Vice-President of Finance
While Averna is dedicated to helping global customers produce market-leading high-tech products, this could not be achieved without their talented team of employees. Averna understands that each group and department are linked, and every individual is required to make the company a success. In this new series, Averna will chat with one of these individuals and understand their point of view on their contribution.
Mariève Carrier joined Averna in 2016 as a corporate controller. In this time her role has grown and today she is the Vice-President of Finance, representing all Averna offices around the world. Coming from a background in business administration, management and of course, finance, Mariève has brought a diverse range of experience to her global team.
Q: Where did you work before Averna and how did you get there?
A: Over the years I worked in different places. I started as a finance technician because I finished a technical degree in college before I started university. As a result, I was able to work while I was getting my degree in business administration and management. That experience significantly helped my overall trajectory by allowing me to understand the reality of my teammates. In fact, I have held a lot of different roles like, AP technician, financial analyst, external auditor, senior accountant and eventually Director of Financial Accounting. All these very different roles created a large spectrum of experiences that I feel are now very useful to accomplish my work at Averna.
Q: What attracted you to work in finance?
A: Big question…
First of all, my goal was to be in administration and business… That was very clear because I wanted to be a leader and be in a role where I would feel I would make a difference. I still remember telling myself when I started university that I would be happy in any business administration field except accounting! In the end, I did a 180° and I received my CPA designation because I was greatly influenced by one of my previous managers who has been a good mentor for me. He convinced me that taking the accounting route and doing my CPA would open a lot of doors. In accounting or finance you are well-positioned to see everything within a company and if you are a good leader you can easily participate in overall decision making. So far, I have never regretted changing my mind.
Q: What is your favorite aspect of your current role?
A: No two days are the same. The financial responsibilities are very broad and expose me to different challenges on a daily basis. One day it can be accounting rules, taxation, consolidation, managing the accounting system, managing internal processes and controls, or budget and financial analysis, but always and most importantly everyday includes team management. That said, Averna also brings me plenty of variety in my role. By offering customized solutions to each client, every project brings exceptional surprises. Plus, being in an international company, I never stop learning as it is impossible to know every rules from everywhere. I like change, I like challenges, I like to learn… and I like people!
Q: In Canada, where you are located, women make up only 13% of the engineering workforce. Is it difficult for a woman to be a leader in a more masculine environment?
A: To be honest, it can be challenging to be a woman and a leader in any environment, regardless of the industry. In general, women need to fight harder for what they deserve and that is not something that always comes naturally. The way I see it is that women need to battle both in the workforce and against their natural instincts and tend to get labelled unfairly as a result. With that in mind it has been extremely encouraging to see the growing number of women holding many different roles at Averna. No company is perfect, but I am definitely seeing change in the industry.
Q: You mentioned a mentor earlier. Are you still in touch?
A: Oh yes. He was my boss for my first two jobs, and we are still in contact. It is so important to maintain contacts with people outside of your own organisation because it helps to have a birds-eye view on certain situations. Getting external context or experience really helps you look at a situation differently.
Q: Do you feel you achieve a good work/life balance?
A: Yes and no… Averna is a great place to work because a key value is that family comes first. I have never been criticized or judged for an absence for a family situation. By the same token, I show the same trust and respect to my employees. The flexible environment at Averna brings a greater commitment from all of us and I really appreciate it.
Now that I am a mom of an 18-month-old I appreciate those values at Averna even more. As much we promote excellence, we equally promote our employees and their personal lives as well. After my son was born, I was easily able to reorganize my work schedule. Before, I was often working until 6 or 7 pm because for me, it was easier to be focused with no meetings. Today I finish work at 5 every night to be with my family and I reconnect later in the evening, if it’s needed. I am still delivering the same work, but I can do it in such a way to accommodate the changes in my life. I also have to thank my colleagues and employees for their flexibility for that.
Speaking of changes, due to the pandemic I have been working from home for one year and as most parents know it has allowed me to spend more time with my son rather than being stuck in traffic every day. Despite missing my team and all of their faces, I would be remiss not to acknowledge this benefit.
That being said, I am also very meticulous, and I love my job which tends to throw my work/life balance off a little bit. There are times I know I should rest more or spend more time with my family but this is self-imposed and something I am working on. I believe every mom feels that they are everywhere and not enough at the same time. The challenge here is to try to be happy with our achievements and with who we are. It is never productive to compare yourself with others, only with previous versions of yourself. By accepting that we aren’t perfect but striving for continuous improvement is a lifetime project!
Q: What are you most proud of?
A: I am most proud of both my son and what we have achieved at Averna. Four years ago, Averna was facing certain issues.. I got the opportunity to work with my colleagues from all around the world, looking to improve what we do and just becoming better as a global team. Together we built an excellent model that I am really proud of and we continue to improve it every day. Also, one thing I noticed with the pandemic was that nobody was simply sitting waiting for instructions. We went through significant challenges but I saw everyone proposing solutions throughout the company. I saw great ownership, leadership, proactivity which is so motivating as a leader of a company.
Q: What have you learned from Averna that will be a takeaway for the rest of your life?
A: Never pretend that you know everything. Be humble towards others. By listening you will learn so much more! My greatest lessons came from my employees and my colleagues. They are my most valuable asset! Now I have my son who is bringing me into this new unknown field… being a mom brings so much love… but is also a real challenge!