- Many people struggle sustaining one career, but Holly Ord has found time to pursue two rewarding careers simultaneously.
- Yoga teacher and Director at Deloitte Australia, Holly Ord finds Bikram yoga helps improve her mental determination.
- Finance and accounting skills have helped this yoga enthusiast set up and run her own yoga business.
Holly Ord CA has found a rare mind and body connection with Deloitte Australia, whose flexible working provisions have allowed her to pursue a passion and fulfil her dream of starting a yoga business.
As a director, Ord works within the Perth Government Advisory team and assists clients in managing their operational performance. The teams’ aim is to enhance the profile of finance within the Western Australian public sector and get them a seat at the executive table as a trusted advisor.
“In this role I work with key government departments and agencies to support management in making sound, informed decisions in a timely manner. Our team does this by working closely with finance functions to reshape financial and management reporting ensuring that it meets the needs of management and the business.
“We aim to continuously improve the efficiency with which public funds are used.
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“The team and I work to deliver insights to chief financial officers and their teams through a range of projects centered on the Last Mile of Finance, including chart of accounts design, month-end close and automation, management reporting/dashboards. Also performance management and forecasting and improving the policies, systems and processes that enable the finance function,” Ord says.
Efficiency through flexibility
Ord’s extensive experience in accounting and finance has maximised her potential in a new space.
“My finance background has helped me tremendously in the yoga space as I drew on my skills while establishing the business. From putting together business plans to gain financing, to cost management of the fit out project through to the day-to-day running of the studio and managing accounts and administration.
We have a saying in the Bikram community, you don’t practice Bikram yoga to be better at yoga, you practice Bikram yoga to be better at life.”“Many of the skills I have gained throughout my career I can utilise within the yoga business,” Ord says.
Ord’s experience has equipped her with a set of skills beneficial in building her Hot for Yoga Bikram yoga business. And the new skills acquired by Ord during this process can be redrawn and transferred back to Deloitte Australia. A rare win-win scenario for both Ord and Deloitte.
“Running your own business gives you the opportunity to engage in so many different areas outside of your normal scope, such as marketing and negotiation skills, which I have then been able to extract back into my working life,” Ord says.
Dual career path
“I have been fortunate that Deloitte has provided a flexible working environment which allows me the balance to both work in finance and build my business,” Ord says.
Ord started her career in the Business Services team at a mid-tier accounting firm. From there she moved to the Department of Culture and the Arts where she held the position of Assistant Director of Finance.
“During that time I was lucky enough to gain a behind the scenes look at some of Perth’s well known cultural institutions including the Perth Theater Trust, ScreenWest, the Art Gallery of Western Australia and the Swan Bells Tower.”
After four years with the Department she took up an opportunity at Deloitte to help build the public sector advisory team.
Ord has managed to sustain a successful career in finance but what was the catalyst that led her to diversify and open her own Bikram yoga studio?
“Working as an accountant, I had the opportunity to work within other people’s businesses and I always knew that I would establish and run my own business one day. I had never been to a yoga class before but during my training for the New York Marathon a friend suggested I join them in attending a Bikram class as he said stretching in the heat would assist my recovery.
“The class was amazing and afterwards I felt not only like I had had a serious work out but also felt a sense of calmness. From that day I knew that this is what I wanted to do,” Ord says.
Maximise your potential
For Ord, the practice of Bikram yoga helps calm her for hours afterwards. Perhaps this is the key to overcoming some of the challenges women in business face.
“When I attended my first class I was only a few weeks out from competing in the New York Marathon so I had a reasonable level of fitness. The yoga teacher behind the counter was explaining to me if the class got a little too tough to just take a break and lay down.
“Having never done yoga before I was thinking, ‘I’m going to run 42kms, I think I can handle a little stretching on a yoga mat’. I was wrong. Within 20 minutes I was laying on the floor planning my escape.
“However it is that struggle that I ended up loving, it gave me mental determination that I can use in other parts of my life including distance running,” Ord says.
“I like the mental challenge Bikram Yoga provides. The class is tough, 90 minutes, 26 postures, 40 degree heat and no equipment to hide behind, just you and the mirrors.
“At the end of class you get a real sense of achievement but also a serene calmness which lasts hours after you get off your mat. There are many benefits to practicing Bikram Yoga and I get a great sense of joy from seeing people heal their bodies through this yoga.
“We have a saying in the Bikram community, you don’t practice Bikram yoga to be better at yoga, you practice Bikram yoga to be better at life.”
This article is part of a regular Women in Business column. To pursue her dream, Holly Ord CA balances her time between her role as an Advisory Director at Deloitte and her Bikram yoga studio ‘Hot For Yoga’.