Aryuna McGloin - Financial Planning & Analysis Director at Spryker

Finance & Accountancy
15 March, 2024

Aryuna McGloin is a Financial Planning & Analysis Director for Spryker – a rapidly growing e-commerce software creator headquartered in Berlin.

Aryuna spoke to us about driving ambitious business growth in a forward-thinking, people-centered company, Spryker’s unique and rigorous hiring approach, and why having a personal growth mindset is so important when it comes to standing out from the crowd.

What excites you about working for Spryker?

I started my journey with Spryker about two years ago, having spent more than a decade working for Nike. The move from a large, corporate environment to the much smaller set-up here was a big change for me – and hugely exciting.

Spryker is a leader in the field of composable commerce software and is well respected for its innovative spirit. We’ve been recognized as a Visionary for three consecutive years by Gartner – a leading insights company, which positions and compares players in the major technology markets. That is something we cherish and plan to evolve further.

What struck me first at Spryker was the people – a group of friendly and passionate individuals spread across 50-plus countries who genuinely care about the brand and the business. We call ourselves "The Herd" and are proud to be part of it. 

I love Spryker’s FLOW approach to work-life balance, too. We benefit from unlimited holidays and can operate a flexible schedule. So, if you want to pack your morning, then take time out for your children, a walk, a workout – whatever it is – you can. 

We’re able to pick up our roles from anywhere, too, so a lot of the younger team members travel from country to country working from different places all the time. I’m a little more tied, due to family commitments (not at all jealous, honestly!), but I’ve had a taste of this kind of flexibility – combining a holiday trip with dedicated working time. 

Being fully remote also means we have access to the best choice of talent from all over the world, and our people can live wherever makes them happy, whether that’s city centers or in the middle of the countryside. 

How would you describe the culture at Spryker?

It’s very much people-first – after all, our people are the key element of the company's success. We say, that whoever you are, wherever you come from, and wherever you’re going in life, you’re welcome to join The Herd. We aim to ensure that our people feel valued, autonomous, invested, and cared for. 

This creates a sense of togetherness where we appreciate so-called herd player qualities. We care about what we work on but also about our impact on other people. Staying conscious of your behavior and how you support others is important. We also are not afraid to make mistakes, accept feedback, and keep an open mind to different solutions. 

We attentively hire and develop the right individuals, making sure they are involved in projects and tasks that interest and motivate them, so they stay passionate about their work. 

That trickles down to Finance, as well. When hiring, we look for individuals who are curious and proactive to find creative solutions to seemingly mundane Finance challenges – people who don’t just accept the status quo but look for the best answer to a particular problem. During the hiring process, we assess how conscientious, proactive, and open to new ideas they are. It's not a standard way of working, but it’s so effective. 

What are the key drivers of success within Spryker?

First, it has to be innovation and effectiveness – both ingrained in our culture and also reflected in our results. We aren’t afraid to run tests and pilots to make sure that we find new and better ways of doing things. 

For example, as soon as artificial intelligence came onto the horizon, we quickly created an AI steering committee to help break down barriers to acceptance and find ways to incorporate this into our daily working lives. From there, we developed a framework in which people are celebrated for proposing the best AI solutions for our products. 

Secondly, it’s our people. Are we hiring the best talent? We empower our employees to be the most capable and dedicated team that delivers exceptional results. 

To that end, learning and development are massive drivers of success, so we offer a wide range of options, from company-wide or team-specific training on our products right through to workshops on problem-solving and presentation skills. We want to help people grow with the company and to come on this journey with us. 

How does Spryker minimise bias in the hiring process?

We do this in two ways. Firstly, for every role across the company, we have a list of specific DNA traits that we look for and we shortlist based on these before involving the hiring manager. That way, we can be sure we’re matching them with people who are a cultural fit, regardless of their background or experience.  

We also created a final stage in our hiring process, whereby we ask someone who sits outside the hiring function to assess objectively candidates’ future potential, leadership skills, etc. to ensure we continue raising the bar with the people we bring on board. 

As for my team members, I’m curious to look at professionals across the whole of Europe, which broadens the horizons and brings a truly diverse group of promising candidates to the table. 

How does Spryker retain high-potential employees?

We believe in the power of creating an environment and work culture that everyone wants to be in. I’ve already mentioned the training and development opportunities, so - after that - it’s really about the day-to-day. We make sure people’s roles and responsibilities are clear, and that we’re providing all the necessary onboarding and tools to ensure they’re successful from day one. People need to be able to measure their own progress, so we have constant feedback cycles, salary reviews, and career development plans to ensure we keep them engaged. 

Our framework is set up so that employees can get involved in as many projects as they have the capacity for and see the impact of their actions. Coming from a much larger company, that’s something that stood out for me since I started at Spryker – decisions can be made quickly, and executed fast, and you can always see the difference you’re making. 

How does Spryker raise awareness around mental health and wellbeing?

The SaaS (Software as a Service) business is notoriously volatile, and things change very quickly, so you have to be resilient and adaptable. We have been running an internal campaign to educate our people on the relevance of the mental health topic.

