• Post Vacancy
  • Register
  • Jobs

Episode 11, Lana Murray, CFO, Roche Group

  • Posted 27 Mar 2021
  • Richard Holmes
  • Podcast

Lana Murray is CFO of Roche Group, one of Australia's premier property development groups.

Commencing her career at BDO, she has over 15 years of experience in accounting and property industry.  In her current role, she's responsible for the group's financial performance and assisting the executive chairman in the achievement of the company's strategic objectives. 

Prior to Roche Group, Lana worked for Frasers Property Australia in a number of senior finance roles.

Transcript Please note that this has been transcribed by AI/Bots so there may be typos and the occasional strange things happening. Richard Holmes 0:02 Welcome to the numbers people podcast in partnership with HPR consulting a leading Sydney executive finance recruitment firm. I'm your host Richard Holmes Episode 11. We welcome Lana Murray. Lana is CFO of Roche group, one of Australia's premier property development groups. Commencing her career BDO she has over 15 years of experience in accounting and property industry. And her current role, she's responsible for the group's financial performance, and assisting the executive chairman in the achievement of the company's strategic objectives prior to launch, Lana worked for Frasers Property Australia in a number of senior finance roles. Lana Murray 0:45 Hi, Richard, it's Lana Murray 0:46 great to see you as well. It's been a while Richard Holmes 0:48 It has been a while and I hope this year has treated you well. I'm not alone for a number of years and see her progress. In her old place of work praises property Australia in London has recently secured a CFO opportunity in another business and yeah, proud to welcome to the show, to want to tell us about your journey so far Lana? LM Lana Murray 1:10 Yeah, thank you very much. I guess I did actually originally start in a traditional path. At BDO, I used to work in a chartered environment. That's where I started my career straight from university. And I was there for many, many years, and then made my way up to senior manager and then decided to branch out and as you mentioned, I was working with phrases that used to be Australian, when I first started, I'd been there for over 10 years, and then was approached to, for it to be a CFO in another organization, which is Ambridge group. So which I'm very thankful for the opportunity. It's been fantastic. So it's probably a quite a traditional pathway, because it's you know, started organization and then going into commercial and then being you know, the, I think I started as a senior finance manager and then made my way to group financial control. And then it was a general manager. And now I'm CFO. So it's probably quite a traditional path. But I’ve really enjoyed it. I've been very thankful for the opportunities I've been given, been given. Richard Holmes 2:11 That's, that's excellent. And looking your criminal are you touching it, then it's kind of typical career path, you've hard was it was that through choice? Or? Or did it just eventuate that we did you put yourself in the position to have that career path you have? Lana Murray 2:29 I think I put myself in that position, I always knew that I had like a business kind of focus. And so I always thought, at least with the chartered environment, it provided a really solid foundation and structure to have a variety of experiences, I knew I'd be dealing with a lot of different people, different clients. So that was fantastic. And I knew that I guess one day, I wanted to become a CFO. I didn't know what it meant at the time. But it sounded great. And as I've worked with many different clients quite an early age, you know, coming straight out of uni, and working with a whole bunch of different finance teams with different clients, I'd come across a lot of CFOs, some that were fantastic, and some that were not so fantastic. But I really liked what I saw. So then I knew kind of the direction I was heading into. So I think yes, I from a relatively early age, which is, you know, also I can be a bit unusual because people kind of swap and change because there's just so many different things you can do, Richard Holmes 3:27 as well. So it's good. And what advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue a career like yours, Lana? Lana Murray 3:36 I honestly think the starting point in that chapter environment, obviously, that's a very specific environment. But it really was a solid foundation for just setting it up. I love the variety. I love the change. And there were so many different parts of that there was you had your client base, you had your interactions with your peer when you get to a certain level, your managing staff, there was just so many different elements that were just so helpful, even though people might go Oh, I certainly don't want to stay in that environment. Some people do. But I thought it was fantastic. And I never regret it. My time there was always really looked at fondly. I had some fantastic partners, directors staff that I worked with and clients. So that is if people were kind of on that pathway, and I can't fault it. I think I'm starting in a childhood environment is very helpful. Richard Holmes 4:25 It's good. And what was the catalyst for you moving on at the time? Lana Murray 4:31 It