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Caeleigh enjoys her varied finance career at top employer Diageo

Caeleigh enjoys her varied finance career at top employer Diageo

 April 18, 2018

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As a Decision Support Manager at the Whisky and Reserve Europe Finance team at Diageo, Caeleigh Britton works with all the European Markets in which Diageo operates, including Dublin, Amsterdam, Madrid and Poland to name just a few. With a wide view of Diageo’s business, Caeleigh looks at the health of Diageo’s brands, how they can grow and what the mid-long term plans should be for successful progress - all quite exciting for a career in finance. 

Early career path

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Caeleigh knew from early on that she wanted to undertake a degree in finance. She was aware of the fantastic opportunities a finance career could provide, such as the freedom to move across sectors and travel the world via her work.

Graduating with a Bachelor of Accounting Science honours degree in Finance, Caeleigh secured her first professional role at PwC as a trainee accountant. At PwC, she studied for her board exams to qualify as a Chartered Accountant.  Hard work and perseverance with her course led Caeleigh to achieving great success in her final board exam - securing 4th position within South Africa.

On completion of her three-year training contract with PwC, Caeleigh decided it was time to explore career options outside auditing, so she bravely embraced a new chapter in her life by moving to London without a job.

With great determination, its was not long before Caeleigh was recruited for a new role, where she was able to put her commercial acumen to work in the publishing sector.

“I quickly found a temp contract and worked for six months as a Commercial Analyst in a publishing house, Pan Macmillan. This was an incredible experience and I was really enjoying London life, so I decided to look for a permanent position which is when I came across Diageo,” Caeleigh explains.

Great career progression at Diageo

Caeleigh’s first role at Diageo was as a Commercial Finance Analyst where she partnered with the sales teams for some of Diageo’s biggest customers in grocery. “This was a fantastic role and a great way for me to understand what makes a business tick.  The level of responsibility was huge - I was in charge of managing a P&L of £160 million. I think this role really threw me into the world of commercial finance, and challenged and grew my financial skills,” Caeleigh adds.

Diageo supports women in leadership

With a new level of responsibility, Caeleigh learnt early on at Diageo she enjoyed succeeding through others so she asked her manager about possibilities for leading a team. With full support from senior managers, Caeleigh progressed to her next Diageo role as an RTC Customer Activation Manager, where she enjoyed the opportunity to lead a team of five people in Customer Marketing in Great Britain.

“This was a great experience, as I was in an area of the business that I knew little about, and yet I was still given the opportunity and responsibility to build a team of people. This team works closely with the Field Sales teams in the On Trade. We were key to helping them go to the right outlets, and do the right thing when they were in those outlets. It was an invaluable opportunity for me to learn about a different part of the business and put my finance skills to use in a non-finance area of the business,” Caeleigh explains.

Diageo’s employees come first

Since her first position with Diageo, Caeleigh has appreciated that her employer values the development of its employees. “It was really important for me that I work for a company that valued personal development and helped you with your career path and whose values I believe in. Diageo’s value of celebrating life every day everywhere really resounded with me, and I loved that coming to work each day was not just about doing the job, but also getting to know my work colleagues and learning about our exciting brands,” she says. “I have been working for Diageo now for quite a few years and have been fortunate to have worked in three different roles within the business.”

With every success, Diageo is there supporting its employee’s through triumphs, big or small.

“Year end results days are always a great event”, says Caeleigh, “as we toast to our success with our Johnnie Walker Red Rye. The GB Walk With Joy annual event is also a great time to bond with colleagues. I climbed the Yorkshire Peaks whilst getting to know some of the people I work with,” she explains.

Progressing in a finance role at Diageo

Describing herself as a self-starter, hard-working, and a great team mate, Caeleigh has certainly thrived in her exciting finance career at Diageo but what are the key skills for someone seeking a role in this area?

“Skills in excel are essential because you’re often dealing with large volumes of data. The ability to draw insight out of large amounts of data and present it in a compelling way is also fundamental to be able to influence your stakeholders,” explains Caeleigh. “The ability to explain finance to non-finance employees is also imperative. I spend most of my time influencing and working with people who don’t have a finance background so therefore it’s very important to be able to get your point across without using too much ‘finance-speak’,” she adds.

Ensuring a great work-life balance

In line with Diageo’s purpose of Celebrating life, everyday, everywhere - Caeleigh’s employer believes that when their people are fulfilled they deliver better performance. So how does Caeleigh make the most of life to ensure she is the best she can be at work, at home and beyond?

“I love reading, doing yoga and going to dance classes,” she says. With a love of international travel, it is perhaps no surprise that Caeleigh is also now learning how to speak Spanish. Something that may well come in handy for her progressive career!

Inspirational role model

When asked if she has a favourite quote from a role model, past or present, Caeleigh doesn’t hesitate with her response. “Nelson Mandela is a true example of a selfless leader.  I have aspirations to lead further teams in the future and hope that I can embody some of his characteristics when doing that.” Her favourite Nelson Mandela quotes are “It always seems impossible until it's done” and “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Definitely some inspirational food for thought.

Great career advice from a Diageo employee

‘If your new job doesn’t scare you just a little bit then you aren’t taking the right job - this is something one of my managers at Diageo told me once, and is a great thing to remember when growing your career. You should be stretching yourself and applying for the roles that you think will challenge and grow you the most, not the roles that you think you will be the most comfortable in because you know everything already,” suggests Caeleigh.

Brilliant career advice from an impressive woman who has truly paved herself a rewarding career in finance with a very exciting employer. Caeleigh is thriving at Diageo, and you can too if you secure a role that plays to your very own strengths.


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