Navigating High Tech and Home Life: Women’s Leadership in Supply Chain Finance

Apr 18, 2024 | Blog, Working Capital

Solene Joubert is the Head of Product & Operations at Addendum Supply Chain Finance. Her job is to make sure that the Addendum’s Supply Chain Finance (SCF) systems integrates seamlessly with a myriad of different ERP and accounting systems.

Successful systems integration is critical for the seamless running and long-term sustainability of our company’s award-winning SCF programmes.

The role demands an in-depth understanding of the technical aspects, the overall strategy, and the specific business operations of each new client’s programme that she manages.

At work, Solene prefers to stay behind the scenes, focusing the spotlight on her team members. However, in honour of Global Women’s History Month last month (March), Solene has agreed to share some of her secrets to success. We learned about her experiences in a leadership role, as well as her life as a working mom and wife.

“Mentorship has been a game-changer for me, both personally and professionally. I was fortunate to have an incredible mentor during a critical moment in my career. Now, I’m grateful to be able to pay it forward by mentoring my own team.”

1. How do you balance your demanding role in Supply Chain Finance with family life?

It’s all about careful planning. Setting clear boundaries between work and home ensures a good balance between a demanding role in Supply Chain Finance and a healthy family life. Flexibility is also key. Sometimes you need to adjust plans and schedules to accommodate both work and family commitments. I also try to prioritise self-care – taking care of yourself improves your performance at work and enhances your ability to be present for your family.


2. What inspired you to pursue a career in Supply Chain Finance and Systems Integration?

My passion for problem-solving and optimising processes through simplicity drove me towards this career path. Supply chain finance plays a crucial role in helping companies navigate challenging economic times by freeing up working capital. I’m particularly excited about how this product benefits all parties involved and contributes to the economy.

My background in business improvement led me into financial project implementations. I found it really satisfying to resolve complex issues and contribute to projects with global significance. The chance to streamline processes using technology was a challenge I couldn’t resist, which is why I enthusiastically accepted the opportunity at Addendum.


3. As a woman in a leadership role, what challenges have you faced, and how did you overcome them?

As a woman in a leadership position, I’ve encountered challenges related to gender stereotypes and perceptions. However, I’ve never shied away from these challenges. Instead, I’ve embraced the opportunity to prove myself through my knowledge and dedication. I believe in working hard to demonstrate my value and significance.

Resistance to change is another hurdle, even when it brings significant benefits. To overcome this, it’s crucial to anticipate where resistance might come from and address it proactively. I focus on identifying key influencers and stakeholders who may resist change and work to win their support through persuasion. Change can be scary for some people, but I see it as a challenge to be conquered. When faced with unfamiliar territory, I’m not afraid to research, learn, and assemble a team that can tackle the challenge together.

“Sharing knowledge and fostering continuous learning are crucial. I empower my team by giving them autonomy to make decisions and take ownership of their work.”

5. How do you ensure your team remains motivated and productive in the fast-paced environment of SCF programmes?

To maintain a high-performing team, I focus on open communication and recognising the contributions of each member. We have a supportive and inclusive workplace culture. By acknowledging and celebrating successes, we recognise individual efforts and boost morale. This motivates the team to sustain high productivity levels. While recognising the value of each team member, we also try to leverage our strengths collectively. Sharing knowledge and fostering continuous learning is also important.
Lastly, in our team, we actively avoid a blame culture. When a mistake happens, we own up to what went wrong and put measures in place to prevent it from happening again.


6. How important is mentorship in your experience?

Mentorship has been a game-changer for me, both personally and professionally. I was fortunate to have an incredible mentor during a critical moment in my career. Now, I’m grateful to be able to pay it forward by mentoring my own team.

As a leader, my mentor exemplified how important it is to support other women. She deliberately exposed me to challenging work situations, which helped me learn to trust myself and not be afraid of change.

Mentors share insights and expertise, help develop and refine skills, and build confidence. By fostering meaningful relationships with mentors, people can navigate their careers more easily, accelerate their growth, and achieve greater success.


7. How do you manage the integration of complex SCF systems with various ERP and accounting systems effectively?

Successful integration requires a few key components. It’s essential to establish strong relationships with clients. This involves getting to know their business rules and constraints inside out. We need a blend of technical expertise and a deep understanding of business dynamics. We have a collaborative approach, working closely with stakeholders to understand their goals and requirements. This ensures that the integration process is as smooth and seamless as possible.

“When you start something, finish strong and keep a good attitude even when it gets tough. It makes life easier…”

8. What innovations in Supply Chain Finance are you most excited about, and why?

We’re proud of our award-winning team and robust platform. It allows us to simplify transactions, reduce errors, and speed up the overall process. I’m especially excited about ongoing innovation in SCF products because it means we can continue to enhance the benefits for our existing clients. Their growth is intertwined with ours, and by helping them to release more working capital, we contribute to a stronger economy together.


9. As a mother, how do you integrate life lessons into your parenting style, especially considering your demanding career?

My primary goal is to teach my children the value of hard work, perseverance, and integrity. I like to tell them: “When you start something, finish strong and keep a good attitude even when it gets tough. It makes life easier…” Leading by example is important because children learn more from watching us than from what we tell them. It’s important for them to see me balancing my career and family life. This sets an example for what they can achieve. I encourage independence and self-reliance by involving them in age-appropriate responsibilities. This teaches them valuable life skills like problem-solving, time management, and resilience. I also think it’s vital to regularly reflect on one’s parenting approach and be open to feedback from our children. That helps me adjust my parenting style to foster a healthy and supportive environment for their growth.


10. What future goals do you have, both professionally and personally?

Professionally, I’m committed to continuous growth within our supply chain finance team and our win-win solution offerings at Addendum. The aim is to help our team members become great leaders and to create an environment where everyone is excited to learn and grow. Building a robust support structure is crucial, as it serves as the backbone of our company.

Personally, my priority is being present and supportive of my children, especially during milestones in their lives. I aim to guide them to discover their paths and cultivate strong values, such as faith and finding joy in everyday experiences. Ultimately, if I can instil these qualities in my children, that would be a true measure of success.

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About Addendum

Addendum provides supply chain finance and funding solutions to companies and funders in Africa. Please contact us for more information about how we can unlock value for your business.

Addendum provides financial technology solutions to companies and funders and aims to become the benchmark for best execution in our targeted markets. Our fintech solutions are capable of unlocking capital and funding for businesses of all sizes. We have designed real-time, online solutions that make markets transparent and products simple and seamless to execute.

Where others saw a barricaded, antiquated machine, we saw possibility. With transparency, convenience and choice as founding principles, Addendum puts you in charge. We believe that a small change to your business strategy – an addendum – can open a world of potential for your business.