Meet our new CFO – Georgina Carpendale

We are delighted to introduce our new CFO – Georgina Carpendale. We sat down with Georgina and got to know our newest Fitzgerald Power team member a little better.

It’s not easy being the only woman in the room, Georgina Carpendale would know. She has been the only one many times. “On a number of occasions, it’s just been me,” she laughs, her delicate glasses framing her dark eyes. “At times it was hard to get your voice across, so I was always more of a listener, I’d take things in. Although I learned to have a voice, not to be afraid to get my view across and to ensure I was being listened to. Things are always changing and evolving in the business environment too. The last company I worked for had a female CEO and founder, and Fitzgerald Power has great diversity.”

An experienced finance executive, drawn to challenging situations, the industry first came knocking on Carpendale’s door back when she was a teenager. “I remember being in secondary school and a Business Studies teacher asking me what I wanted to do,” she says. “And I was like, I’m going to be an accountant. And she laughed and said that might change as I got older. I’m very stubborn and headstrong, so from then on, I made it my mission to become one!” That same sense of dogged determination–or what some might call obstinance–crept up later again, still in her teens, when upon hearing that a family member of her sister’s friend had received a First Class Honours in her degree, she decided she’d get a First too. “I told my sister that that was going to be me, too,” she laughs now. “My sister told me it is really difficult to get a First knowing that I would put myself under pressure to achieve it. It didn’t bother me. I knew from then that was what I was going to do.”

Georgina with COO Noel Winters (L) and CEO Stuart Fitzgerald (R)

A new hire for Fitzgerald Power (she met with co-managing partner Stuart for coffee back in June ‘22 and he knew we had to have her) Georgina Carpendale boasts a wildly impressive CV and equally jovial craic. She started her accountancy career here in Waterford, graduating from South-East Technological University (formerly Waterford IT) before pivoting from Intern to Trainee to Audit and Tax Senior across four years at Aidan McAvinue & Co Chartered Accountants. From there, she left for Australia, Adelaide to be exact. “I know everyone goes to Sydney or Melbourne,” she laughs now. “But my then-boyfriend, now-husband went there because he had family living there, and so I followed him 6 months later once I finished my Chartered Accountancy articles. We fell in love with the place, how it was a big city with also a small town feel.” Her first job took the form of Audit Senior at BDO Australia Accountants, an advisory firm she loved. “The culture was brilliant, and I also grew to love the variety of the role–but around that time was when I really began to grow an interest into more of a commercial setting, so I knew I had to follow that.”

So a leap she took, into Signostics, a medical device company known as innovators in point-of-care ultrasound diagnostics. Within a year, she went from Finance Manager to Finance Controller and Company Secretary, leading her to become heavily involved in the restructuring of the company, which later transferred to California. Eventually, her role was made redundant by way of the US expansion–something she had plenty of notice was coming. Meaning that after four years, it was time to move on again. “I had given the company all I could, and, you’ll laugh, but I was actually looking at job openings in the local paper, and there was a CFO role for
a listed company on the Australian Stock Exchange,” she says now. “At first, I thought no way. But as I went through the job spec, I realised I had all the qualifications I needed and more. I spoke to one of the managers from my previous team and they assured me that I was more than capable, so I went for it.” That conversation led to four years at Micro-X Ltd, a pioneer of a global revolution in medical and security imaging products using cold cathode x-ray sources. The ninth employee hired, Carpendale along with the Board and other key members of the executive leadership team headed up building the company both strategically and operationally, transitioning it from a start-up to a global player.

Throughout her tenure, the company went from nine employees to fifty, a number that continues to grow today. While all of the companies I worked for shaped me in some way, Micro-X had the biggest impact it gave me so many learnings that I will always carry with me and opened me up to opportunities that I would have never even dreamed of particularly at such an early stage in my career. However, as the year 2020 pulled up–a time when we hadn’t even heard of COVID-19 –she and her husband had begun questioning where they wanted to continue their lives. They had built a life, a house and, in her husband’s case, a business, in Adelaide, but something was calling them home. Georgina finally made the move in July, and her husband six months later. “Because we had our citizenship, we had to show proof that we sold our house and had a one-way ticket,” she shares. “Luckily, it all came through pretty quickly. And the time just felt so right. I actually believe it was all meant to be, because my dad died suddenly later that year, something I never would’ve been able to get home for. There’s a reason I was there for it. Absolutely.”

From there, work came in the form of a nearly two year stint in the innovative veterinary therapeutic company TriviumVet, a Waterford-based clinic identifying treatments for companion animal diseases where there are no approved treatments. “I was convinced I’d have to go to Dublin to find the right opportunities but I was delighted to start in a role closer to home.” Working at TriviumVet brought the excitement of a start-up that I am drawn to, however, long term it just wasn’t the right fit for me. “I originally asked Stuart to meet for coffee to ask if he had any contacts I could consider getting in touch with, or what he might recommend for someone in my situation.” That coffee turned into Carpendale’s joint effort on a Fitzgerald Power project “in around June of last year,” which saw the team jump at the chance of keeping her. “I never had it in my head that I wanted to go back into practice,” she laughs. “But Stuart convinced me to try it on a six-month basis…and here I am now!”

What Carpendale’s looking forward to with her future with Fitzgerald Power is being part of the growth and supporting the new direction of the company. To be involved with evolving the great culture that already exists and ensuring that continues as the company grows. “It is important to me to bring people along on the journey, helping them to grow and succeed,” she smiles. “I hope
by applying my previous experience, I can give a different insight and hopefully add value to Fitzgerald Power and our clients.”

Her typical day varies. “I’m not in a great routine at the moment and have been giving thought as to how I get better structure in my day,” she shares. “I am usually up between 6am and 6:30am; I do like to have the time to wake up and get ready before I start checking emails.” It’s all about trying to not pick up her phone first thing she tells me. “I am generally in the office before
8:30am, but if I have a busy day ahead, I will try and get into the office between 7am and 7:30am”. Then it’s a coffee, calendar check and, usually, a number of meetings. “I like to have set tasks to progress in-between meetings. This way I feel like I have achieved something on meeting heavy days. This doesn’t always go to plan and you have to be able to adjust and be flexible!”

The leadership team check in with each other for fifteen minutes each day at 2pm. (“Ensuring we all know how we are getting on, what our focuses are and if we need any assistance or guidance.”) “At the moment, I tend to leave the office between 6:30pm and 7:00pm. Generally, I will head home and have dinner with my husband. After dinner, I’ll log in to my laptop to clear some emails or get some work completed that I know I can clear so I don’t have to carry over to the next day.” Then, it’s her time. “Throughout the day, whether it be first thing in the morning or in the evening, I’ll also try to read. Whether that be business-focused books or fiction. I also love to spend an hour watching a show where you can switch your mind off.” Ever the diligent student, Carpendale is consistently working on the routine that works out best for her. At the moment? “The biggest thing that is missing from my current routine is exercise, be that the gym, running or going for a walk. I love to exercise, not just for my physical health but for my mind too. Part of the reason it is missing is that I am trying to figure out my new routine and how it looks. It will be trial and error but it will settle and I will figure out how to best make it work for me.”

Georgina is a fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. In her spare time, she loves to spend time with her family, setting herself challenges–whether that is completing Hell & Back or setting running targets with family members–and is also passionate about developing people and supporting them to expand their skills or identify other areas for growth. We’re delighted to have her on-side, and have big plans for the future.

And there you have it! A little more insight in getting to know our newest team member – Georgina Carpendale – and we look forward to working with her.