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Leadership video series: Mark Gilbert, Mondottica | Part 1

In our new series of finance leadership interviews, we recently sat down with Mark Gilbert, CFO and COO at Mondottica. 

In part one, Mark shares his experience in a leadership role for Mondottica’s global brand, with his advice on:

  • What being a CFO and COO entails
  • The most appealing aspect of working in finance for a global brand
  • How Mondottica’s culture has evolved over recent years
  • Advice for other finance professionals

 

Tune in to part two of our interview, coming soon.

"So, my name's Mark Gilbert. I'm the CFO and COO of Mondottica."

So, I see it as I’m the enabler to… you know, we have the commercial strategic partnerships, and growing the business and going into new territories – that bit’s being done by our CCO and CEO.


What I’m there to do is to enable that to happen, in the most efficient way and sort of make sure that it stacks up and is financially viable. But also, to add some value in terms of what we could do better and differently, to either save money or grow or, you know, find some…find some better insights somewhere.

We own brand licenses for optical frames to put… effectively like designer brands onto frames.

So, some of our names for example; Ted Baker, Vivienne Westwood, AllSaints. So we would have the global brand agreements for those. So, if you ever bought a pair of sunglasses or optical frames, they would have come through Mondottica.

 

But ultimately, what I was really attracted by was the people that I met, the cultures and the values that they have as well.

So we have partnerships and joint ventures in many other places; India, Australia, Japan, America, as well as Hong Kong.

So I think that gives the finance team and all of us really sort of a variety in terms of working with different people, the different time zones and cultures to work with as well, which sort of makes it a bit more exciting.

The interesting point is how you can form that together into one company culture, which is quite challenging because they are generally different cultures and ways of working.

But we’ve recently gone through an exercise to review our values, and we’ve done that in mind of trying to get values that speak to different cultures as well.

We tried to involve everyone in the business, so it was… we were keen for it not to be a top-down approach.

So we invited lots of people from different areas around the business in the different locations, to be involved in sort of generating ideas and it was about who… it was, equally about who we are, as well as who we want to be as well.

And those things were not too dissimilar, but it was, it was about, you know, aligning everyone together to agree and move forward on what our values are, which hopefully should help us work better together going forward.

I think it’s about being true – understanding what your values are, being true to them, sticking with them.

As you’re going along in your career, you can… I think you need to accept that you can learn things from a good perspective and a bad perspective. So learn from the bad experiences. And I think that will mould and shape your core values and who you become.

I think one of the most important things is, don’t be shaped too much by who… who other people want you to be. I think it’s more about being who you are.

 

In terms of skill sets to work on… I think there’s quite a big piece for me around bringing those values into sort of thinking about emotional intelligence; around how you communicate with people, is becoming really important in finance as well.

You know, I think one thing that finance professionals can offer is influencing, you know, to people about numbers and what’s working well, what’s not.

So I think it’s really important to be able to get that message across and understand from their perspective, or how they might be feeling, around what they’re doing.

Being able to communicate with people, therefore, is really, really important.

Join us for part two of Mark’s interview, where we discuss how ethics influence today’s finance market, their importance for growth, and the role of data in ethical business practices.

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