As VP of Finance & Legal for the Americas region, Anne Chone has many responsibilities. She manages finance processes and resources including planning, controlling, billing, accounting, taxes and cash collection. On the legal side, her job is ensure the business has strong contractual agreements, and is agile around business requirements and manages any potential litigation. To do all this, she needs – as she describes it – to manage a team of “super competent and engaged people.”
But her current position has been a progression within the business. After seven years in the company, Anne’s career path has evolved, from Human Resources to Finance. We sat down with her to learn more about her experience to date and how she has adapted to different roles.
Q. You went from Human Resources Manager to VP of Finance & Legal for the Americas. Was this route always your plan?
No! It was definitely not in my plan, I went with the flow! I was lucky to have great managers who trusted me and offered me those positions one after the other. I feel grateful to have been challenged in each one of them!
Q. With seven years of experience at the Cloud Communications division of NTT Ltd., you must been involved in so many projects. Is there one that you are most proud of?
This is a tough one! I’ve participated in so many of them at the Cloud Communications division of NTT Ltd. I think all the projects where several teams work together and meet a client need are the ones that give me more satisfaction.
Q. In your video you say that the challenges that arise come from the requirements of changing role. Did you have to learn new skills becoming the VP of Finance & Legal for the Americas?
I came from a finance background, so I did not have to learn the basics about finance management. On the other hand, American taxes were a challenge. Same with legal clauses in a client contract and how to negotiate them. All this was quite new. I have made progress on these for sure, but I am still far from totally at ease with it all! I am lucky to have great experts in my team who make it easier.
Q. It’s been 25 years since you moved from France to Brazil. You must love living there! What is the thing about living in São Paulo?
Without a doubt, the best thing about living in Brazil is Brazilian people. Without falling into stereotypes, they often make life lighter, do not complain easily, hardly ever engage in conflicts. The warm weather and paradise beaches just three hours’ drive away don’t hurt either! São Paulo itself is high traffic, high pollution, and high human density, so it’s not my favorite place to be in Brazil but we learn to make it work. It is a city that never sleeps and where you can find anything you want both from a cultural and gastronomic standpoint.
Q. According to your LinkedIn, you speak four languages quite fluently. Were you always interested in foreign languages?
Unfortunately, my Spanish is not fluent so let’s say I speak three languages fluently. French is my mother tongue and I was lucky enough to learn English and Portuguese when I was very young. I lived in foreign countries with my parents, who are retired scientists. Then it is just about practicing. Living in Brazil and working in English all day every day certainly helps!
Q. What advice would you give to those looking to develop a career as full as yours?
- Be yourself, don’t force any style or values that are not your own; it is not sustainable.
- Be open to opportunities; listen.
- Sit at the table, put yourself at risk. This is when you will be noted.
- Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and adapt your communication style.
- Be positive.
- Keep a work-life balance: noone wins when you are too stressed, tired or frustrated.