Melissa Fagan: Guiding and monitoring at Lifespan
MELISSA Fagan is the chief financial officer (CFO) at Lifespan Spring Water. She discusses her work, life, and leading the industry.
Q: How would you introduce yourself to the world?
A: I am the mother of one handsome young man, CFO of the great Lifespan Company Ltd and director of human resources of the Lifespan Elizabeth Williams Foundation. I am a pretty down-to-earth individual who is goal-oriented, passionate about her career and a natural leader.
Q: Describe the work that you do?
A: As CFO, it is my responsibility to monitor and guide the company in its pursuit of its strategic strategy with emphasis on the financial well-being of the organisation.
Q: What qualifications & skills are required for your job?
A: A bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree or professional accounting certificate (like ACCA) and about 10 years’ of work experience.
Q: Describe a typical day on the job
A: Ad hoc meetings, report preparation, monitoring controls.
Q: How do you see yourself leading the way in the industry?
A: I see myself as an enabler in the sense that I mentor and provide professional guidance to the members of my team and some of the other department personnel. Legacy is one of the key elements of maintaining the industry. If I should leave then I want to know that there are people here that will be able to take up the mantle.
Q: How important is effective leadership in your industry?
A: The manufacturing industry is labour-driven, and leadership is critical for maintaining and equipping staff to do work. Effective leadership eliminates ambiguity, motivates staff to grow the company while developing themselves.
Q: How do you define success?
A: As CFO, success equals growth. Coming out of COVID-19 was a challenging time for most organisations. Seeing Lifespan survive and growing annually is a success factor for me. Navigating motherhood practically alone while still balancing my career from a secretarial position to a CFO is a success for me.
Q: What would you say is the root of your resilience?
A: My mother — she taught my siblings and I that we were not entitled to anything in this world. We needed to earn what we wanted and do so ethically. In the latter part of my adulthood, God became my source of strength as I trusted Him for direction and leaned on Him in my times of doubt and weakness.
Q: Tell us about a work project you’re most proud of and why
A: Managing the implementation and upgrading of the IT infrastructure for Lifespan. This included the IT backbone, security system, PBX upgrade and changing of accounting SW from Quickbooks to SAP. I am proud of this accomplishment as IT is an area that I have no experience in. I had to work with expertise in the area as well as coordinate with internal and external parties to accomplish this goal. This also led to my being tasked with the supervision of IT for Lifespan.
Q: What do you love most about your work?
A: My staff. We share the same passion of success and growth, hence we support each other during stressful times and they are always willing to go above and beyond for Lifespan to meet their strategic goals.
Q: What was your first job?
A: Secretary to the general manager — Tyre King Ltd
Q: What is your advice to young people to succeed in a career in your field?
A: Perseverance, consistency and focus. Maintain your integrity, be task-oriented, objective and keep your passion always. Remember the three As — ability, aptitude and attitude. Ability gets you the job; aptitude gets you the opportunity to grow in the job and attitude gets you the support needed to accomplish goals.