Under 30 and Rising: Rigorous Training Means He’s Ready for ‘Curve Balls’
Senior FP&A manager Patrick Toutounji says he is better prepared for the “curve balls” that his role at a large multinational company would throw at him after completing two intense, highly demanding and intensive job rotations with GE.
“My biggest challenge was being part of GE’s rotational programs FMP and CAS. Ten times, every four to six months, I had to adjust to new teams, new businesses, new living environments and different roles,” said Patrick, a senior FP&A manager with GE Steam Power in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. “But by working under these tough conditions, I was better prepared to take on a senior role. As a result, if my job throws me a curve ball, I’m able to adapt more quickly.”
At just 28 years old, Patrick has completed Six four-month rotations on GE’s Corporate Audit Staff (CAS) program, and before that, four rotations of six months each on GE’s Financial Management Program (FMP) for recent graduates.
He relied on key principles to make it through those challenging times and still relies on them today: “Believe in myself, have a positive mindset, and act with a sense of sacrifice, patience, perseverance, ambition and humility”
But even so, he says, sometimes things still go wrong. So, he remembers a quote from “One of my favorite leaders in history [former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill]: ‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts’.”
Patrick always acts with the knowledge that “mistakes will come; that’s inevitable. It’s how we learn from those mistakes that counts the most.”
He also draws on advice given by his father: “What goes around, comes around, and always treat others the way you’d like to be treated.”
This mindset helps him to succeed in his role as a senior FP&A manager, a job he loves because he is exposed to leadership across the company. He likens it to being a co-pilot on an aircraft, where the aircraft is the business he works for. It’s his job to help pilot the business to land in the right place. He also is grateful because he can see the impact he makes in the business and because he works with people from across the organization, from marketing and sales to engineering and HR.
As a child, Patrick wanted to be involved in the movie business, and looking back, he thinks that in some ways, he’s living that dream, “I see that my leadership role in finance can be linked to the role of a movie director, in the way that the same leadership skills apply. I’m working with a lot of different people, and we’re all trying to get to the same end goal.”