Meet the 35 CAs under 35 mentors

OYCA mentors
By Eleanor O'Neill, CA Today

2 May 2017

As the deadline for entering the 2017 35 CAs under 35 and ICAS One Young CA, held in association with Investec Click & Invest, draws closer, we meet some of the industry-leading CAs who will be lending their time as mentors to the winning nominees.

Each category winner and the recipients of the Chief Executive and Global Excellence awards will have the opportunity to work toward their career goals with an experienced and successful fellow ICAS member.

The 2017 ICAS 35 CAs under 35 & One Young CA Mentors

George Cobb CADr George Cobb CA

Group Sustainability Accountant, SSE

  • Qualified as a CA with PwC.
  • 2007: Senior Associate at PwC.
  • 2010: Group Auditor at SSE.
  • 2012: Sustainability Accountant at SSE.
  • 2015: Group Sustainability Accountant at SSE.
  • Chair of the ICAS Sustainability Panel.
  • Vice Chair of the Prince's Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S).

What do you think you can offer as a mentor?

"I feel I can offer an honest and constructive opinion to help develop real personal and career growth through sharing my own experiences to date and that of my network of like-minded individuals."

What makes the 35 CAs under 35 list a good opportunity for young CAs?

"I believe that the 35 CAs under 35 competition provides a great opportunity for a very bright light to be shone over the vast amount of talented accountants who have trained with ICAS, and identify the few extra special ones who have the passion for going further and for succeeding in becoming our next great leaders."

What is your key advice for success?

"My key advice for success is that the glass is always half full. If you look for the positive in every situation, no matter how terrible it might first seem, you will soon become a wave of positive energy with unstoppable momentum."

Jo Fletcher CAJo Fletcher CA

CFO, PGA European Tour

  • Qualified as a CA with EY.
  • 2004: M&A Lead Advisor at Deloitte.
  • 2008: Vice President of Finance at TELUS.
  • 2014: Head of Finance, Group Technology Strategy, Delivery and Operations at Vodafone.
  • 2015: Chief Financial Officer of Americas Region at Vodafone.
  • 2017: Chief Financial Officer of PGA European Tour.

What do you think you can offer as a mentor?

"Unbiased advice in challenging situations as well as support and guidance on how to carve out a successful career path. I aim to be a sounding board for fresh ideas and can offer a perspective on a non-traditional, more commercial approach to business."

What makes the 35 CAs under 35 list a good opportunity for young CAs?

"The campaign raises brand awareness and introduces you to a high-level peer network; a community of like-minded individuals."

What is your key advice for success?

"Plan ahead and align yourself with those people in positions who can help you be successful. People hire people, not just skill sets. Be yourself, have an open mind for feedback and take opportunities that scare the hell out of you."

Ricky Munday CARicky Munday CA

Head of Corporate Services, British Antarctic Survey

  • Qualified as a CA with McCabes LLP.
  • 2005: Senior Auditor for Group Internal Audit at HBOS.
  • 2008: Senior Analyst at Bank of Scotland.
  • 2009: Began working with NGOs in Sudan.
  • 2010: Made Head of a Canadian Red Cross Business Support Unit in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.
  • 2014: Head of Corporate Services for the British Antarctic Survey.

What do you think you can offer as a mentor?

"I’ve lived and worked in seven countries on four continents in the private, public and third sectors, and built relationships in a variety of cultural settings. I’m an experienced expedition leader, having organised fifteen expeditions in the last decade. I understand the ethical dilemmas that CAs face.

"I’m keen to share this breadth of experience with the next generation of CA leaders to help them shape their own values and achieve their potential."

What makes the 35 CAs under 35 list a good opportunity for young CAs?

"The 35 CAs under 35 list is a fantastic opportunity for CAs to receive individual advice and support and develop a vision for their career. Being part of such a dynamic peer group should also bolster their professional confidence."

What is your key advice for success?

"My key advice for success is to be willing to take risks. In order to quickly gain management and leadership experience with no clear internal promotion route, I moved externally and my experiences within the Red Cross Movement were formative."

Laila Fernandez CALaila Fernandez CA

Head of Finance, Skullcandy International GmbH

  • Qualified as a CA with BDO LLP.
  • 2007: Accounts Assistant as BDO.
  • 2008: Financial Auditor at BDO.
  • 2011: Professional Education (Accountancy and Tax) Tutor for BPP.
  • 2014: Assistant Manager at Deloitte.
  • 2015: Head of Finance (EMEA & India) at Skullcandy International GmbH.

What do you think you can offer as a mentor?

"Bringing out the best in others and helping them to fulfil their potential is my passion. As a finance leader, I act as (and am received as) a coach and mentor to my team more than a manager; watching them grow and learn has been the most rewarding part of my role."

What makes the 35 CAs under 35 list a good opportunity for young CAs?

"It is a great opportunity for young CAs to showcase their talents and the contributions they have made to the wider community, which in turn can open the door to new exciting opportunities.

"The competition offers the chance to receive mentorship from other like-minded professionals who can share experiences, help them to reflect and to fulfil their potential."

What is your key advice for success?

"There are many ways to skin a cat; don’t get too fixated on things having to be done a certain way or, indeed, in someone else’s way. Find a path, a career, a passion which caters to your own personality and skill set. Be persistent and go for it!"

Peter Wood CAPeter Wood CA

Global Chief Operations Officer, AllSaints

  • Qualified as a CA with Arthur Andersen.
  • 2000: Group Finance Director at USC.
  • 2006: Director of Growth and Strategic Services (Scotland) at Grant Thornton.
  • 2007: Group Finance Director at Melville Capital.
  • 2008: Group Finance Director at Vets Now.
  • 2010: CFO at AllSaints Retail.
  • 2016: COO at AllSaints Retail.

What is your key advice for young CAs?

“As your career progresses into leadership, you will come across difficult challenges and I think it becomes increasingly important to be able to challenge yourself as to what a success looks like, rather than expect others to set that bar for you. This self-motivation is so important for identifying the positive value you, as an individual, can bring to a situation and focus in on delivering that.

"By doing this, I think you become more focused and more resilient and you will know in yourself when you are winning - this creates energy that your team will pick up on so that they can come on the journey with you and build real momentum towards success."

Read the full profiles of this year's mentors and find out more about the competition on the One Young CA website. Nominations are now open and awaiting your submission!

Investec Click & Invest, official Principal Partner of One Young CA 2017, is a new online actively managed investment management service for UK residents with £10,000 or more to invest. Launching soon.


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