Naomi Holland, International Treasurer for Intel Corporation, details her career progression and describes the challenges of successfully balancing her family life while returning to a senior role after an eight-year career break.
How did you come into treasury and what attracted you to the profession?
My entry to the world of treasury was somewhat unplanned, as my background was that of a chartered accountant which led me to join the finance department rather than the treasury department of Intel Ireland. The treasury connection came as my remit included supporting the EMEA treasury team. Then the Intel Ireland treasury manager was returning to the US, and I was asked to consider applying for his role, which I did. Treasury attracted me as at that time I assessed it as an area which was market focused, delivered tangible results and involved strong interaction with external stakeholders.
How has your career progressed through to the role that you hold today?
My early career saw me both qualify and work as a chartered accountant with PwC. However, the ‘corporate world’ rather than the ‘world of practice’ was where I wanted to pursue my career. This saw me move to Intel Corporation where I have held a number of roles: Irish Finance Manager, Irish Treasury Manager, EMEA Treasury Manager, EMEA Treasurer and now International Treasurer, where my remit covers the treasury related activities of all non US locations. The progression through to my current role has been underpinned by my initial professional training as a chartered accountant. This provided me with some great skills – commercial acumen, communication, stakeholder management, planning etc. This, together with ongoing training, exposure to some excellent individuals, opportunities and informed risks I took along the way, has led to where I am today.
However, it hasn’t necessarily been a constant trajectory as I decided to take a career break in 2007 to prioritise focusing on our children/family life. This lasted for eight years, during which I took on some non-executive directorships, which I found interesting, challenging and rewarding. My return to full- time work came when I received a call from the treasurer of Intel Corporation asking me to re-join in what is now my current role. My initial response to his call, while I was both flattered and tempted, was that attempting to balance the proposed role (multiple time zones, international travel) and family life (three young children and a husband who himself had a demanding career) would be too challenging. However, following a number of conversations with the treasurer, and with the encouragement and support of my husband, I decided to give it a go. It’s now three years since I rejoined Intel Corporation and in my view we have made it work successfully thus far, greatly facilitated by ‘flexibility’, which I and Intel consistently provide. I would like to encourage both employees/employers to approach careers /career development in an holistic manner so that the working model continues to evolve and facilitates participation in the workforce through the various ‘cycles of life’ – great improvements have been made but as an overall ecosystem we have more to do.