Tell us about your career path and what particular experience has been most valuable to you along the way?
As with many treasury professionals I have met over the years, I sort of 'fell' into treasury. After earning my MBA I joined Pfizer’s Finance Rotational Development Programme. My first six-month rotation was in Treasury and it was love at first sight. I am not sure I even knew what Treasury was when I joined Pfizer, and in fact my first role was in Benefit Investments which was a very niche area – and still my favourite. After I discovered my passion for Treasury, I subsequently held numerous roles across all areas of Treasury at Pfizer, from Treasury Operations to Finance Director of the Dublin Treasury Centre and everything in between.
After enjoying over 10 years at Pfizer, I decided that I wanted to see Treasury from a different perspective so I joined ITT, a smaller company where managing the balance sheet was critical to the success and future growth of the company. After working on spinning ITT into three companies in a 10-month period, I remained at ITT industries with responsibility for treasury, investor relations and financial planning and analysis. Expanding beyond treasury took me out of my comfort zone but taught me even more about the business which allowed me to become a more effective Treasurer. When I was recruited for the role for Mylan, I was excited to return to my pharma roots, albeit on the generic side this time. That role challenged me more than any others up until that point – review some of the filings and articles from 2014-2017 and you will understand why! I definitely spent more time on Investor Relations than Treasury during that time. When the opportunity at Visa Inc. presented itself, I decided it was time to focus on treasury from a different perspective, once again.
When I look back on my career thus far, I think there were two turning points for me. The first was when I took an assignment that I was not particularly interested in, initially. I was asked to take on the role of Manager of the Treasury Operations function at Pfizer. I was going to need to implement a new treasury workstation and re-engineer the processes and procedures, as well as look at the organisational structure. I was relatively new in my career and this gave me the opportunity early on to manage a team. While it was definitely a challenge, I really developed as a leader during that time and recognised the importance of good systems, processes and most importantly people. The other turning point was moving abroad to work in the Dublin Treasury Centre. This really opened my eyes to how myopic I had been working in the NY office and not recognising other perspectives outside of “Corporate.”
What is the biggest challenge you currently face?
Resources! Not in the traditional sense; Visa is not unreasonable when it comes to budget or headcount, but in the sense that they need to be optimised. We are just kicking off a project to review our treasury technology architecture. This will result in a change in the systems we utilise across all areas of treasury globally and will subsequently result in a change to our processes and ultimately the organisational structure.
I look forward to seeing how robotic process automation (RPA) and blockchain technology further improve efficiency within treasury
How is the performance of your treasury group measured?
Organisationally we look at what was accomplished and how it was achieved, at the individual level. Objective setting is an important process that I take seriously and want everyone on my team to take seriously too. Our objectives need to align to the strategic priorities of the company and we need to be measured on how we help facilitate the company to meet those strategic priorities. We are keenly focused on partnership with the business and breaking down silos so that we can deliver a best in class treasury function.
What takes up most of your time?
I have just been with Visa for one year. Therefore a significant amount of my time is still spent working with the team on evaluating what systems and processes we need and then also trying to determine the best organisational structure for the team. A close second is learning to navigate the broader Visa organisation so that I can ensure treasury is aligned to the priorities of the company.
How has technology changed treasury?
Throughout my career I have spent a significant amount of time on treasury systems. While I have yet to find a treasury organisation that raves (positively) about their treasury workstation, they can and do enable our work in a more efficient manner. When implemented and utilised in the manner that they are meant to be used, they can reduce the time and effort spent on repetitive, administrative type of activities. Technology also enables a better control environment so that we do not spend as much time on audit activities and less manual intervention is required. I look forward to seeing how robotic process automation (RPA) and blockchain technology further improve efficiency within treasury!
What is your favourite hobby or sports team?
Since moving to the Bay Area my family has become big San Francisco Giants supporters – surprising since I was a big NY Yankees fan previously! Personally, I am a big soccer fan and love watching anyone play, especially my daughter and son!
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