Women in Procurement Wednesday: Rosalyn Curato on the important role others play in your career

Rosalyn Curato is the Executive Vice President at Lockstep. (LinkedIn photo)

To advance in any career, people need a mix of hard work, guts, intuition and a bit of teamwork to get the job done. Rosalyn Curato, the new Executive Vice President at the B2B accounting technology provider Lockstep, knows how important it is to advocate for yourself in the workplace. She says everyone needs to be able to “carve their own path.” Yet, Curato also acknowledges the importance of lifting up everyone around you to achieve true success.

Curato’s career initially kicked off in the corporate finance space. Curato held roles at JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup that fit her transferable, broad financial skills. After slogging through the long hours and financial models, she felt a calling toward education. She worked for nine years designing financial plans and strategies for organizations that advocated for the enhancement of school systems throughout the country.

In March 2021, Curato once again felt a calling to a more traditional finance role. She found a new opportunity at Lockstep, an accounts receivable (AR) and accounts payable (AP) automation solution provider, to transform its customer success team. She jokes that although finance, education and procurement may seem like vastly different industries, procurement really is everywhere.

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“Education is a multi-billion dollar industry, and there are a ton of tech companies and a ton of vendors,” Curato said. “You need to provide food or, now, personal protective equipment. Procurement is a huge function within school districts. The need for modernization is especially clear in finance. That's what perked my interest when I was reading about Lockstep and their products – the ubiquity of procurement.”

Curato says many companies used the Covid pandemic to reassess their finance functions and the systems used to monitor finances. Because of that, finance is really going through a rapid phase of disruption that is going to modernize the industry. Gone are the days of Excel spreadsheets or paper invoices. Customers need and want modern configurations, a natural place for Lockstep to fill in.

“Paper checks get lost and especially with Covid no one's going into an office to collect the paper checks or invoices,” Curato said. “There's no way to truly monitor and ensure that it's being delivered to the customer. So how does Lockstep remove that barrier? How do we make it easy and seamless for businesses to operate? If you have a business and you have one vendor or customer, there's a need for this product because you want to make sure that you're invoicing on time and you're collecting money on time.

“A big part of the value that we bring to our customer base is reducing the time it takes to collect that cash. They're also reducing all that manual, annoying work. … It's about reducing that frustration factor.”

Curato’s resume is impressive, to say the least. Much of that came from her intuition and drive. After being named a senior associate at Citigroup, she told her boss she wanted to be named a vice president within a year’s time, which is not a typical trajectory. In the meeting, Curato wrote down three steps she could take to reach that level, but the title wouldn’t be promised even if she achieved the list. When her next annual review came around, she was named a VP. It was by advocating for herself and carving her own path that Curato reached new heights in her career.

Not only has she achieved high accolades in all her roles, she has taken on leadership duties to help mentor and grow the next generation of finance professionals. Part of that, for Curato, is focusing on attracting, hiring and retaining top diverse talent in the workplace.

Retention is a big component of diversity initiatives for Curato. Many companies hire a lot of diverse candidates, but they can often be the first to get laid off or furloughed if situations, like an economic collapse, arise. Curato understands the pressures put on women and especially women of color in the workplace. For that, she wants to be a mentor and help provide quality training and resources to employees.

Curato aims to ensure everyone on her team at Lockstep starts with the same training in the Lockstep system. Curato will provide all the tools her new team will need to find success. It’s not just about hiring. It’s important to focus on long-term education and training to promote and advocate for diverse employees.

That drive to retain talent comes from the top down too. Curato says it’s important to take a look at the leadership of an organization. Global organizations need to reflect the communities they serve. It’s important to have leaders that have diverse backgrounds and experiences. Curato says it’s a “no brainer” for companies that are global in nature to reflect that.

Curato also recognizes that she grew her career in two heavily male-dominated industries: procurement and finance. Curato says great strides have been made to consider women and people of color in the workplace. It will only get better with time, too, as more women of color take leadership positions, she says.

One way Curato sees that happening is through women lifting up other women. Women should network and grow into leadership roles together rather than assuming a near-constant defensive position around each other. It’s about lifting yourself and other women to the highest level so that everyone benefits, Curato says. In short, women need to recognize the power in other women. That will make us unstoppable.

Read about other professionals featured in our "Women in Procurement Wednesdays" series. Are you a woman in the procurement space who has a compelling story to tell? We’re all ears. Send us an email at: sehrmann@spendmatters.com.

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