This episode of the CFO Playbook features an interview with Gemma Castle, CFO at Cult Wines, which blends heritage, expertise, and innovative technology to transform the fine wine industry for producers, wine enthusiasts, collectors, and investors alike. With over 20 years of experience, Gemma Castle is well versed in delivering nuanced and sophisticated financial strategies in the fast growth SME sector.
As CFO at Cult Wines, Gemma has been pivotal in providing financial leadership and guiding the company through critical stages of growth, including navigating the implementation of North American offices. Before joining Cult Wines, Gemma worked in the leisure and hospitality industry for 10 years, where she served as Director of Finance for Travelzest and Yotel Limited Global Hotels, as well as CFO for Light Cinemas Limited.
In this episode of the CFO Playbook, Gemma talks about the process of investing in wine and how her company ensures a high level of quality control. She explains the importance of collaboration among the finance team, while providing avenues to give them the best chance to be productive and successful. Gemma also gives insight on why she thinks embracing and investing in technology is critical for efficiency, progress, and connection when it comes to employees, clients, and recruiting.
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“I think it's all about having good support. My department’s success is not just down to me, it's down to the people I employ and if they work well, then that's obviously a good reflection on me. And if they don't, then obviously I have to carry the can for that. So I think, balancing the demands means having the right people in your teams so you don't feel the need to micromanage. You want to feel perfectly secure that everybody's doing their job.”
“To get to be a CFO, I think you have to learn from your mistakes because you are going to make mistakes, but it's how you then move on from them. It includes listening to people. You shouldn't profess that you've got all of the answers and, if someone else does have a good suggestion, don't be scared of acknowledging that person. Because, I've been in a number of roles where some people have made some very good ideas and perhaps more senior people have taken credit for it. So, it's all about giving credit where it's due.”
Time Stamp Topics:
01:50 Professional Journey
05:30 Fine Wine as an Investment
09:00 Quality Assurance for Wine Investors
09:00 Cult Wine’s Finance Function
14:45 Finance Team Development and Collaboration
17:30 Hiring and Retention Challenges
20:30 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
23:48 Technology, NFTs, and Blockchain
30:30 Technology as a Tool for Efficiency
34:30 Time Management, Team Reliability, Being a Good Leader
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