CFO GUEST: Russell Lester of Versapay
Russell Lester: I remember being in the middle of transitioning out of working from multi-billion dollar companies and moving into the startup world. Smaller companies and operational work that I really had little to no prior experience and that’s a vulnerable place to be. Anytime we’re learning something new, there’s great vulnerability and there’s the potential of, and there is the certainty and potential of failure or getting some things wrong. And I remember thinking, I don’t have what it takes to take this new direction in my career. And I was genuinely suffering from what people call imposter syndrome. And my leader at the time said, ‘Russell, I hired you because you’re the hardest working person I know and you get stuff done.’ And I started to reflect on that.Read More
This leader believed in me, but I didn’t believe in myself even though I was one of the youngest promoted VPs of FP & A back at a previous company, one of the youngest to attain my executive MBA.
I had no shortage of having to prove myself in my career, but it was this moment of realizing all of us, no matter our pedigree, academic achievement title, we’re all continuing to learn and evolve. And I’m not going to be the smartest person in the room and I don’t need to be, what I need to do is have that special ingredient which is curiosity. And I remember it hitting me the fuel behind every career move I had ever made and the fuel behind what brought me to the next level was that insatiable need to know why, because I was so hungry and curious and I would take the next step or two, or three or four, I would uncover that hard to find elusive answer to questions that people had. And when that clicked, I realized I can harness that curiosity and that that need to know why. And just about any role, this transcends finance. So the finance strategic moment is figuring out that what motivates you and what that special ingredient is what you bring to the finance function or any function, and you bring it with your whole heart because that’s what makes you, you. And that’s what makes you able to contribute something. Something only you can contribute.
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