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Treasury Management

Sharing Challenges, Woman to Woman

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March 27, 2019

Martina Hund-Mejean Photo
Martina Hund-Mejean, Mastercard CFO 

Women in finance exchange career and life experiences, and how the two fit together. 

NeuGroup has long encouraged women to join peer groups, but recent feedback from current female members pointed to a need for a space where women in finance could network, mingle and share the unique and difficult challenges they face. Thus, Women in NeuGroup, or WiNG, was born, meeting for the first time in New York in early March.

In the initial WiNG story, the takeaways centered on strategic information from keynote speaker Martina Hund-Mejean, CFO of Mastercard and a NeuGroup treasurer-group alum, on how she managed her successful career. The following takeaways focus more on some of the shared views and experiences of Ms. Hund-Mejean and others in the audience.

  • Don't burn bridges—ever! A career will never be without some disagreements, especially if you occassionally have sharp elbows. Pause and pick your battles: Speak your mind but accept that you can't always have it your way.
  • Lead beyond finance. At the intersection of finance and the business units, communication is key. Use examples that resonate with the business, showing them how treasury can "put points on the board" for them and help them understand what treasury needs in return.
  • Mentor? Check. Now, get a sponsor. One of the participants mentioned a sponsorship initiative at her company designed to get more women to advance to senior roles. Unlike a mentor who may or may not work with you now, a sponsor should be someone at your company who is familiar with both business's needs and your capabilities. When the right opportunity comes up, you want to have an advocate (already) in your corner. Ms. Hund-Mejean mentioned that earlier in her professional life she was lucky enough to have two to three people at GM who took an interest in her career—in other words, sponsors. And she considers her current CEO to be a mentor.
  • Take roles where you can learn how to manage people. You can only progress so far without experience in managing a team. Take opportunities that allow you to learn people management and team leadership, even if the role isn't exactly a promotion. The skill is essential to progression later.
  • If you want the corner suite, actively pursue a role as CFO of a business unit within your organization. Ms. Hund-Mejean strongly suggested that if you are interested in making the leap from treasurer to CFO, you first need to learn how to effectively run a business line.
  • Recognize when you need to step back for a while—to better manage family commitments, for example. Not step out altogether, but perhaps to a less intense role. Similarly, only you can fully understand your daily juggling act before and after work; so speak up if shifting early morning or late afternoon meetings is necessary for your participation.
  • Always call out bad behavior. When one participant asked, "Are some 'toxic' behaviors worse now, or am I just noticing them now?" there were multiple heads nodding in recognition that she's just noticing them more now that she is "higher up" where the male/female ratio is greater. Ms. Hund-Mejean encouraged everyone to jump in whenever necessary to call out bad behaviors and continue to change the environment for women for the better.

The next Women in NeuGroup (WiNG) networking event will be held on May 1, 2019 in San Francisco, hosted by Salesforce. For more information email WiNG@neugroup.com. 

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