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Saeideh Fard headshot for employee spotlight banner

Life @ PointClickCare: Saeideh Fard

We recently sat down with our SVP of Finance, Saeideh Fard to hear all about her journey to PointClickCare and why she sees a lot of herself in the pillars of the organization.

SVP of Finance

Not many people know the ins and outs of finance, but no one needs a calculator to know the impact it has on everything the organization does, from investing in new products and innovation to ordering office supplies. As Saeideh tells us, it’s more than just the financial output of our business, it’s about having a holistic view of our organization so that everyone can make informed decisions. One of the areas she mentioned PointClickCare is focusing on is financial planning and analysis. “I joined the organization about a year ago and this has been a key area of focus for us. We are working to leverage what we have built so far, as well as creating new capabilities and best practices for the future. To do this, finance has to work with senior leaders to help each group understand their impact on both the top line and also our cost structure. Understanding the links between these items and the contributions of each team is imperative for decision making. Thinking about those relationships within a multi-timeline perspective is key to optimizing for growth.”

A culture and change advocate

A lot of Saeideh’s career thus far has focused on transformation and change management. “As we have seen recently, change in business is common, especially in any areas that touch on systems and automation efforts, and that includes financial processes.” She also mentioned that the last  seven years of her career have been spent leading change proactively. “Change is now rampant across most organisations, and reactions in finance are often purely “reactive”. The perspective I try to take in a role like mine is to see the opportunity to lead change that benefits the organisation proactively vs. just being affected by change after the fact. I try to build teams and capabilities that help organisations think ahead.”

If you are in finance, especially at the leadership level, you know that change is inevitable. As the world changes, customers’ expectations change, and their experience needs to evolve as well. As a technology company, we understand this better than most. “From a finance perspective, we are the last touchpoint for our customers, so one of our key roles should be to understand and execute on the transformation required to address changing needs for customer experience.”

From a culture perspective, Saeideh explained that anytime you touch the processes or systems that help drive data which result in insights, you are helping the organization to make decisions. In her opinion, at the end of the day, the role of finance is to provide decision support to the rest of the business. “In respect to organisational culture, it changes when you introduce more advanced processes to support organizations in planning for the future. The more insights you can bring out in finance, the more you are enabling various departments to come together and make decisions that can have a lasting impact. The more analytical you become as an enterprise, the more you are enabling alignment on strategy execution throughout the organization. When everyone is looking at the same set of data and insights, then the conversation can get deeper. The challenge, of course, is in enabling this culture through a true partnership between finance and the office of the CIO who transforms systems and Business Intelligence tools on behalf of finance for the business.”

Perseverance and Grit

Two words that Saeideh would use to describe herself are perseverance and grit. Coincidentally, one of our founders, Mike Wessinger, has been quoted saying the same thing in his blog. In terms of these two words, and how they touch on her background, she told us that it goes back much further than her career. “For me, it goes back to my childhood. My parents are immigrants, they brought me and my siblings to Canada when I was 10 years old and I had to learn English from scratch. I think that with this early life experience, I succeeded at taking on a challenge that at the time seemed insurmountable, and that uncovered the resilience within my DNA. I go back to that early life experience a lot when new challenges come up. I see the child in me who could not speak a word of English in a classroom full of English-speaking children, and I see in my memory how I was able to overcome that terrifying feeling of not having any words. I see that I could overcome and succeed. That memory makes me feel I can take on anything. It has framed my mentality from that point forward and the other challenges that I took on later build on that foundation.”

Finding her place at PointClickCare

When Saeideh joined us a year ago, she knew PointClickCare was special, but what she would come to find is that she saw a lot of herself in the pillars of the organization as well. Those aspects of her character that she values above all else were the same ones she saw in those who had built the business. “I believe the fact that PointClickCare is still founder-led is a differentiator for us. This fact speaks to how many challenges the organization, and the founders, have had to overcome and how much grit and resilience they have had to apply. Every stage of success to get to the point that we are at required different skills and different perspectives. To see that the organization is still founder-led at this stage and at this revenue level, speaks volumes to how much grit and adaptability our founders have, and you really do see that reflected in the DNA of this organization. Our adaptability to take on new markets and new challenges, it is truly unique.”

She also told us that one of the reasons she knew this was her place was because of the incredible people she is able to work with each day. “The people in this organization, and seeing how they come together, has been one of the most rewarding aspects for me. When you look around you, we have incredible talent at this organization. I admire how open everyone is and, in my experience, when I have asked for further insight or to be included in broader discussions than just my areas of responsibility, people are always willing to help and to bring you along and they are always willing to be a part of the learning and development of others. The senior leadership team at PointClickCare truly cares. The leaders here don’t bring just their brilliance, they also all have a great deal of relevant experience. In my opinion, the relationships are one of the best things about being part of the PointClickCare team.”

What makes a great leader

As we continue to get to know Saeideh, we notice the unbelievable insights she retains. That’s why we asked her to tell us what she believes are the most important characteristics for a leader to possess. She told us ,“First it is empathy and EQ. Second, courage and decisiveness. And third, they must have the ability to ask questions and to really listen. All three of these lead to the final important characteristic, which is the ability to synthesize information brought from different perspectives.”

Saeideh has seen great leaders throughout her career and has found that learning from those individuals has given her perspective on how to be one. She mentions that earlier in her career, her roles allowed her to work closely with founders, CFO’s, COOs, and CEOs. She credits her experience in learning from those individuals, and witnessing them make those tough business decisions, as an instrumental step in forming her own leadership style. “Being able to go back to them and ask for their perspective or insight into those decisions, or why they ended up where they did or what they learned, that’s been extremely valuable to me. Whether it is successes or mistakes, I think we need to be reviewing the past to see what we can learn from others to shape our own future.”

Final thoughts

As an incredibly accomplished individual, it’s difficult to summarize Saeideh into a short blog article. She is a passionate leader who is constantly thinking of the bigger picture and how she can help make a difference. Outside of work, her passions are rooted in doing everything she can for minority and under represented groups in business, whether that be immigrants, women, or youth. It is because of these passions that she immediately felt a kinship with PointClickCare. “The causes that I feel passionate about tie into what PointClickCare values. Our leadership team really cares about helping others and I feel that I have a role to play in bringing a voice and perspective to those conversations. As a senior leadership team, we don’t claim to have all the answers to addressing D&I challenges, but I feel that we are asking the right questions and have the best interest of our employees and customers at heart. In the end, that’s what makes me excited to be here.”

April 16, 2021