was just an element of change I hadn't experienced even though I experienced many different clients and different industries. I just thought I'd be nice to be able to focus on one company. I've always picked companies and should I say I've only kind of worked for video of what phrases 4:49 I've worked. Lana Murray 4:51 Now, I like to pick something that I'm really passionate about, you know, values. Passion is really important to me and picking companies that I feel like I'm really closely aligned to so when I started BDO, that was, I wasn't just they use the term, not just a number. And I wasn't just a number, you know, there was only a small group of graduates. And I picked that because I wanted to be making an impact essentially. And same with phrases and Australand. At the time, it was just the environment, culture was so important to me. And knowing that my values, they had a particular time frame in Austral, and they had values that really aligned with who I was, and the people that they employed, really aligned with who I was. So that was important. And then again, I guess, moving on, which was kind of an unexpected change recently. But again, it kind of the type of company, and the people I interacted within the early stage really kind of pulled out to me. So that's what I kind of focus when I've tried to move on essentially, is, is that kind of alignment with my values. Richard Holmes 5:58 So it's a very important point, isn't it? We think sometimes values are just quite flippant, they're just words, you've got to have your ethics, your values, your morals, and if they align, it certainly helps, doesn't it? And you touched on before you've had some good people surrounding you, it video you mentioned and I know Australian appraisers, as anyone influenced you the most Lana Murray 6:23 interesting how we talk about the actual companies themselves that I would go way back in there, and I don't know, maybe this is a typical answer. But for me, my parents have been instrumental in my whole, I know, I can always rely on them. And from the very getgo, when I was in school and going through university, they always had this, you can do anything. And, and my they're kind of motto To me, it was always like, you know, no one is better than you. But remember that You're no better than anyone else. So it was that whole equality, kind of really setting that structure that Foundation, which That's it, and I keep going back to these values, the values are so important. And that's where it all started from. So my parents instilling that, I still look back at them. And I still speak to my parents to this day and talk through things with them, you know, because they're like a vault ofinformation. So if I tell them anything, it's not going anywhere. But it's always nice to be able to bounce things off with someone, you honestly, really, truly can, I guess, believe in and that's where it all started from. So I had I've had amazing managers and people that I've worked with, but I guess that was the foundation for it all. I keep going back to Foundation found it, it's kind of always a starting point for me, and then it just builds. So that's, that's what's happened to me. Is that the starting point, and yes, I had had amazing people that I've dealt with them, and always go back to my parents. Richard Holmes 7:52 No, it's good. It's interesting to learn that I think every guest we've had on the show so far has said, parents family, as the first port of call and that's the thing, if you're in the company with the right values, you're surrounded by people who should have similar values to you. So it's good. And should you've now moved into the CFO role? Lana, what's the biggest area relating to your new role that you're most curious about? And, and why? Lana Murray 8:19 I think, Lana Murray 8:21 actually, it's basically customer preferences, that the company I'm working for is a very diverse company, and has many different aspects to it. And I always think customer preferences and how they link into the products or services that we're offering, are so important. And then that, in turn, gets shown in the numbers. So obviously, me being financed based the fight, the numbers always tell a story, but they're always driven by customer preference. So I guess, kind of trying to understand that. And you know, what the customer truly wants to be able to then go Okay, well, what are we actually offering, you know, whether it's we have products and services? How can we enhance that experience? And as soon as you enhance the experience, then the numbers follow? So it's kind of a circular, essentially. So I'm always kind of following that methodology. And what I'm curious about is always our customers and what are they doing and the market and how they're operating in environments like the COVID environment or at the moment, and how people have reacted and how they reacted in a match in comparison to now is is very different. So it's been very interesting watching, watching the different customers in our group and how they've reacted. Richard Holmes 9:35 Yeah, I can imagine it'd be quite fascinating, but that's mean that's a really good idea. An interesting answer Lana, it is what are your customers experienced? What do they want and that's the kind of root cause you get that right. And the rest kind of falls into play. It's, it's