Deepa Shah


Founder of Lab Eight.

Lab Eight specialises in part time operational and strategic CFO support, and board advisory.  Working with fast growth businesses in technology, healthcare, market research and insights, and creative communications.  We help Start Ups, SMEs and Entrepreneurs to grow smartly and achieve sustainable operations.

Deepa Shah Lab Eight

 
Can you tell us about your career background and how you got to the position you are in today?
 
Having been unsuccessful in securing a job in the City, I had to rethink my career plan after university.  So I joined a small brand and comms agency as their office junior, until I figured out what I wanted to do with my life.  It was meant to be a 6 month stop gap, but I loved agency life and I loved the people.  I found that I had opportunities to grow and learn.  I was also incredibly ambitious.  We sold the agency to Omnicom around 4 years after I joined.  I stayed on and I worked my way through every single finance role up to CFO for its EMEA and APAC operations over a period of 19 years.  I then went on to become UK CFO for Publicis Sapient, before setting up my own fractional CFO consultancy, Lab Eight in 2020.

What or who inspired you to achieve the success you have had?
 
My grandmother inspired me mostly.  She was fearless.  My parents have played a huge part in the way I motivate myself as well.  They came from poverty and I have seen how hard they have worked to ensure my sisters and I had better lives than they did when they were growing up.  So that keeps the pressure on me not to mess up. Success is also a mindset.  I define it as doing work whilst making an impact, making a difference, an adding value. 

What’s the best part of your job?
 
Every bit of it.  I love my job.  It doesn’t feel like a job.  I don’t get Sunday night blues or count the days to the weekend. Being able to interact with so many different clients and agencies is a dream.  And I learn so much from them all.

What are your interests outside of work?
 
I love cooking.  I find it incredibly therapeutic.  Food plays a big role in my life.  I love seeing the world and learning about new cultures.

How do you celebrate success?
 
I celebrate it every day at the end of the day with a bit of reflection.  I reflect on what I have done that day and where I have made an impact or added value.  Even the smallest thing is a win.     

What career advice would you give your younger self?
 
Integrity is everything.  Always be fair.  Be nimble enough to adapt when you need to. Learn one new thing every day.  You are better than you think so believe in yourself.

What happens when you get stuck?
 
I talk to one of my mentors.

What book are you reading right now?
 
Life in Pieces by Dawn o’Porter. 

What two items would you have with you if you were stranded on a desert island?
 
Haribos and SPF.

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