09 Feb 2024
As we celebrate this year’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we hear from Head of Finance - Operations Stephanie Raymond on her role at TfW.
Stephanie’s team were winners at the prestigious Finance Awards Wales in 2022. Her advice to any other women looking for a career in maths is - yes, you can! There are plenty of opportunities in TfW and becoming part of our family means that you’re helping to deliver a safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport system for the people of Wales. Stephanie says:
When I was younger, I always wanted to become a spy! Unfortunately, that hasn't worked out (although maybe there is still time) but it turns out that my current role requires some of the skills that would make any spy proud - analytical and critical thinking, the ability to maintain confidentiality and handle sensitive information, creativity and resourcefulness to solve problems, interpersonal relationships to gain trust, as well as emotional resilience to handle high-pressure situations and maintain composure under stress.
Not always an exact science
I studied Business Administration at university in Germany. People are often surprised at how much accounting is not always an exact science but a lot more 'business' than 'maths'. I worked at one of the big German banks to get me through university but I started my career in public transport – I’ve been hooked ever since.
My first ‘real’ job was as a Finance Business Partner with Transdev (previously Veolia Transport or Connex), a France-based international public transport company. As well as Germany and France, I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked in the public transport industry across many other countries including Sweden, the United States and China before I moved to the UK.
When I arrived in Wales, I began looking for the main transport operator on the patch and I joined TfW in 2019. My role involves looking after and empowering my team so that we can deliver trusted expert advise to TfW on all financial matters. I work on big spreadsheets and a lot of what we do is (still) EXCEL-based but I also spend a lot of time in meetings and talking to people.
There’s never a dull moment in my role and no one-day looks like the next. I especially enjoy the days where my team and I can really make a difference and actively support TfW in achieving our business goal, to deliver a fully integrated transport system for the people in Wales. This could be by structuring our contractual payments so we can align our capital spend (the money we spend on things like our buildings or equipment) with the funding that we have available. Or by providing TfW with financial insights on different lines of route on the network so that decisions about how that route operates best can be made at a local level.
The funding pressures on TfW and the wider rail industry are very challenging but, on the bright side, this pushes us to constantly look at how we can do things better rather than accepting them as they are.
For more blogs, please visit news.tfw.wales/blog/celebrating-tfws-stem-women.
For more information about the job opportunities available at TfW, visit tfw.wales/job-hunters.