This is the first post in a series called Life at Uniphore where we interview employees at Uniphore from around the world. Today, in our first post, we sat down (virtually) with Jenny Vanta, VP Corporate Controller. She shared with us her background, some lessons in leadership and some fun tidbits about her as a person.
Tell us what you do at Uniphore.
As the company’s corporate controller, I am responsible for ensuring timely and accurate financial reporting. This includes running efficient and effective finance operations and managing our accounting records for compliance purposes. I also set up and execute our operational and financial goals.
What is your background?
I grew up in a small city in the Philippines and graduated from a Catholic university in Manila. I became a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) after graduation and joined a local audit firm affiliated with the ” Big 4”. In 2005, I had an opportunity to migrate here to the US as there was a massive demand for CPAs in relation to the SOX implementation. When I moved to Southern California, I had to start again, i.e., I joined Grant Thornton (GT) as a staff and had pursued the California CPA license after a few years as a requisite for being promoted to a manager position. I moved to the Bay Area in 2008 to be closer with family and stayed at GT until 2014. I joined Lithium as an Accounting Manager and worked my way up as the VP-Corporate Controller.
What was the defining moment in your career where you pivoted towards being a leader?
It was back in 2017/2018 after Vista acquired Lithium. I was at a crossroads to either leave the company as it was no longer on the IPO route. Many of our leaders had to make a choice whether to leave or stay at the company and be part of the post-acquisition transition. I decided to stay and I am glad I did It gave me an opportunity to step-up as the Corporate Controller where I had to rebuild the accounting team as well as lead and execute various changes to adapt to new operational and strategic goals. Throughout this process, I learned leadership, mostly by doing. I also learned that effective leaders need to be able to step out of their comfort zone and evolve with the changing environment, which is what I did.
Who was your mentor growing up?
My mom is my mentor in life. I grew up in a traditional household where my father had to work while my mom stayed home to care for us. But my mom would always go out of her way to earn extra income and manage our household. She instilled valuable life lessons in me and encouraged me to excel in my studies and pursue my career. I always remember from her when faced with challenges that “every problem has a solution.” This helps me stay grounded and find solutions to challenges and accept the consequences of my actions.
In my professional life, I was lucky to have worked with great bosses/mentors who have given me opportunities to excel in my job and the inspiration that women can succeed in their careers while growing their families as wives and mothers. I am fortunate that the companies I worked for empower women and support my pursuit to balance my professional and personal life.
Who is a woman you admire for her leadership?
It’s hard to choose just one because there are so many great women leaders in business, politics and various industries. But the one woman leader who has inspired me is Michelle Obama. She is a role model. She embodies a revolutionary and modern woman who is a champion for different causes while emphasizing family values and maintaining a positive influence.
What skills do you think make a good leader?
A great leader has a clear vision of what she wants to achieve for herself and her team. She dares to pursue the right things to do and make timely/difficult decisions to support her vision. She brings out the best in people because she inspires them to pursue excellence and empathy to others.
What advice would you give for the next generation of women leaders?
My advice is to join/stay in a company where opportunities are up for grabs and grab those opportunities even if you think you don’t have all the qualifications yet. Look for a couple of mentors early on who would inspire you, advocate for you and guide you in your career progression. Lastly, adapt to changes but be true to yourself.
“Look for a couple of mentors early on who would inspire you, advocate for you and guide you in your career progression. Lastly, adapt to changes but be true to yourself.” – Jenny Vanta, VP Corporate Controller at @uniphore
Rapid-fire Get to Know You:
Fiction: Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
Non-fiction: Lean In (Sheryl Sandberg)
Island getaway or camping adventure?
Castaway Cay (Disney island)
Celebrity you met or want to meet:
The first word you think of when you hear the term AI:
Thank you Jenny for your time!
Uniphore is a great place to be with more great people like Jenny. Check out our job openings and apply today.