Following our most recent ‘Planning Your Career Journey’ in partnership Edrington, Rutherford Cross’ Harry Young shares insights, reflections and top tips from the event.
On Thursday 9th November, Rutherford Cross held its latest ‘Planning Your Career Journey’ event, featuring Louise Mclelland and Scott Hart of Edrington, alongside Craig Johnstone, Cask Mastery Lead for The Macallan.
After presentations from our speakers, we partnered with ‘The Drinks Cabinet’ to put on a cocktail tasting experience showcasing Edrington’s impressive brand portfolio. Guests then had the opportunity to engage in relaxed networking with likeminded individuals. With spaces at this event booked out over two weeks in advance, it was great to see the next cohort of finance leadership come together in the numbers at this exclusive evening event.
Both Louise, Financial Controller – Global Travel Retail, and Scott, Decision Support Manager – Supply Chain & Master Data at Edrington, shared their experiences of building a career in finance within the drinks industry, providing useful tips and advising how to progress your career and achieve your ambitions.
Our speakers shared a whole wealth of career advice on the night: highlights of which are summarised below.
Louise spoke first and was a big advocate of training in industry, having completed her ACCA qualification whilst performing a financial accounting role at Enva. Louise shared her journey from summer placement student at Enva to qualification, and then onto Edrington where she has progressed to Financial Controller for GTR in a relatively short period of time. Louise then gave our guests some insight into what Global Travel Retail looks like at Edrington before highlighting several key points that have helped her progress.
The most important of these was to embrace change and to in fact be an advocate for it. Louise also highlighted the importance of knowing your strengths, and being open to feedback, and spoke about the significance of continuous learning and remaining inspired and open to development. Louise finished off by discussing the importance of giving back, providing examples of various charitable initiatives she has been involved with, both on a personal level and with the wider Edrington team.
Scott spoke second and had a more ‘traditional’ path having completed a degree at Strathclyde University before joining PwC. Upon qualification, Scott secured an Operations Finance Analyst role at Edrington; and in the 7 years since joining, he has had 4 roles. Starting as an Operations Finance Analyst, Scott moved on to become Operations Finance Project SME, then Planning & Reporting Manager and now Decision Support Manager.
One of the key insights Scott provided to our audience was that if you are unsure about what you want to do upon qualification, “Speak to your clients and get an understanding from them. People love talking about their careers and how they got to where they are. Speak to people from reporting, commercial, operational and internal audit backgrounds”.
When asked, Why Edrington, and Why Operational Finance? Scott highlighted that he wanted to really add value to a business and have the opportunity to influence business decision making. He was also attracted to the premium drinks sector because of the tangibility of the products. Scott then gave his 6 top tips to our audience on how they could progress their career and achieve their ambitions:
- Don’t be afraid to change role, but don’t change for the title
- Take on additional tasks – no matter how small
- Embrace change – technology is changing, learn and adapt
- Learn from those around you – informal mentoring is a great tool
- Enjoy your career – don’t make it just a job!
- You don’t need to know your exact role – it might not exist. Continue to learn and position yourself for opportunities
Lastly, we had Craig Johnstone, Cask Mastery Lead of globally-recognised premium whisky ‘The Macallan’, then gave our attendees an insight into his own career journey from Astrophysics student to Master Blender for the Macallan via Tasmania and Dubai! Craig gave the attendees further insights into the distilling process and ‘The Macallan’ brand itself before being kind enough to perform a tasting event for all 45 of our guests. Craig’s passion for the Macallan, Whisky and for his job was tangible.
Whilst our speakers all work in the drinks industry, they all had different journeys to arrive where they are. There is no wrong path; however, we felt the key theme that ran through the evening was that we should all be open to change and be an advocate for it. Throw yourself into different things at work and take on additional responsibilities wherever you can. This, combined with a solid work ethic and a desire to learn from those around you, is a solid recipe for success in your career.
Thanks again to Edrington for partnering with us to deliver this sell-out event – what a fantastic evening!