For Angela, encouraging others has always come naturally. “As a little girl, I was an all-in-one fashionista and hair stylist,” she explains. “I would spend lots of time with my friends, customising their natural look, making hair colours in unique ways, and selecting styles that complemented their personalities.”
As an adult, Angela has taken these skills and honed them, developing several staff members from entry-level positions to middle-management department heads. “I am really passionate about making a sustainable difference in people’s lives in a creative way to reflect their inner beauty and bring out their natural gifts and talent,” she adds.
Alongside developing individuals, Angela spends much of her time helping communities – and actively encourages aspiring treasurers to do the same. “If you have very little experience, I would suggest volunteering. I’m part of a non-profit, I was the treasurer for a while, I was the secretary for a while. Whatever skills they needed, I volunteered when I was free, and always free of charge,” she explains.
Up until recently, Angela served on Flying Food Group’s employee relief programme committee. The programme assists employees in need – for example, if someone needs to travel due to family bereavement. “We have this fund that helps them get the transportation, get over there, deal with the expenses. And it’s totally funded by the employees and the company.” She adds that she only stepped down from the committee due to time constraints.
Those time constraints haven’t stopped her ambition, though. Angela has two next major objectives – both focused on helping those in need. For one, she wants to start her own credit union. “I would like to educate women and other businesses in managing money and understanding how money really works,” she explains.
Secondly, Angela and her team are working towards a company goal to provide fully funded medical coverage to all employees (coverage is currently partially funded). “I think my credit union will probably come sooner, but I hope not. I hope the medical coverage comes first,” she says.
Education is imperative
Key to Angela’s initiatives has been her ability to grow with her company. “I started with Flying Food Group when the company was a start-up, and I feel like because I did, I had so many unique experiences. If you’re focusing on trying to get in a big organisation that’s well-established, a lot of times those processes and procedures are also already established,” she explains. However, she notes that to go down the start-up path, having a mentor is a necessity. “Some things you are just not going to know, and that mentor will help you get those skills and those abilities.”
Mentors can be key to a treasurer’s education, and with three bachelor’s degrees and one master’s degree, education is certainly important to Angela. This includes any and all types of learning, from professional qualifications – Angela is a certified treasury professional (CTP) – to personal lessons, such as how to keep a good work-life balance.
A mentor can help with this, too. “Your mentor doesn’t necessarily have to be in treasury,” she explains. “But they do need those skills to be able to lead. You want to make sure that your leader has developed you to be a leader and you want to pass that on to others to become leaders too.” Passing on that skill isn’t just a good thing to do, it also helps improve the individual’s people skills.
With people skills comes the ability to accept people for who they are, focus on their strengths and realise that not everyone thinks the same way as yourself. “That’s one of the things I do when I meet individuals. I try to find that strength that they have, and focus on and develop that,” she notes.
To find a mentor, Angela recommends joining networks of like-minded professionals. For example, she is a member of the Association of Financial Professionals (AFP) and attends the Women of Power Summit. “Once you’re surrounded by like-minded people, the collaboration will expand,” she says.
For women, this collaboration is imperative. Angela has found the main challenge is not only getting a seat at the table, but staying at the table and having a compelling voice. “You definitely need patience,” she says. Not all work environments work in such a way that you can simply say ‘I’m trying to better women’, and so she notes that it sometimes requires a significant amount of strategy to ensure that any policy reaches the company’s goal, as well as the goal to better women.