Inspiring Women: Heba Eltarifi
Every month, Prime Mover Magazine, together with Women in Industry, recognises a woman of note who is relentless in working to make the transport industry a better place. This month we speak to Scania Australia Chief Financial Officer, Heba Eltarifi.
What first drew you to the commercial road transport industry?
A. My introduction to the commercial road industry was not planned, it was part of a career progression move from the government sector into the private sector. I wanted to work with an income statement that shows profit and tax lines. I‘ve held four different positions over the past 13 years. There’s no shortage of opportunities.
Q. What does a standard day for you look like?
A. I feel like standard days don’t exist anymore. In my role as a CFO I deal with a vast number of internal and external stakeholders, from satisfying our reporting obligations to the parent company, to the ATO, local regulatory bodies and to our appointed auditors to the daily interface with all areas of the business from sales to aftersales, finance HR, executive management team locally, regional and global management teams.
Q. What has been a highlight of your career so far?
A. Working with a team of executives of diverse skill sets and experience background and being able to make a difference to the running of the company and the people who work in it.
Q. What is the best thing about the transport industry?
A. Other than being the backbone of the economy, it is continuously expanding and evolving. It is not only about commercial vehicles moving cargo from A to B, there are more products, services and technologies being developed specifically for the transport industry, creating endless business and associated recruitment opportunities.
Q. What do you think could be improved?
A. All this change opens up opportunities for a more diverse skill pool, which means we are able to attract more women to enter the industry. Whether office- or field-based roles, making slight changes to working conditions would help us overcome skill shortages.
Q. What do initiatives like the Women in Industry Award/Conference mean to you?
A. It empowers women when they see other women achieving what they themselves aim to achieve, and feel recognised for their contributions to various industries. It also demonstrates that there are women in key roles in the industry and gives them a chance to exchange views and ideas.
Q. How can people and companies in the transport industry better promote it as a career of choice for women?
A. Our recruitment process provides equal passage to both males and females to excel in both the traditional mechanical and sales type roles as well as newly created connectivity and data analytic roles.
Scania has several highly successful women in its ranks globally – in Scania Australia, in addition to myself, we also have a female Chairman, Rebecca McGrath, and my predecessor, Marie Sjodin-Enstrom, went on to lead the Scania Assistance business globally and is now the MD of Scania South East Asia and is on our Scania Australia board.
Image: Heba Eltarifi.