From the desk of GERALDINE CASHMAN, Group Financial Controller at Datalex PLC
Describe your role?
I manage the finance team at Datalex, which is a public company. My role is a stimulating and varied one, which covers corporate and regulatory reporting, budgeting and strategic planning, business partnering as well as corporate expansion in a fast -paced digital commerce market, requiring intricate and complex planning and analysis.
The company in context?
Datalex is a global market leader in digital commerce software for travel retailers. Many of the world’s leading airlines use our platform to sell their products, including Aer Lingus, JetBlue Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Air China. Each year, over one billion shoppers use our software to shop for their travel needs. It’s an exciting industry: travel accounts for over 30 per cent of the $1.5 trillion global online commerce market.
The company’s priorities in 2015?
Our priority now is to scale the business both in terms of operations, market reach and of course product innovation (especially in the areas of Big Data and payments). We have seven offices across Europe, the Americas and Asia and we recently opened our office in Beijing.
Your business goals?
The finance function in Datalex is at the centre of the decision-making and value creation process; I see myself as an important partner to the business, providing relevant insights for good decision-making. My goal is to ensure that the finance function provides commercial leadership to the broader organisation and meets the needs of a growing global business in a fast-paced technology sector. My own role is increasingly varied and demands that I stay focused on my own professional development, enhancing my analytical, strategic and people management skills to help drive enterprise value and sustainable growth for the business.
An accomplishment you are most proud of?
Recently completing a Diploma in Advanced Management Performance in the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. It was a juggling act: studying and completing assignments, while working through my busiest period at work. It helped me to develop my strategic thinking, enhance my leadership skills – particularly through emotional intelligence, create a personal development plan and expand my capacity to lead cross-functional initiatives and projects.
What keeps you awake at night?
That depends on the latest challenge, although I do try not to worry too much and above all, if I have to work at night to meet a deadline, I try to give myself sufficient time to relax before bedtime. It helps to have a great team to depend on too.
How you handled a difficult situation?
My philosophy is to keep calm and try to visualise a positive outcome rather than focusing on the problem. It is important to actively listen to all parties involved and to discuss all options with colleagues and management to be equipped with the information to make a decision or resolve a situation.
Some adjectives people you have worked with might use to describe you?
Positive, committed, focused, results–driven, determined.
Useful ways to engage clients or suppliers?
I believe that you need to have a carefully planned, well-structured meeting. I also like to get to know clients and suppliers over breakfast or lunch – an easy decision.
Pastimes outside of the office?
I run a lot. It helps me figure things out until I get to 10k or 12k and then I think about nothing! I am currently training for a half-marathon in July. I’m from Cork and a hurling fan so I look forward to the championship season. I love getting back to Cork to see family and friends. There’s nothing like a long walk on Youghal beach to clear the cobwebs.
From the June 2015 issue of THE GLOSS Magazine.