a great way to look at I think sometimes finance teams get lost on that as well. They just look after the numbers and you don't really think about well, what do the customer want and that connection across Across the and through gone, go back to your career line? I mean, have you had any mistakes or failures? And can you recall anything where, where you've made a mistake and what happened? And what was the outcome of that? Lana Murray 10:16 Haven't had a massive mistake that has created absolute havoc on the organizations I've worked for thank. I'm very thankful for that. But one thing, and it's I guess it's a recurring theme for me is going back to, you know, when I was my first job being video out of university, and you're going through your ca program, and I did exceptionally well, I was, you know, getting merits and doing this now, as I you know, this is awesome getting through this. And I think, at the last module used to be called integrated when I did it, I don't think it's called that anymore. But it was this last module, and I think I got really complacent. And I'll even use the word cocky, and say, you know, I've been doing pretty well, and I just really didn't put the effort in, I kind of was like, Yeah, I've been fine. And this is just an integration of all of it. But then I found that module, and it was a real hard-hitting like, I hadn't failed anything before. And I know that sounds like you're well used to it again. But at that age, when you're really young, that kind of really imprinted in me because my parents that I told family, and they were like, what, what up something? And I said, Yeah, yeah, and but it was the get back up attitude. I had a friend actually, that at that particular point had failed. And we just went, you know, what, we're just going to kick some butt here, essentially, have a mind psyche, but in and we just ended we came through, and we really did. And we meritless did that. And we just it was kind of an experience to go, you know what, don't get complacent. Don't think you're all that all the time. It's great to be confident, and in your own abilities, but never forget where you've come from, and the hard work it takes to get there essentially. So I've kind of always it always is something that I remember feeling of like, oh, I can't believe it's like, that was so silly. But and as I said, it's not a massive thing that you know, created havoc for any company I've worked for. But for me, it was a personal experience that I felt and was able to move on, on from and learn from essentially. Richard Holmes 12:27 Oh, that's ah, I was gonna say that's great. But obviously, by the time I kind of watch it when you were younger, it's just there. It's a bit embarrassing as well as in its goodness, like, Yeah, but yeah, what a great lesson in that in complacency. I think we all get complacent at the time. I'm working where you are now we're working in phrases property, Australian, and BTO have good cultures. What does culture mean to you? Lana Murray 12:52 culture is absolutely everything to me. I guess it links again, back to their home values. I know it's kind of overused by a lot of companies. But I truly believe that I will never stay anywhere that the culture isn't 100%. You know, and, and that's also that's everyone's responsibility, and may at the moment in my position, I need to be bringing in the team and being able to make sure that we're kind of all in it together. And we're communicating and we're being honest and transparent, and all those kind of keywords that everyone but I truly believe in it that that's what it's all about is this whole culture aspect. Because if it's if you don't have the people and on your side and working together, for the same goal, you've got nothing essentially in the day, because you'll have one person going off here and other going off there. And I mean, you can see it yourself. You've seen it in different organizations. Oh, wow, I would never want to work there. Because I can you can see that people don't work particularly well together. But I've been very lucky where I have the people have been amazing. And hence why I've kind of stayed for quite some time. And I haven't swapped and changed a lot in my career. But yeah, culture absolutely everything. To make sure. Richard Holmes 14:08 I think if you get the culture, right, and the people right, so the rest falls into place, isn't it? Then the customers? Lana Murray 14:14 Exactly. Customers people and then you've got everything you're on top of the world. Richard Holmes 14:18 Sounds so easy. Doesn't it? sounds scary. Yes. I know. In terms of your credit you since I've known Yolanda, you've you come across as positive and optimistic. What's Bern and you genuinely enjoy what you do. What's been the favourite thing about your career when you reflect back? Lana Murray 14:38 I think because I'm a people person. I love interacting with different people and different scenarios. The different industries that I worked in my first part of my career, even the bad experiences like I've, you know, you had I have had people that I've dealt with that. I've been just, you know, we just haven't meshed But at the end of it, I've kind of gone back, I've actually learned something that and I can move on for from it. So it's definitely the people again, I think every time you interact with someone, you