Finance / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Emma Seymour, Chief Financial Officer at Deputy

Emma Seymour is the Chief Financial Officer at Deputy, an all-in-one workforce management solution that simplifies employee scheduling, timesheets, tasking, and communication.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I started with Deputy in February of this year as CFO and have been so excited and proud to join a company with such an inspiring mission and compelling story.

Deputy is an Australian technology company with a mission to simplify shift work. We do this through the Deputy app, which helps manage shifts and improve the relationship between business owners and shift workers.

Previous to my role at Deputy, I was the CFO at JobAdder, where I helped proactively scale the company from 50 people to roughly 250 globally. The role of the CFO has evolved far beyond a traditional finance function which at times can be quite retrospective and compliance-driven and is now strongly positioned as a strategic partner to the business.

I spent my early career specialising in the business services and advisory sector, where I counselled a strong portfolio of business clients and high net wealth families, supporting them with an outsourced CFO service.

I’ve also been fortunate to volunteer my time in various capacities to a number of NFPs and charities over the years, most recently as the Chair of the Finance Risk and Governance Committee for Women in Banking and Finance.

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

I’d describe it as exhilarating chaos. It can change rapidly. There are of course regular cadences around reporting, deadlines and stakeholder management. I spend a lot of time with team members and direct reports to stay across how we’re executing against strategy and tracking to plan.

Staying close to how we’re performing against our goals is essential so we can course-correct with plenty of runways should unexpected things happen. Taking the time to align with senior leaders around what we should be focusing on is also key to ensuring the whole company is moving in concert in the same direction.

This is a role that very much intersects with many teams and stakeholders so I’ll often find myself problem-solving challenges with other departments around the world across a variety of disciplines.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine? 

Even prior to the pandemic, Deputy has always been adamant about giving their employees the choice when it comes to flexible work. No matter where you work from, whether that be a cafe, the office or home, it is important for the employee to be entitled to decide whatever works best for them. 

Choosing where I work every day is really important for maintaining a work-life balance. Deputy has just opened a fantastic new office in Sydney which is designed to encourage the teams to work together, collaboratively whether it’s on a Zoom call or face to face.  

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

I think this is different for everyone; it takes time to find what works for each individual. For me, it’s less about how I divide my time between my work and personal life and more about how well I’m maintaining the quality of my health, my work and the relationships I value. I’m someone who is happiest when I feel challenged and make an impact.

So balance for me is more about being able to embrace the challenge and the stress and chaos that often comes with it but being able to take time for recovery at the end of a sprint and still feel present and happy when I’m with family and friends. I’ve learned the warning signs along the way to know when I need to take time to rest so my work-life balance is about constantly reassessing where you’re at and taking action when it’s needed.

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

I’m not sure if it’s been in the last 12 months but I start my day with gratitude. I just quietly take stock of all things I’m truly humbled by and grateful for in my life and it helps me start the day positive and energetic which is a feeling I carry throughout the day.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

I’m always listening to different podcasts – and am always being sent new ones to listen to! All-In has had a couple of great episodes.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

I love my Bose Earbuds! But everything else is Apple.

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?  

James Ferguson, CEO of Immutable. It’s been so exciting to see what Immutable has accomplished in such a short time and I’m sure it’s been a rollercoaster. I’m sure James would have some valuable learnings.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Balance is definitely a cycle rather than an achievement. I think it helps to know what really matters to you and why because we all have to compromise at times so having that point to anchor to is important. So long as you’re not compromising on the elements you strongly value or for too long, you’ll be better equipped to prioritise what matters and reach that equilibrium.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.