Rochelle Tarlowe had a decision to make. As senior vice president and treasurer at Avis Budget Group, Tarlowe had worked her way through numerous titles and roles. She managed the company’s thirteen-billion-dollar capital structure along with overseeing risk management, cash management, and agency evaluation, among other roles. Her boss and mentor had left the company, and Tarlowe was at a crossroads.
“I had to ask myself, was I happy to stay the course or did I want a new challenge?” Tarlowe says. “The reality is once you’re at place for fifteen-plus years, people assume you don’t want to go anywhere.” Tarlowe weighed the future obligations of onboarding a new boss along with ongoing organizational change and realized it was the perfect time to move on, because there was more that she wanted to do.
The SVP and treasurer for Omnicom Group has considerable shoes to fill. Previous treasurer Dennis Hewitt’s tenure dates back to the early days of Omnicom. But Tarlowe is up for the challenge. “I think I was brought in to look for opportunities to do things a little bit differently and see where I could increase efficiency,” she explains. “We’re a very large global organization, so you’re always learning something new.”
A Quick Learner
Tarlowe has only been at Omnicom since May 2019, but there is inherent value in catching the new treasurer in the middle of learning the ins and outs of the global organization’s business. The treasurer is focused on the effect she can have on Omnicom’s individual offices, which all fall under her purview.
“Like many multinational corporations, we have multiple treasury offices,” Tarlowe explains. “I want to challenge everyone in these locations to think more than about the people around them. Think of those in Dublin and those in Asia; we can find ways to do things more efficiently and more collaboratively.”
The complexities of operating on a global scale, Tarlowe says, should be mitigated as much as possible by direct communication. She realizes that it’s not in every company’s ability to routinely send their executives around the world (Tarlowe was, in fact, en route to the airport on the way to London during this interview). The treasurer says in that case, solve for the problem.
“When you’re working internationally, there is absolutely no question in my mind that language in emails gets lost in translation,” she says. “I can’t impress enough what a difference seeing a face makes. If you can’t meet face-to-face, use videoconferencing; you can find a way to make it happen.” If it has to be an email, Tarlowe says, make sure to be clear about your expectations and to ask a lot of questions that demand communication.
In preparing to make her move after nearly fifteen years, there is a lot that can be learned from the way Tarlowe set about seeking her next challenge. “I was lucky that I was happy in where I was, so I took my time in my job search,” Tarlowe says. “I looked for a good year and a half and didn’t take the first opportunity that came up.”
The treasurer also said the times when it seemed like there wasn’t anything out in the ether that matched up with her interests just made her more grateful to be where she was. There are benefits to job-hunting when you’re already happy in your role.
Since her career started, Tarlowe says she’s welcomed the adjustment to more flexibility in the way people choose to work but stresses that sometimes, powering through is the answer. “We’re living in an era where men are taking more time off for their families and people are doing things differently,” Tarlowe says. “If you want to stay in the workforce, don’t worry about making excuses for your personal life, just plow forward.”
When Tarlowe’s own son was diagnosed on the autism spectrum, she says she may have scaled back her work some, but for her, the right decision was to stay engaged in her work career and continue her development. “It might just mean not taking that overseas assignment or not taking that extra project,” she explains, “but you’ll be able to advance your career much easier if you avoid leaving completely.”
“I used to think it was about working on big transactions, but today I really value the opportunity to sharpen my leadership skills, to be a leader, and to motivate people.
Appreciating a Different View
As Tarlowe has progressed in her role, she has developed an appreciation for more than the completion of a project or initiative. “I used to think it was about working on big transactions, but today I really value the opportunity to sharpen my leadership skills, to be a leader, and to motivate people,” Tarlowe says. “I think I’m at that point in my career where it’s not about a single objective, it’s the value derived from working with a group.”
Tarlowe says that, by her best guess, most people come to work because they want their work to matter and they enjoy the people they’re working with. She’s interested in finding ways to motivate her team no matter their role. “That’s my job now, just working with a much larger team in a multinational capacity.”
Frans Braniotis worked with Tarlowe while at Avis Budget Group, and looks forward to continuing partnership at Omnicom. “Rochelle is phenomenal at building relationships, championing collaboration, and fostering strong communication with candid dialogue,” says Braniotis, Scotiabank managing director and head consumer of industrial and retail of US corporate banking. “The way Rochelle leads is effective and infectious, and it’s evident across her entire team.”
Tarlowe, who is based in New York, says appreciating the bigger picture is made easier by the beach house she occasionally finds weekend time to steal away to. The treasurer took a chance on a new position, and the view looks good.
For many decades, Aon Minnesota has served the Upper Midwest by providing the best risk and health solutions to the community. We use proprietary data and analytics to deliver insights that reduce volatility and improve performance. To learn more about how Aon can empower results for your organization, visit aon.com.