can have it, you can have a bad experience that can be, you know, someone that's just not interested in dealing with you, or someone that's, you know, just doesn't have the same alignment as you. But at the end of the day, I just kind of think, well, I can definitely learn from this and try and change the situation around. So I've had, I've had it a few times with even different staff members having interactions with them. And you know, I've said something about having the best intentions, they've said something and meant something else. And when we've chatted about it and communicated about it, it was like a light bulb going, Okay, I get it. I get it. I just need to change that tack there. Because not everyone's going to think exactly, they might as I do. So, yeah, definitely people. Yeah. And the interactions, Richard Holmes 15:56 it goes back to your point when you were talking about culture, that transparency as well. And just being there, it's so important, isn't it just that we're all on the same page? And it's, it's interesting how that gets lost with communication, isn't it? Lana Murray 16:09 It's just I guess every single person is just so different. So a lot of the courses that I was very privileged to attend, you know, senior management courses, that had focused on, you know, different people's personality types, and how they learn how they pick up information, how body cues, and, you know, when you're working in organizations that have international kind of cultures, it's all really important to try and understand that we're not going to know at all, but at least if we can kind of have an understanding of it all, it really helps. Oh, definitely, definitely. Richard Holmes 16:40 And I'm going back to finance teams, and you've obviously seen alot in finance evolve over the years, knowing your new role. If you had the extra budget to spend on your team, how would you spend it, and why Lana Murray 16:56 I would set spend it on, I guess, because systems and processes, they're always so expensive. You can go to the nenth degree, you can always be spending money on my it processes and things like that. But yeah, any kind of additional funds, I would love to spend towards updating and creating efficiencies and just, you know, being the best you can because sometimes you get involved in the processes and what you're doing that you can't take a step back and actually have just think I remember speaking to one of my coaches. And he'd always said that you know, it's really important to take the time to step back and just be able to think sometimes and not be carried away with it every day. And I've got to be here, I've got to be there. So yeah, definitely be able to spend it on systems and processes, allows people to take a step back, because, you know, there's, you know, things like the artificial intelligence that's, you know, in the marketplace now, and those kinds of things will make life a lot easier. I mean, I know people could say, oh, they're taking people's jobs away. But well, if we think about it a different way, and say that that's gonna make the particular tasks a little bit easier. And we can focus on bigger and better things. Richard Holmes 18:08 Yeah, that's all it's, I completely agree with you, though. Because it's, you touched on it a couple of times with finance, it's about communication, the more we can communicate and get the message out, the better it's going to be. And, and with LG said AI and automation, it's, it's only going to get easier to think about over the years. And so we can imagine a role like yours, Lana, he gets stressful at times. When you get overwhelmed. What do you do? Lana Murray 18:37 I literally breathe. And just, it's literally taking yourself away from that situation and taking deep breaths. And people go, Oh, that's just so you know, basic. But it really does help you. I used to do it when I did exams and things like that, and just kind of just close your eyes, take a few deep breaths. And then also think to myself, it's that positive self-talk and say “What is the worst that's going to happen here?” And I guess I can say this because we're in a finance podcast, but I was like, we’re no one’s going to die today, if we get the number wrong. So you can say that in a medical profession, but at least in finance, you can say, you know what was gonna happen something, he goes wrong, we'll fix it. It'll be fine. So just taking a step back and breathing is very helpful. Richard Holmes 19:30 No, it's that's great advice. Remember, I interviewed a candidate a few years ago and this lady she was she was nervous. You can just tell and, and we sat down. He said I'll just take a breath and I kind of went through some like breathing exercises. It's just flexing, she changed. I was like, wow, like, I think people, especially when they interview it's a kind of pressurized situation, all this pressure on themselves when really just take a breath. It's good advice. Yeah, isn't it and then So looking at your background and working where you have to what's improved your working life the most? I mean, you've seen the improvement of systems people, has it been systems has been resource departments what, what do you think has improved your working life the most? Lana Murray 20:18 I think a big focus has been on flexibility in the workplace. So that has immensely helped me, I