Finance Rising Star Awards 2024: Meet the Winners - Jasmine Alefounder

This article was originally published by Totum Partners on 08 May 2024. 

Totum’s Rising Star Awards ran for its third year in 2024, recognising the best of upcoming talent in HR, marketing and business development and finance. We spoke with this year’s winner and highly commended finance rising stars, to learn about their career aspirations and recognition from their firms.

Finance’s importance to a firm’s organisational and strategic success has long been acknowledged, but technological change, challenging economies and increased responsibilities means rising talent has plenty of scope to develop.

Totum’s Rising Star Awards 2024 recognises the best of upcoming talent in the sector, and we received an impressive array of nominations.

Rising Star Award winner: Jasmine Alefounder, Assistant Financial Accountant, Kennedys

Having previously excelled in a financial operations role within Kennedys’ billing team, Jasmine Alefounder took the courageous decision to change career path and move into a training position in the firm’s Group Financial Reporting team – despite having no previous account experience.

How did she land the role? By taking a proactive approach to her own career development. Back in 2020, Alefounder began to feel like she had hit the ceiling with her work in billing, having worked in the department for a number of years, even serving as Billing Manager. She reached out to Kennedys CFO Jo Woods to discuss different roles in finance, before talking to other people who moved departments. Ultimately, Woods offered Alefounder a job in her new team, as well as the opportunity to study her CIMA qualification.

“Jo saved me. I never imagined she would offer me a job in another team – I thought I’d have to leave Kennedys to move roles, and I didn’t want to do that. I started afresh when I moved over,” says Alefounder.

To then win it – I was speechless. When Totum’s Dee called me, he didn’t get many words out of me. It’s great for business services to be recognised

Alefounder recently returned to the business after a period away on maternity leave. As someone who is extremely career-minded and driven, learning how to balance home life with work was yet another new challenge to overcome.

“When I came back from maternity leave, I was just looking to find my feet again. I give credit to Kennedys for helping me settle back in – they have been amazing. I’ve been able to take on a lot of projects and I am so lucky to work here,” says Alefounder.

One of the projects Alefounder took on was ownership of the firm’s intercompany process, which involves understanding both legacy CJB processes and new system-led ICB billing, settlements, reconciliations and reporting. She also took the lead on management accounts work for Kennedys’ Dubai, Oman and Israel offices, as well as leading the local Oman audit work – her first experience of an audit.

“I really enjoyed my first audit and found it really good for learning. It gave me a foundational understanding on some of the processes I had been working on for a few years. It underpinned why we do certain things. I found it really helpful as I like to know why I’m doing things,” she says.

Her nomination for a Totum Rising Star award came as a surprise, but outside recognition is always welcome, especially in the business services world.

“I was just trying to survive maternity leave, so the fact that I did such a good job to get nominated for an award was massive for me. It was confirmation I had made it,” says Alefounder.

“To then win it – I was speechless. When Totum’s Dee called me, he didn’t get many words out of me. It’s great for business services to be recognised,” she adds.

Her team agree. In his nomination, Alefounder’s manager Alex Kenward called her a “highly ambitious finance professional who we consider to be a true rising star of the Kennedys finance team”. The future continues to be bright for Totum’s Rising Star award winner.

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