Erica Blythe FINANCIAL DIRECTOR NAME: Erica Blythe AGE: 40 ROLE: Director of Finance COMPANY: ICC Sydney From serving hot chips and hamburgers at the local café to crunching numbers as the director of finance at one of Australia’s leading venues, International Convention Centre (ICC) Sydney, Erica always knew she had an affinity with the hospitality industry. After completing work experience at a hotel in Canberra and at KPMG, she knew she wanted to combine hospitality with her love of numbers. “I was lucky that I knew what I wanted to do very early.” Erica says. Erica’s career in the hotel industry began as a trainee at the Sofitel Wentworth in Sydney and it was here that she developed a “spark” for finance. During the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, Erica was seconded to the finance department to collect deposits. “I loved it. I was just lucky the financial controller at the time saw the spark as well and offered me my first full time role in the finance department.” She says. With her sights set on finance roles, Erica completed a Bachelor of Business, majoring in Accounting by correspondence at Charles Sturt University and a CPA to become a Certified Practicing Accountant while she climbed the ladder in the hotel industry. “I have the luxury of being able to crunch the numbers in my office. Then walk outside and see the visual and tangible side of the numbers with our amazing events. That’s unique to hospitality.” If this wasn’t enough, Erica balanced her career ascent with becoming a mum. She says building her career while being a mum was one of the most challenging things that she did ”two times over”. “Looking back at it now, I’m not even sure how I did it but it taught me a lot of skills that I didn’t have to begin with. I had to learn to delegate, prioritise and say no. It helped refine leadership skills.” She says. As director of finance at ICC Sydney, Erica forecasts numbers for the next five years, advising on any opportunities and risks. Forecasting numbers for a $1.5 billion world-class event destination is a high pressure position because these numbers influence what decisions are made. “I have a team working with me and accuracy is very important in the finance department.” She says. Boasting spectacular views of Sydney Harbour and the city skyline, ICC Sydney is situated in the heart of Sydney and hosts a range of events from banquets for over 2,000 to concerts in its theatre with a capacity of 9,000. “I have the luxury of being able to crunch the numbers in my office. Then walk outside and see the visual and tangible side of the numbers with our amazing events. That’s unique to hospitality.” She says.