In commemorating and celebrating International Women’s Day, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Omada’s Chief Financial Officer, Gry Collignon, for an informal chat about her career journey, and what it means to be a woman in finance, cybersecurity, and in the C-Suite. Here are a couple of excerpts from our discussion.
Lisa: Gry, it’s great that we get to do this. Why don’t we start and you tell me a little bit about your background, where you started your career and how you ended up at Omada?
Gry: Thanks Lisa! So, I actually started my career working in Telco as a Financial Controller. I’ve always been very curious and enjoy working with numbers, and really like to work on the financial side of things while still understanding and learning about the business. I feel fortunate to have had a wide variety of experiences and roles where I learned a lot and was exposed to a wide variety of financial tasks, cultures and experiences.
Lisa: Very interesting, and if you don’t mind sharing, perhaps you can highlight a couple of experiences along your journey?
Gry: In my time as CFO at the PE owned security company Verisure, I was a part of growing the Danish company from 90 to 800 people in 5 years, while more than doubling revenues. After that, I was head hunted by another PE firm to take over the financial operations as Group CFO at a live entertainment company and guide them through a process of acquiring 12 different companies, merging them, and making the aggregated company operational.
However, I think the important thing to note here, which goes for all my achievements that I look back on with pride, is that I always try to dive into not just the financial components of my job but to also understand the broader business context. By being curious, open minded and understanding the deeper business situation, the people and what certain decisions mean across all functions, I have been able to make the periods of rapid growth as smooth and seamless as possible.
Lisa: Could you mention any lessons learned from your journey?
Gry: Never become complacent! This is something that I have always been very focused on. I’m always striving for better, always trying to push myself and my colleagues to think outside the box. Challenging ourselves. As a woman working in finance, which historically has been dominated by males, I have never seen gender as being inhibitive to my career, but rather being sometimes advantageous. I have always thought I bring a fresh perspective to the different board rooms or executive meetings where I participate, and I get things done without ego.
Lisa: Do you have any words or mottos that you live by?
Gry: One of my earliest bosses said, “if you can’t look after the small money, you can’t look after the big ones.” I’ve found this to be very true, and these are words I try to live by every day. The devil is in the details and every penny counts.
Lisa: Any other advice that you would like to pass along to women looking to make a career in technology, finance, or the intersection of the two?
Gry: Go for it! The great thing I’ve found with a career in finance is that it doesn’t matter what business you are in, you can’t argue with logic, numbers, and hard work. So, it’s all about having the courage to go for what you want, whether that’s becoming a CFO, or a personal endeavor, it’s all the same. You just have to stick to your beliefs, trust yourself and most important of all: have fun with what you are doing and enjoy the ride.