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Faces of October: Tejas & Christelle

Who are the faces of October?

Let’s continue our serie “Faces of October” with two new portraits: Tejas Sherkar, our Head of Data, and Christelle Yalap, Group Finance Director.


Tejas Sherkar, Head of Data at October

What do you do at October?

My responsibility as Head of Data is to drive data science and analytics capabilities for the business that will improve informed decision-making.

What did you do before joining October?

I worked as a Data Scientist for 1.5 years at Adyen in Amsterdam. Then came along an exciting opportunity to join October and build the data team, which I’m happy I seized and was granted the resources for.

Background: I’m an Energy Engineer from IIT Bombay and an Applied Physics PhD from University of Groningen.

What aspect of your work are you most passionate about?

It’s exciting to be at the interface between business and technology – to translate business questions into data science solutions.

We get to work with all areas of the business, be it for their analytics need with Sales/Credit/Operations or releasing a new Machine Learning micro-service as a feature with Tech and Product.

What are the 3 skills that you definitely need in your role?

  1. Creativity: To be able to interpret, manipulate, and extract meaning from data, and then use it to build predictive models and deliver business value
  2. Research: Set up controlled experiments and try different approaches/techniques in order to truly innovate
  3. Seeing the bigger picture: To understand the larger context of the work/project, because data science does not occur in a vacuum. This ensures most projects go into production.

What does diversity and inclusion mean to you?

Resilience in my team, company and the community.

What was your first touchpoint with the digital world?

I was exposed to programming early on in Engineering school, and while I didn’t take much liking to it at first, I eventually grew to embrace it fully during my internship abroad and later as a researcher when performing simulations.

How do you think technology will impact the industry in the next years?

I think technology will help make processes in the Finance industry more transparent and allow companies to be more collaborative.

What kind of job would you do if you were not in Fintech?

In Agritech or in Energy sciences, with focus on sustainable non-exploitative solutions.

What do you do in your spare time?

I have a road bike and like to go cycling (sometimes participate in a race), play the guitar, read books and listen to (mostly rock) music.

 


 

Christelle Yalap, Group Finance Director at October

What do you do at October?

I work at October as Group Finance Director.

On a day to day our team is in charge of on one hand reviewing the compliance of financial movements (cash, asset or other…), financial reporting, accounting… On the other hand complete with all October HR needs (payroll management, sourcing…) preparing reports.

As the Group Finance Director for October, I work closely with all teams, CEOs and external providers to mainly :

  • Review, help and guide my team in their work and improve our processes where needed.
  • Make sure that we answer all internal and external questions/needs related to legal, fiscal; financial; HR information.
  • Ensure that October is compliant with all Financials, Legals; Fiscals, HR requirement in each country where October is based: France; Italy, Spain, Netherlands and Germany.

What did you do before joining October?

I worked for a French Accounting and Audit Practice during and after my studies.

I then moved to London and started to work for US Groups like Cerner in France and Spain Project Finance and then at Sungard (part of FIS now) as Statutory Finance & Tax for a part of Europe.

Upon returning to France, I worked for GE Power Conversion France as Financial Controller and for GE Power Conversion Head Quarter as Operational Finance Controller in charge of group finance compliance & processes until I joined October.

What aspect of your work are you most passionate about?

I’m very curious and I like to be challenged; thus having this global role, including many topics (finance, tax, accounting, HR, processes, strategic…) with the environment constantly changing, growing and very human. On top of that, what is most important for me is to work with people I respect and appreciate.

What are the 3 skills that you definitely need in your role?

I would take the liberty to define skills required by those 3 simples quotes:

  • “Team works make it happen”
  • “Today we should be better than yesterday”
  • “Identify the problem and Focus on the solution”

What does diversity and inclusion mean to you?

For a company I would define it for as “Hiring and promoting someone for its skills, knowledge and mindset without taking into consideration physical criterias”. Using this definition this a must for companies who want to perform, thrive and last.

What was your first touchpoint with the digital world?

I had different touchpoints with the digital world; I worked for Cerner which offers digital solutions to hospitals; then at Sungard which offers digital solutions to banks and insurances.

In addition, my brothers are developers and have their own business, so it has been a part of my life since I am an adult.

How do you think technology will impact the industry in the next years?

The world was already realizing that technology would become more and more a part of our lives and was starting to change. The Covid crisis has considerably accelerated this change; we can say that the digital world is “one of the winners in this game” and I think we are at the genesis of “technological era”.

What do you do in your spare time?

I spend my spare time mainly with my family and friends : dining (when it was possible), travelling, visiting, seeing new things.

What I love is still to be amazed by the simplicity and the grade of nature.

What kind of job would you do if you were not in Fintech?

I don’t have a specific job or industry I would work for.

I do have 5 criteria / needs that I look for in a role: a good work environment, a believe in the activity or products of the business, an understanding that I can add value to the business, a challenging role and finally flexibility.

If those five are met, it does not matter what the specific role or industry is – I am up for it! And that is how I ended up at October…