Wetteny Joseph sees any challenge that comes his way in a positive light, something he attributes to having grown up in Haiti before immigrating to the US. The ninth of ten children, Joseph left home at the age of twelve while his parents stayed behind in Haiti.
“Often, folks hear about my beginnings and say, ‘Wow, that is quite a bit of adversity you went through; what a difficult time it must have been,’” he says. “Even at such a young age, I appreciated how much of an opportunity it was to come to the United States. I appreciated how much my parents gave me in terms of work ethic and focus.”
When he arrived in the US, Joseph was fortunate enough to encounter people who were willing to advocate for him, people who could see his talent—even when he couldn’t see it himself. It was this belief that helped him build a successful career within finance and eventually become senior vice president and CFO at Catalent.
Known across the world as a prominent provider of leading-edge health products, Catalent is really a “service company,” says Joseph, whose initial role was vice president and corporate controller. “Our aspiration is to help people live better, healthier lives. When we partner with a customer, we’re going to do everything we can to help develop their candidate drugs and therapies to get them in the hands of patients who really need them.”
Joseph has been at Catalent for almost twelve years now, serving in several different roles before securing his current role as SVP and CFO. And for him, that role can be explained in one world: enabling. “The finance function is an enabling function,” Joseph stresses. “We are stewards of capital. If the company’s objectives are to grow and perform faster than the market, it’s our responsibility to ensure that we have the capital to make that happen.”
“Throughout my time at Catalent . . . I have felt like I belonged. I have felt like what I have to say matters and is valued. We want to give everyone that kind of platform so that they can be themselves.”
As CFO, Joseph drives a “cash culture” so Catalent can better understand how to manage and evaluate new opportunities. It is vital for those in finance to understand what customers really need and what value the company brings to a customer.
“I encourage any finance person to get out of the finance specific processes and spend time on the front end as much as you can,” Joseph notes. “Even if you don’t move to running a business, you can really be inquisitive enough about the customer and what they’re looking for.
“At the end of the day,” he adds, “what value are we adding to the process or the product? If you understand that well enough, you will be a much better finance person because you will be in a better position when you are evaluating what the company might want to invest in.”
Joseph also works hand in hand with the company’s project managers and business leaders to help them articulate what they’re trying to accomplish, what their challenges are, and what they may need from the finance teams.
“We’re trying to develop more products and better solutions for our customers, and do all that reliably,” Joseph says. But to do that, the CFO notes, a robust finance function is only the beginning.
“To perform at a level that outperforms the market, we need our people’s performance to be top-notch,” he emphasizes. “And it is well proven that if you have an inclusive environment and recruit and attract a diverse set of people, you’re going to deliver better results.
“Throughout my time at Catalent, wherever I have been within the company, I have felt like I belonged,” Joseph continues. “I have felt like what I have to say matters and is valued. We want to give everyone that kind of platform so that they can be themselves.”
“If anyone out there is struggling with their career, I just hope my story helps give them some encouragement, even if it’s in the smallest of ways.”
Joseph currently serves on Catalent’s Diversity and Inclusion Council and was recently inducted into the Executive Leadership Council (ELC), an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting Black professionals across the country and the world.
“I want to establish Catalent as a household name for diverse candidates just coming out of school as well as experienced professionals,” Joseph says of his first goal for his membership with the ELC. “Our brand is well established within the industry, and I think a lot of people resonate with our mission. Who wouldn’t want to be part of a company that could potentially help develop a response to a disease like COVID-19?”
His second objective is personal. Joseph knows the importance of executives sharing their stories and empowering others. He attended a conference where Ken Chenault, the former CEO of America Express, and Dick Parsons, the former head of Time Warner, presented their inspiring journeys.
“We all have a story, and if you are willing to share that story with others, someone will identify with it, which is what happened to me when I saw those gentlemen on stage,” Joseph wrote in Black History Month post for Catalent. “Connecting with people’s stories is a very powerful thing. It is the best way to learn, be inspired, and even understand ourselves.
“The stories of the Black experience in America are helping the world become more aware of the greater societal need for fairness and justice, just as storytelling may help companies foster a more inclusive environment,” he added.
He notes that he has never been shy about learning anything and being part of the ELC is a way to further his own learning and growth while advocating for other Black professionals. “I am excited to be able to advocate for others as people did for me,” the CFO explains. “If anyone out there is struggling with their career, I just hope my story helps give them some encouragement, even if it’s in the smallest of ways.”