Meet Moira Robertson, Chief Financial Officer – GE Energy, Western Europe, Bracknell
Meet Moira Robertson, Global Program Manager – Cash Initiatives for GE Energy. Discover her secret to managing a successful GE career and family. In addition to the below interview questions, you can listen to her podcast interview at JobsinPods.
What is your current role?
I am currently the CFO for our Energy business in Western Europe – a $6B business. I’m also the co-lead for GE’s Women’s Network in the UK and Ireland and Programme Manager for the Energy FMP programme in Europe.
How did you start your working life?
I started out committed to do anything other than have an office job working indoors from 9-5.30 ! I certainly had never planned to work in finance. I left university, having studied French and German (because I liked talking to people), to find that that skillset really qualified me for very little. An immediate re-think was necessary; for my first job I went to work in the European Headquarters of an American software company, speaking to their European customers, persuading them to pay invoices.
What has been the journey to that role in terms of other career milestones?
My journey from my very humble beginnings has been helped and accelerated through my willingness to face into new challenges and taking advice from a number of trusted mentors along the way. I committed to a career in finance, qualified as an accountant, completed an MBA, all the while working full time taking progressively larger challenges.
I worked with Blockbuster / Viacom for 7 years, taking bigger and differently focused roles (controllership, FP&A, systems implementation, programme management, acquisition integration) until there was nothing more I could learn in that environment. I took a leap of faith in joining Enron, and 5 years later, 18 months of that being post-bankruptcy, I joined GE in July 2003 as Commercial Finance Manager. In 2008 I was asked to step up as Energy Services CFO in Europe which grew into the current Energy wide role last year.
When did you decide you wanted to take this career route?
I’m not sure that I ever consciously did. I wanted to be challenged mentally and to continue learning. Most of the steps I’ve taken have been opportunities which presented themselves, I’ve evaluated the potential benefits and downsides and as a result taken some steps that perhaps I may not have considered had I had a more formal career route in mind.
What do you enjoy most about my current role?
I love helping other talent develop, coaching and mentoring to see new talent flourish.
Have you had an important mentor along the way?
Over the years, particularly during my time at GE, I’ve had a few informal mentors; people whom I trust and respect their opinions. I can rely on them to ask me the tough questions about things and challenge me to keep an open mind about opportunities.
How has GE helped you progress in your career?
In so many ways…. The formal training available, online and face to face is a given, but our environment is always changing offering lots of room to grow the role I’m in. Having a relatively flat structure, I’ve been fortunate enough to get exposure and build great relationships with some key senior leaders and, of course, the opportunity to co-lead the Women’s Network has been a terrific leadership opportunity outside of finance.
What tips and advice would you give young women starting out?
Very similar to those I would give to any young talent regardless of gender.
See every role as a learning opportunity…. Don’t move until you’re done learning where you are. Find good counsel to give you trusted advice along the way.. be curious, ask questions
Don’t try and be someone you’re not… stay authentic, believe in yourself and communicate / manage expectations well. I’m a single mum with big career and I do find my own balance… and that balance has changed as my daughter has gotten older and the personal demands change.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
Certainly with GE…. With so much opportunity here, I don’t see any need to look elsewhere. That said with an environment as dynamic as ours, 5 years from now that could be doing anything…!
In your words, why do you think GE has been named one of the Times Top 50 companies for women?
Quite simply their commitment to provide opportunities for women to have the big role, if they want it. Through my role in the Network, I’ve been privileged to see first-hand quite how committed our leadership team here in the UK (and beyond) is to diversity at all levels in the organisation. I’m thrilled to be a part of our diversity initiative and hope, that as a leader, we can continue to inspire young women to believe that a big career is possible here.