Q&A: Pascale Helyar-Moray, founder and CEO, Super-Rewards - Theadviser.com.au
WOMEN IN FINANCE MONTH: The founder and CEO of Super-Rewards, Pascale Helyar-Moray, took home the Entrepreneur of the Year and the Women in Finance Excellence Award at the Women in Finance Awards 2020, in recognition of her work establishing the website that pays cash back into super accounts. We find out what she thinks makes a good entrepreneur and her top career advice for women in finance.
What do you think is the mark of a good entrepreneur?
I think there are a few key aspects. The first is a higher risk appetite. The second is being prepared to open up, taking feedback and learning quickly – basically, leaving your ego at the door. The third is being able to pivot quickly. Another is being endlessly curious. I think the mark of a good entrepreneur is someone who blends all of these qualities together.
Who inspires you in business, and why?
In the business community, I think Shemara Wikramanayake is a role model. As CEO of Macquarie Bank, she’s a great example of being able to succeed in a highly competitive and male-dominated environment.
Other female role models in business include Cathie Reid, who grew Epic HealthCare from a chain of pharmacies into a multibillion-dollar company. Her growth story is the stuff of legend.
Naomi Simson is also someone I admire tremendously; her branding ability, at a business and personal level, is absolutely on point; her signature style became part of the Red Balloon brand, and made her immediately recognisable.
What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to do as a business lead/principal – and what did you learn from that experience?
The hardest part has definitely been when you have to let someone go from the business. Sometimes this is circumstances-related (e.g. COVID-19), or sometimes it’s because they are simply not the right fit for the role. In either situation, all you can do is keep communicating and keep them up to speed with what’s happening.
If budgets need to shrink, then flag that you’re revisiting the budgets and let them know why. If they’re not performing, make sure they are clear on what you need and why you need it. If you keep them up to speed – as difficult as it may be – then when you do have to part ways, it’s less of a shock for everyone.
What advice would you give to other female business leaders looking to succeed in the finance industry?
Female business leaders in finance tend to have started their careers in finance, they don’t necessarily come across from other industries. In which case, my message to those women in finance is to simply stay the course.
The finance industry is slowly changing to become less male-oriented, even though the rate of change may appear glacial at times. There are increasingly more opportunities for women in finance – board roles, company composition, and a general heightened awareness of the need for more women in finance.
I’m reminded of that old adage: “You’ve got to be in it, to win it”. The same is true here: you can’t succeed as a woman in finance if you’ve stepped out of the industry.
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