We are proud of the successes of our Alumni and their contributions to a diverse range of businesses.
Moving to the movie business.
A former accountant from London is now responsible for the financials for an LA-based tech company that helps people discover movies, buy tickets and share their own views.
Chief Financial Officer, Fandango
I was born and raised in the north of England, in a town called Bolton. I was an academic and studious child, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do for my career. At the University of Nottingham, I did my economics degree to keep my options open.
After graduation, I took a gap year to travel and I had some temporary clerical jobs. Then I interviewed with the Big Six accounting firms, and PwC immediately stood out because of the people. Everyone I met was highly driven, bright and hard-working, but they were also fun and welcoming. I felt compelled by how deeply PwC believed in, and invested in, its people.
PwC taught me to treat people the way I’d expect to be treated. To this day, I expect people to work hard and try their best. I expect high results. But I’m reasonable. I learned that early on, because I was always expected to work hard but I was also always supported by my team leaders. The PwC training in fundamental skills and people management made a massive difference in my career.
After about a year in auditing at PwC, I moved into transaction services, and I stayed there for another three years. It was great, rewarding work, but it was also demanding. As I started to think about next steps, I was fortunate to get an opportunity with General Motors in London, in a strategy and business development role. It was an ideal transition from doing due diligence to actually implementing and operationalizing transactions.
From there, I went to General Electric. Because obviously, I’m driven to companies that have “general” in the name! At GE, my role was financial planning and analysis in one of the financial services divisions. I was about two years into my role when a colleague who had moved over to the Universal portfolio gave me a call and asked me to consider an assistant controller role. Honestly, I wasn’t sure I could do it, but I really liked the people in that part of the business, so I took a leap of faith and I took the job in 2006. I have to admit, there were some long, painful nights in the beginning, but it was also a lot of fun. So that was my initial transition into the film group. I ended up staying there, with five different roles within the film group, for more than 12 years. In 2015, we moved from London to Los Angeles. And then, a few months ago, I moved over to Fandango, which is majority-owned by NBCUniversal.
I’m proud of making my finance teams being recognized as business partners, and much more than functional support. I think the success I’ve had so far really comes from a combination of factors—being in the right place at the right time, a bit of luck and a lot of hard work.
It’s great to be in a position where I’m influencing and driving what’s happening in the business—weighing the short-term risks and opportunities against long-term strategic direction. I feel like I can make a difference in this role. And I have a fantastic team: the best part is getting to work with them, and helping to develop and grow our talent.
I think they’d say that I’m always striving to learn new things. Absolutely, that’s what still gets me out of bed in the morning. I also hope they’d say that I’m a people person. While I tend to be driven in terms of delivering results, I strongly believe in taking time to invest in relationships at all levels.
High intellect. Proven experience. And team fit.
When I’m not at work, I want to spend as much time as possible with my husband and our eleven-year-old daughter. I also try to find time for exercise and, of course, catching up on TV shows and movies.
Take risks and don’t be afraid of change. Always think about the long game. No matter what, you’re always going to learn something from a new experience that could lead to new opportunities. You never know what lies ahead.
This interview was conducted and edited by Jen Swetzoff, founder of CLOSEUP, a creative content studio in Brooklyn. She was formerly the deputy managing editor at strategy+business magazine.
US Alumni Network Manager, PwC US
US Alumni Network Manager, PwC US