only one of many who she encouraged to be the best version of themselves and to aspire to the highest standards and similarly to encourage others. My condolences to Dawn’s family and close friends and thank you so much for sharing her with us. With sincere sympathy, John Mathers.