Rachel Holland, Schneider Electric’s Tax & Treasury Director UK & Ireland
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
To me, International Women’s Day is a global celebration of the achievements of women all over the world whilst recognizing that there is still much to be done to eliminate discrimination and ensure that human rights are women’s rights everywhere, where all women have at least the right to education and freedom of expression.
What makes it exciting working in our industry?
We are in a very exciting space right now at the forefront of the 4th technological revolution, where our industry is building on the historical industrial revolutions of mass production through electric power and automation through electronics and IT.
Now the 4th technological revolution builds on these but in a digital sense and the exponential speed of change, demand on global resources, digital disruption and opportunities through connectivity, make our industry a very exciting place to work right now. “Life is On” everywhere!
What’s impressive about Schneider Electric in terms of its people, culture, work, opportunities etc?
In my years at Schneider Electric I have worked with some great people from all over the world on some very varied, challenging and rewarding projects, and I have personally grown as a result.
Schneider Electric’s culture mirrors its core values in that globally we all collaborate and strive to ….
- Put the customer first – by going the extra mile and delivering our best for our customers – both external and internal
- Dare to disrupt – by questioning the status quo and continually asking the “why?” to find innovative and digital solutions in a continuous improvement culture
- Embrace difference – by working in an inclusive, respectful and safe culture of openness and collaboration where everyone has a voice
- Learn every day – by working in a high-performance culture we grow as individuals and teams; and through agile working we learn quickly from successes and failures, savoring the surprises along the way
- Act like owners – where everyone is empowered and expected to take initiative
- These common values help create a friendly and supportive but challenging work environment where people are required to step up and do their best – but in a safe and supportive environment.
Schneider is continually evolving through acquisition and innovation and no two days/months/years are ever the same! This constant change provides for endless opportunities for a diverse and fulfilling career and many of my colleagues have worked for Schneider for many years – some of them moving between roles, functions and countries along the way.
I mark my own 20-year anniversary on 4 January 2019 and although I have always managed Tax & Treasury, my responsibility has grown from a turnover scope of £300m (CHECK) to nearly €2 billion across both the UK and Ireland. I love my job!
How can we support the progression of females into senior roles across Schneider Electric?
The finance profession tends to attract females and Schneider Electric’s finance function is no different.
At Schneider Electric we have a commitment to employee development and providing our employees with opportunities to advance in their careers and be the best they can be. We have a strong learning, mentoring and coaching culture and this has been a huge advantage for myself having had tuition support for my professional tax and treasury qualifications in my early career and recently having the opportunity to attend the Transforming Leadership Program at INSEAD.
The opportunities for all of our employees is vast, whether it is learning through formal education, through experience or through exposure. One of our core values “Learn Everyday”, and as an organization we want to ensure we have the best people, with opportunities to excel not only in their current roles, but equally to excel in future career opportunities across Schneider.
My role of Tax & Treasury Director belongs to the Global Tax function with strong links to Global Treasury, whilst also being embedded into the Local Finance team.
All three functions have many examples of high performing females in senior roles.
Schneider Electric should continue to recruit diverse teams, provide equal opportunities, recognize high performers, and award on merit.
What advice would you give to your “younger self”?
Worry less, laugh more, trust your instincts, be yourself, and perfection isn’t always necessary.
Delivering your true potential comes from enjoying your job, and that is helped by finding the right culture and working environment for you.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Determined, Humble, Authentic
What’s the one best piece of career advice you’ve been given, and why is it relevant at Schneider Electric?
‘The quietest person in the room can often have the most to say’.
This is relevant to Schneider Electric in that creating a safe and inclusive space for people to express their ideas, contributes towards innovation and agile working.
Who is your role model, and why?
Michelle Obama – she has such poise, confidence, humility and humanity, whilst also demonstrating strength, independence, wit and humor.