Treasury Talent

Future Treasurer: how enterprise leadership puts treasury centre stage

Published: Nov 2023
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When Treasury Today Group and Allspring Global Investments hosted their 2023 workshop for the Future Treasurer series in New York, the discussion focused on enterprise leadership and how treasury can nurture influence across a business. Elsewhere, panellists and attendees discussed the importance of taking risks and the 5Ps to get right ahead of a crunch meeting.

Allspring Future Treasurer New York

Lynda McGoey, Managing Director, Global Head of Trade Finance at General Electric Company & GE Capital Corporation, says her career is testimony to the importance of trying new things and being brave. Lynda has been at GE for 25 years, but she started out on Wall Street, an intern in college on the floor of the New York Futures Exchange (NYFE).

Allspring Future Treasurer New York

After the NYFE, upon college graduation she joined Texaco, working in FX, commercial paper and corporate finance learning how treasury supports the companies’ goals and objectives and the importance of operational excellence. It was only when she stepped into other areas of the oil group’s treasury function that she discovered trade finance, her natural home. “Be brave, try all areas of treasury rotational programmes, which are an excellent way to learn new skills and build relationships” she said, speaking during Treasury Today Group and Allspring Global Investments Future Treasurer series in New York.

In conversation with Sophie Jackson, Treasury Today Group’s Head of Strategic Content, Lynda said not having experience of a particular element of treasury isn’t a barrier to entry. Some people on her team didn’t have trade finance experience when they applied but had other critical skillsets that would be complementary and enhance the team dynamics. “Don’t be dissuaded to apply because you lack a certain skillset, have the conversation and express your interest in a new role,” she said. One of her main focuses during interviews centres around ascertaining how much candidates are willing to learn, do they have leadership abilities, where do they believe they will add value, are they are team player and will their personality match. “We all want to like the people we work with, and enjoy being around,” she said.

Allspring Future Treasurer New York

Fellow speaker India Gary-Martin lent her leadership expertise to the conversation. Much of her work centres on fostering enterprise leadership, encouraging people to extend their influence beyond their specific role and function to develop a broad understanding of the wider business. In a treasury context, this means developing an understanding of how treasury impacts on other elements of a business-like operations and sales, for example. “Enterprise leadership involves developing the capacity to look across the organisation,” she said.

It means developing influence across the wider business, something that can be challenging because it is difficult to influence events beyond our immediate sphere and team. Enterprise leadership involves bringing people to the table, she continued, explaining that his involves persuading people outside our direct influence to buy into new ideas. One way to anticipate colleagues’ potentially negative responses is to have solutions at the ready. “Know what other people’s non-negotiables are – influence isn’t magic. It involves preparation,” she said.

India’s advice was echoed by Lynda who counselled on the importance of tailoring ideas or initiatives around new projects to managers and stakeholders’ key priorities. For example, presenting a project to a manager who is primarily focused on the bottom line, should highlight the benefits and the ROI. “Go in prepared,” said Lynda, adding pre-meeting preparation is critical and should focus on the so-called 5Ps – proper preparation prevents poor performance. “Understand your manager and stakeholders needs and what is impactful to them.”

Work-life balance

The conversation also touched on the importance of time management and ensuring a work-life balance. Lynda, currently working longer-than-usual hours supporting the ongoing break-up of GE into three publicly traded companies, ensures she continues to prioritise networking, team coaching and speaking events along with tending to her family of 7’s needs. “GE is not going to close because I’m not at my desk for a day,” she joked, urging delegates to make time for the things they care about and lean into those with knowledge and advice when work gets complicated – you, your family and the company will benefit.

Allspring Future Treasurer New York

If she stays in the office late one night, the next she will try and leave on time. She also urged attendees challenged with a heavy load to communicate as early as possible with their managers and work on a plan to balance the workload.

India, who worked in investment banking roles in different locations around the world, credited her enthusiasm to travel to career progression. “For me it was location,” she said. “It gave me a different perspective. We learn most when we make ourselves uncomfortable.”

Jeff Weaver, Senior Portfolio Manager and Head of Global Liquidity Solutions at Allspring Global Investments, where he oversees a US$190bn MMF portfolio and US$21bn in short duration separate accounts for corporate clients, agreed his willingness to relocate had opened doors. One pivotal, early career decision included deciding to leave Wall Street and head to San Francisco to join Wells Fargo in 1994. “Don’t let opportunities go,” he said.

The conversation touched on slow progress in DEI. The difficult economic climate leaves companies wholly focused on making money. Elsewhere DEI concepts are often complex to grasp and cloud the debate. India suggested simplifying DEI by focusing on our shared humanity – and efforts to ensure everyone has a way to succeed.

Allspring Future Treasurer New York

Panellists and attendees discussed the importance of intergenerational sharing. For example, facilitating collaboration between rising stars and senior leaders combines expertise around innovation on one hand and human behaviour on the other. “It’s about inclusion,” said India. “Older people don’t always feel relevant and younger people say they don’t have the skills. We still haven’t figured out how to access the best of every person we have.”

After a delicious buffet lunch, roundtable discussions included how to communicate with people we find difficult and the role of leaders around motivation. Successful management requires pushing different buttons, and recognising what is important to colleagues – for some it may be a job title, for others it is working from home. Roundtable discussions also focused on the importance of understanding expectations, and levelling what is expected, particularly in project management. Other tenets of good leadership include giving credit when credit is due, and amplifying others.

This November, Allspring Global Investments hosts Allspring U in San Francisco. The event will bring the treasury community together to learn more about liquidity management, cash balance sheet investing, portfolio construction, leadership, and other key treasury skills.

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