Influential Businesswoman Awards 2023

38 Acquisition International - Influential Businesswoman Awards 2023 Best CFO Mentor Company Leader 2023 (Sydney): Alena Bennett lena Bennett is both a person and a consultancy business, known for working with Chief Financial Officers, and persons critical to the CFOs’ ecosystem. As a business, it serves a broad range of industries, but chooses to work with people who are on a mission to drive certainty and pursue excellence for their organisations. The remit of the CFO has changed significantly over the last few decades, creating exciting opportunities for growth, learning, and career opportunities. At the same time, global governance standards have evolved, with regulations tightening to encompass social and environmental priorities. The focus of the CFO on historical information has also moved on, with current expectations including accuracy of both historical and present financial information, with an insight into future performance. As such, it is fair to say that the requirements of a CFO have simultaneously broadened and deepened, whilst expectations of key stakeholders have increased. As a woman, Alena herself has overcome many leadership challenges in the field she operates in. She was certainly aware that when she began, she looked and acted distinctly different to typical finance leaders, and this gave her moments of self-doubt. Ultimately, however, she knew what her purpose was, and so she allowed herself the space she needed to think and breathe. She would recommend any women working in a similar corporate environments do the same, along with other useful advice such as surrounding yourself with the right people, including ones who inspire you, and ones who can help you get what you need. Balance people and outcomes, and be okay with getting things wrong sometimes. Obsess about high performance habits, and elevate your people with the understanding that ‘if you succeed, I succeed’. “I have brown skin, big hair, I smile a lot, and I like to learn about the people I’m working with. Those things are all at odds with what I experienced in my leadership journey. That said, those things have also been key to my success at different stages of my career.” Alena believes that the industry is getting better for women, and is noticing a higher number of female graduates coming through, but she does feel there is a natural tipping point. She is aware that the reality for many women is that there comes a point when they must decide whether the organisation they are working for supports their life goals. For example, Alena remembers saying she didn’t want to become a partner because she wanted to have a family, and didn’t see the two as compatible. At the time, her respected colleague and partner in the US firm where they both worked gave her the advice that she needed to be okay settling for a lower level of performance than her A May23069 Launched in 2017, Alena Bennett is an Australian consultancy business that focuses on elevating the impact the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) has on/for organisations. It works directly with CFOs, as well as with their executive team peers, board of directors, and finance leadership teams. perfectionist self was driving, but one that still meets expectations. If this is still a very good reflection of performance, it is totally possible to have a family whilst still achieving good performance ratings. This made Alena reconsider her opinion. Alena works with both male and female CFOs, finance leaders, and professionals, but she finds that those who gravitate towards her are quite naturally those who want to prioritise their personal pillars of high performance without sacrificing their careers. She does not have the desire to work with people who are just ‘all work’. Having started in 2017, after more than 2 decades of being a finance leader in both Australia and the US, she realised the impact positive leadership had on the outcomes of finance professionals, teams, and the organisations they support. Alena has written a number of books, the first one ‘Meaning Matters: Results Beyond the Numbers’ being aimed specifically at women in finance. She feels that it won’t come as a surprise to anyone to know that finance is male dominated, but she knows this is changing. She sees the role of the CFO as something that is only growing in importance, as it continues to increase in complexity. Working and bringing together CFOs and their organisations is something Alena feels very privileged to do, and she hopes she can help foster and influence positive, human-centric changes within the sector. As recently announced recipient of Best CFO Mentor Company Leader 2023 (Sydney): Alena Bennett, this is something she is certainly leveraging power over already. Well done Alena, you really are excelling as a mentor. Company: Alena Bennett Web Address: Contact Name: Alena Bennett