As CFO, Erina Stockman holds a leading role in House of Travel, a privately-owned travel business with 75 retail stores across New Zealand and over 2,000 employees. However, before she was in the travel industry, her professional career began with Deloitte as a graduate. Erina took the time to share her memories of the firm for the Alumni newsletter, including dragon boating adventures and some serious caffeine hits…
What was your role at Deloitte and when were you here?
Andrew Button, a Tax Partner in Christchurch, took a chance on me and recruited me as a graduate in the Christchurch office in 2007. This was one of only three tax graduate positions with the Big Four in Christchurch that year, so I was really pleased to join the team. Then early in 2010, I took a leap of faith and ‘started over’ in Audit to expand my technical base, where I stayed on for 9 months.
Did you have any memorable moments at the firm?
I reflect fondly on my time in Tax, where I was challenged and fostered within a very talented team. Memorable to me was developing a good constitution for strong thick plunger coffee, which was a serious team ritual, over which several good technical challenges were discussed. I also really enjoyed a couple of seasons of Dragon Boating, where I harnessed my competitive spirit and met team mates from the various services lines, a couple of which I currently work with at House of Travel. We still reminisce about those ‘bad’ old days, when we were footloose and fancy free (ie. pre-children!).
Were you offered any strong pieces of advice at Deloitte that you still use?
Some of the Deloitte values at the time really resonated with me, namely ‘Talk straight’, ‘Play to win’ and ‘Have fun and celebrate’. I’ve taken these with me on my career and they tie nicely into some of the key values we have at House of Travel, especially ‘Talk Straight’. Effective and constructive communication is empowering and fosters an environment where everyone can contribute. It can’t be undervalued in business and life.
What do you do at House of Travel?
My role is the CFO of House of Travel Holdings Ltd, which is the parent company of the House of Travel Group. I lead a finance team of 30, which spans across diverse aspects of accounting, reporting, tax and compliance, most of which is performed on behalf of the HOT Group. I’m passionate about governance and in this role I’m enjoying working closely with the Board to drive the strategic direction of the business. The future of finance is a key focus in my role. We have embarked on an automation journey, generating some good momentum with automation of data extracts within Excel, data warehousing and robotics. This is key to ensuring we can free up our talented people to provide value-add thinking and ensure our business remains agile and future-proofed.
What is your favourite part of your role?
My favourite part of my role is growing and fostering talent from within my team and the business. There’s nothing more rewarding than having team members achieve their professional and personal goals. What exciting developments and challenges are facing the travel industry at the moment? Globalisation is a development that has recently provided House of Travel with great opportunity in opening the business up to new markets and customers. However, it’s also been challenging to work through how we govern and protect the business from new risks introduced.
What do you do for fun outside of work?
Outside of work I dedicate all waking hours to my young family, Caleb (5) and Charlotte (18 months). Life is fun and full of giggles! Do you have a favourite place to travel to? Rarotonga is special to us, with my husband having strong family ties to Rarotonga and Aitutaki in particular. Rarotonga’s culture has been preserved with family belonging and succession tied to the land, which feels unique. Discovering both islands was meaningful to us and we look forward to sharing this special place with our family.
If you could bring three things with you on a desert island, what would they be?
As much as I enjoyed the ‘bad’ old days, I couldn’t live without my kids and upon reflection if I didn’t take my husband, as my third, I’d be in big trouble! He is like a human Swiss Army knife so I’m sure having him would pay dividends!