Rutherford Cross recently welcomed Alyson Donaldson, UK & ROI Chief Financial Officer, IVC Evidensia, to speak at our Next Generation CFO Event. Here, Hazel Wynn shares insight into Alyson’s career to date and her journey to CFO.
Setting the Scene
The virtual session began with Alyson giving us an overview of her career journey. Alyson admitted that quite uniquely from the age of 13 she knew she wanted to be a Finance Director. After leaving school and having spent time at both the University of Stirling and the University of South Australia, she moved into her first finance focused role with KPMG. Here, Alyson spent time in Corporate Finance where she discussed some of the challenges this type of role can present as well as highlighting the level of experience she gained during her time there.
Making the Move into Industry
Having spent time studying in Australia, Alyson was keen to do more travelling and took a sabbatical. On her return, Alyson was keen to make the move to Industry and joined Vets Now. This was a fast paced and entrepreneurial business focused on growth and opportunity that allowed Alyson to gain experience in core financial management.
Her next move saw Alyson join Diageo, another very fast paced organisation. Here her role covered various areas including Commercial Finance, FP&A, Business Development, and finally a Finance Director role managing a multi-million pound cost base.
Alyson cited her first experience of imposter syndrome when she moved into this role which thankfully she managed to resolve early on. She also discussed the variety of what she was involved in during her time here, which all added to the depth of her experience.
During Alyson’s maternity leave with her second child she decided it was time for a new challenge and she joined Young Women’s Movement as a Business Adviser and latterly Trustee.
As much as she loved her time at Diageo, around this time she also decided it was time to move on from the business after over eight years. An opportunity came up at her previous employer Vets Now and she joined in 2021 as CFO. This role was focused on strategy, performance, and growth. Having made a great impact in her first six months Alyson was offered the opportunity to step up to take on the CFO role for the wider group, IVC Evidencia.
IVC is a relatively young company. The organisation has focused on rapid expansion and is now second largest in the world in the veterinary industry. Alyson has had to focus a lot on transformation over the last six months to help finance cope with the rapid scale up of the organisation.
Following Alyson’s insight into her career to date, the discussion moved on to the Q&A session including questions from Rutherford Cross and the audience. This covered many areas including what have been Alyson’s most stand out and enjoyable moments, what key things she feels an aspirant CFO should try and gain experience in, time management in order to achieve work/life balance, and her learnings from taking on a Board Trustee position.
Alyson’s full Q&A session can be watched via the video link below.
For more information regarding Rutherford Cross events contact [email protected]