have two small children. And I have a very supportive husband that also works full time. So this flexibility and I've spoken to people that talk about Agnes COVID times if their work environment hadn't been flexible, it had to be flexible, because of COVID. And people can see the benefits. Now, there is a balance, clearly, you know, being able to that whole culture is important from a face to face, and still getting together with people. But the flexibility of people being able to say work from home or work different hours or work and be able to go to an appointment or that has been its life-changing. Because if you don't have that, it's very difficult to balance everything. Life is so busy. People have families and children and hobbies and activities and, and work, it's just full-on. So I think with employers being and managers being just aware of their staffs, other requirements just make them more balanced and better performance. Richard Holmes 21:29 Yeah, it's true isn't I think flexibility is common a lot. And just the last few years, I think there's a silver lining to everything, I think with COVID. But flexibility, it's been enforced. working from home, I think it's it's only going to be a good thing. But I think the challenge companies are going to face is that transition back to the office and how, how do you accommodate because everyone's got individual circumstances, it's going to be interesting to see how it pans out. But it's, it's interesting what I learned as a member when COVID kicked off the mark companies that were shown prepared, they didn't have anyone working from home, no flexible work arrangements. And they literally just get together like how do we do this? And it's really kind of giving them a kick up or kick up the backside to get it going, which can only be a good thing. I think Lana Murray 22:13 it is good because I don't Yeah, exactly. People wouldn't have thought about it. And if I didn't have this, they wouldn't have thought about it either. So a change in mentality, which has been fantastic. In my opinion. Richard Holmes 22:22 Yeah. Oh, definitely. It's good. And, and as I touch a lot of you since I've known you're always been a positive and happy person, like what makes you happy? Is it, that that balance between life and work because it looks like you, you enjoy your job as well, and you enjoy being at work? Lana Murray 22:39 I do I do. I think it's a mentality of I don't want to go down the rabbit hole of like, you know, female, and quality and all that kind of stuff. But it's really it was really, it's really important to me to have that flexibility. Because, you know, my family is everything to me. But I'm also I love working and I couldn't, I need to have both. So that makes me happy being able to balance that and be busy and be able to manage that. And that's all because of all the interactions that I've had with great employers, and great staff have always worked with. I've just I've been really blessed because that, that makes me very happy. Richard Holmes 23:23 So that's good. And it's an interesting way. So that alone is about being happy at work and enjoying what you do, isn't it? I mean, the nature of if the recruitment industry where I work, I'll see people who are deeply unhappy why they work. And I just think it's just the job can be a different one. I know it's obviously a lot. It's not as easy as that. But it's if you've got to enjoy where you work, don't you, if you don't enjoy where you work, it affects your home life, your relationships, everything. So it's a hobby, and I genuinely believe that you can be happy at work, like you said, if you're surrounded by the right people help that right balance. It's kind of gets you out of bed in the morning. Well apart from the kids. Yes, Lana Murray 24:02 I think a few kinds of work really well. And it comes back to communication with your staff and understanding that everyone's different. People can be happy and having that honest conversation with people that if they're unhappy, you can say guys, you need to have a look around. It's yet to boot people at home. I don't want you leaving no, no, how dare you go and speak to a recruiter? Oh, you need to go and speak to recruiters know what's out there know what you're worth. And Richard Holmes 24:32 that's good. And a lot of that's that's leadership right there. Isn't it having those open conversations with the people you work with? I think that's part of the leadership textbook right there. It's just disappointing that a lot of companies a lot of employees don't have that relationship with a manager where they have been with this company a while and they just want to tell you the truth. I'm looking but they're too scared to do so. It's quite sad really. But it's so it's good. But hey, Lana, it's been an absolute pleasure to have you on there. The podcast, I think you've been a great guest and offered some really good advice there and look at all the best with the new role. It's going to be exciting and interesting for you over the next few years and, and look well we'll probably in the on the podcast in a couple of years time as well see how you've developed in that time period. And be great. Thank Lana Murray 25:19 you. Thank you so much for having me. It's been fantastic. Thank you. 25:22 Thanks. Cheers. Thanks, bye Richard Holmes 25:24 bye.
Back Next Post