Our flow approach – choosing your own way of working – helps people to cope with the demands of our industry. We’re also introducing initiatives such as no-meetings days and hours, so you can schedule focused and productive working time without the distraction of plugging into conversations along the way. 

Our Diversity & Inclusion team also runs workshops around creating balance in corporate life, and we’ve recently introduced a new employee benefit, giving colleagues access to mental health professionals across the globe. I’ve heard great feedback about it. 

What are the biggest challenges you’ll face in your role, and as a business, over the next 12 months?

There has been a big shift in the SaaS business environment. Once upon a time, it was all about growth over profit. Now, it’s very much about both, which of course means a lot of work for my team and leadership teams to ensure we reach our goals.

One subject on many companies’ minds is AI and how it’ll impact strategy over the coming three to five years. We have been working on selecting and incorporating AI tools in the most smart and efficient way.

What is a personal highlight of your career so far?

One that comes straight to mind was in my role as Strategic Finance Director. I was asked to set up a year-long leadership shadowing program, choosing forward-looking individuals from a 400-strong Finance division – people who really wanted to look into innovation and work on disruptive projects with a more agile approach. 

The team was made up of a great mix of people at different levels and from different functions – from analysts to directors. I created an environment where they could come up with some really fruitful ideas, and their sessions were a pleasure to facilitate.

Another career highlight has to be my move to Spryker. It wasn’t until I’d started the role that I realized how personally important it is for me to see the impact of my work, and to be able to find new, creative solutions within the Finance function. In this environment, it’s much easier for me to progress new ideas, and influence people and key decisions. 

If you could change one thing in your career, what would it be?

I would have made the shift to the SaaS industry earlier. I worked at Nike for ten years, built up a lot of experience, and worked with amazing people, but it was a long time in one place. I knew I wanted to make a shift, but I wasn’t sure to what or how I’d get there. It’s exciting to discover a life outside that environment and get my teeth into something new. 

What risks have you taken in your career to reach the level you’re at now?

I’ve been consciously intentional about any changes I’ve made. Some people would call it risky moving countries, changing industries, taking temporary contracts for maternity cover with no guaranteed future, but my main motivator has always been, does this role fascinate me?

I think the key to success is doing something you like for a business that interests you. When risks are well thought through, they usually pay off. 

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in Finance?

I’m a big cheerleader for personal and professional development. The world is changing so fast, especially within Finance, so you need to stay up to date with the latest trends in the market, assess what skills you need, and keep learning. 

I use a range of different tools to keep myself well in-the-know – from LinkedIn Learning to Coursera, which offers some great SaaS-specific training. 

Another piece of advice would be to focus on building trust with people you work with, whether they are your peers or business partners. This goes a long mile in any role but in Finance it's even more important.

How can a job-seeker stand out in the current market?

I’ve always said that whatever you do in your current job, do it to the best of your ability. That way, the references you get will be your biggest selling point. Or, if you’re going for a role within a company you already work for, don’t be afraid to go and talk to the hiring manager and ask for their feedback. 

You also need to find a way to show off the qualities that don’t always shine through on a CV or your LinkedIn profile, like proactivity, problem-solving, emotional humility, and passion for your industry or role. 

What are your best hiring experiences?

The best interviews are always the ones where a candidate shows curiosity and interest in the company and the industry. They’ve gone the extra mile with their research – not just Googling the top-line facts but going deeper to look at business goals and how we’re positioned against our competitors. These are also people who show strategic thinking and willingness to learn – even during the interview. 

I love asking them problem-solving questions where there’s no right answer. Well-prepared, passionate, and motivated individuals can discuss topics outside of their comfort zone and accept any mistakes they might make.

What’s the last thing that made you smile?

I have a nine-year-old daughter and a five-year-old son, and I may be biased, but they’re very funny! Before this interview, I was sitting in my office working and I overheard part of a conversation my little boy was having with his nanny – catching him express the random thoughts that come into his head is hilarious. 

We don’t have family living nearby, so the support I get from my partner and our childminder is as vital to my professional life as anything else. It means I can be fully present with my work, and then I can be fully present with my children – and I’m so grateful for that.

Can you recommend any great reads?

I’ve just finished, Dare to Lead by Brené Brown – a super helpful and practical guide to being humble and vulnerable in a leadership role.

Another is a bit unusual. It’s called The Accidental Creative – How to be brilliant at a moment’s notice, by Todd Henry. It’s all about how to be prolific and creative in your life and work, with lots of great tips on planning and managing your day.

What’s your favourite motto and why?

It’s actually written on my phone case – “Remember my vision.”

It was a career coach at Nike who suggested having physical reminders of my goals all around me. We grab our phones all the time, so this keeps me mindful of where I’m going and prevents me from veering off track. It’s a good little tip for anyone passionate about personal growth.

Thank you to Aryuna for speaking to Georgia Wright, Director in our Finance & Accountancy recruitment team in the Netherlands.

Views and opinions contained within our Executive Interviews are those of the interviewee and not views shared by EMEA Recruitment