Our Stories: Jude Sclater

Written by Bronwyn Huband.

If you’ve been lucky to meet or work Jude Sclater you’ll know how great she is at asking the right kind of questions to spark thought and conversation. She’s been a mentor in our mentoring groups for the past four years and many of us have been lucky enough to work with her.Jude Sclater NZBWN website size

Just over a year ago, after being made redundant, she decided to go it alone – a scary prospect but one she says is about going with what makes you happy and gives you time to think. It’s quite fitting that her coaching is called Think with Jude.

We recently caught up with her ahead of her next mentoring group Career Accelerator, which is starts in March. It’s open to any NZBWN members looking to push their career forward in the next six months.


Jude is from Titahi Bay in Porirua and has been in the UK for nearly 13 years. Like many of us, she had itchy feet and didn’t want to miss out on the cool stuff her friends were up to in London. In the end her move was forced by the age limit for a Highly Skilled Visa. Like many of us, most of her friends have ended up back in NZ, but she’s stayed because of the big city.

“I like living in a large cosmopolitan city that has such a rich history and where it's easy to travel to somewhere new in a matter of hours. It's like I'm in the middle of what is happening in the world. London is full of opportunities and I have made a wonderful group of friends here who have a similar lifestyle to me. London also gives me more opportunities to do the work I love.”

We asked Jude some questions about her career and starting her own business

Describe your CV in a few sentences?
Executive coach and founder of Think with Jude, helping organisations build a diverse pipeline of female talent for senior leadership positions.
I graduated with a BA Psych and BCA Info Sys from Victoria University in Wellington and spent a year in Brazil teaching business English to adults. I then trained as an internal auditor with Deloitte, and worked for Pearson in London. I then swapped roles as a project manager at Penguin and completed an MSc in Organisational Behaviour.
I moved back to Deloitte where I retrained as an executive and team coach to support senior risk and audit staff.

What was your dream career when you were young?
I wanted to be an accountant, my uncle is an accountant and I looked up to him, I even handled the family budget! By secondary school I'd moved on and wanted to be a psychologist but I didn't really know what that meant except that it had something to do with understanding why people do the things they do.

What made you set up your business?
I got made redundant from Deloitte. After a few months of looking for something new I didn't find anything that lit a spark in me. My husband was the one that suggested I try freelancing. Then out of the blue a past client from Deloitte got in touch and asked if I did private coaching and Think with Jude was born.

What are your plans for your business?
I want to help organisations do business better by helping them build a solid pipeline of diverse female talent for senior leadership positions. My plan is to grow my reputation to be the go-to person for boutique consulting firms to get that support.

What’s your advice to other people wanting to start their own business?
Start talking to people about your ideas immediately. It took me about eight months to be clear on who I am and what I'm selling. Each conversation got me a little bit closer and also meant my network knew I was in business. Make sure you build a support network of other business owners and meet with them regularly to get and give support. It’s lead to me being clearer about what I do, being bolder with my fees, and not giving up.

What’s your number one career tip?
Talk to everyone, tell them what you're doing, what you'd like to be doing and find out the same for them. The best opportunities come from out of the blue because of a conversation that you can't even remember

Who inspires you most and why?
There is not one particular person, I'm inspired by people who have had success later in life, by people who keep going despite the odds being against them and my clients who find unique ways to live their dreams, much better than anything I could tell them.

If you want some top tips from Jude you can read a series we are running on progressing your career in our monthly newsletter or follow her on LinkedIn and also sign up to her newsletter.