It has not always been plain sailing for Princy Royce, Treasury Manager – Middle East, Africa and India at National Oilwell Varco, during her career. Difficult bosses and the need to balance a family and a career are just two notable challenges that she has had to overcome. Now Princy is very much focused on the future and supporting those climbing the career ladder.
Treasury Manager – Middle East, Africa
Tell us about your career path – why treasury?
Banking and finance have always been in my blood as my father was a Senior Banker in the UAE. I decided to follow a similar path and qualified as a Chartered Accountant. I began my career as an accountant with PwC before moving to work as a Private Banker at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Within three years, I decided that I needed to do something different. Banking was not giving me the satisfaction I was seeking. The target-oriented nature of the profession did not suit my way of working and did not interest me professionally.
Corporate treasury was the best fit with my accountancy and banking background. However, at this point, the profession was in its nascent stages in the UAE. Few ‘pure treasury’ jobs existed, especially as most foreign organisations ran treasury in the UAE from Europe or America.
However, there were lots of trade finance and FX risk management roles available with local oil companies. My first treasury role was with an oil trading firm as a Treasury Analyst, working on the commodity hedging and trade finance side of the business. I later moved to an Omani listed marine business which was going through its IPO listing process, working primarily in corporate finance.
The opportunity to broaden my geographical remit – and establish a regional treasury at National Oilwell Varco – was too good to turn down. I joined the company in 2013 and have not looked back since.
What challenges have you encountered climbing the career ladder and how were these overcome?
Personally, like many women, it has been tough balancing home and work. I am lucky that I have a great social support system and my family to help me take care of my children, enabling me to focus on my job.
I never took up flexi working or sabbaticals when my children were born. I wanted to fast-track my career growth and did not want to be ‘left behind’. I have seen biases in the region where women are unfairly penalised for doing so.
This was not an easy decision but I believe my children will understand and be inspired by my ability to multitask and appreciate the fact that the time I spend with family is quality time.
On the professional front, the biggest challenge early in my career was working for difficult and aggressive bosses, who were not willing to give the recognition deserved, or help you move forward in your career. There was a sense of insecurity amongst many in the organisation and as a result, juniors moving up the ranks were often perceived as “threatening”. This was mainly because many women had to prove that they could take up the same amount or even higher responsibilities despite having families.
I think that this dynamic has changed in recent years. I personally am very conscious of ensuring that my team get the credit and recognition they deserve and NOV is a great organisation in providing a dynamic and independent work environment with no gender bias. I also ensure that any bankers that we work with that do a good job also get recognition as I know what a tough industry it can be.
The positive side of working in challenging environments is that the learning curve is quite steep and accelerated. Eventually I consider every experience that I gained as an opportunity for further learning.
Have you had mentors in your career and if so how important have these been in aiding your career progression?
I have been very fortunate to work for some great people who have brought out the best in me.
In my current organisation, the Treasurer and the Finance Director have been my key mentors. They provide invaluable advice in terms of the way I should approach issues, challenging and coaching me to be successful not only in my current role but as a well-rounded resource to the organisation.
I am also inspired by my mother and mother-in-law too. They are superwomen in their respective fields, juggling great careers and family so effectively.
What is your motto in life?
Be human. Understand and empathise with situations and people that work with you and ensure positivity and better interpersonal relationships.
I respect knowledge and skills that are acquired through formal education and experience. However, intangibles like right attitude towards work and people, positivity, self-motivation and team spirit, fuel creativity and better productivity in the workplace. I strongly believe that emotional intelligence is a proven differentiator in the competitive climb up the corporate ladder.
If there is one thing you would have done differently in your career path, what would that be?
I believe that experience is the best teacher. I wish that I had taken more advantage of opportunities afforded to me to travel and work overseas earlier in my career.
However, I have no regrets and I plan to do this going forward. I aim to one day run a global treasury operation, based in one of the world’s top financial centres.