Refinery29’s Finance Exec Shares the Advice That ‘Always Stuck With Her’

March 11, 2019

By Molly Boyce, industry marketing lead at NetSuite
 4-minute read

In short:

  • Jodhi Tarr is the VP financial controller at Refinery29(opens in new tab). Her career path spans industries and nations, proving there’s no single route to your own definition of success.

  • Tarr offers advice for entrepreneurs, women and finance experts based on her 16 years of experience.

  • She also shares her “go-to piece of business advice” that’s refreshingly real.


There truly is no singular path to success(opens in new tab) in any given field. In Jodhi Tarr’s case, success came from covering substantial ground in her career--both geographically and across industries. 

Tarr kicked off her finance career in Wellington, New Zealand before moving to New York City. She started in the renewable energy space and ultimately ended up in the media industry(opens in new tab). She is now the VP financial controller at Refinery29, a digital media and entertainment company.

Jodhi Tarr is the VP financial controller at Refinery29, a digital media and 
entertainment company that prioritizes women and inclusion. (credit: Instagram/refinery29(opens in new tab)
R29(opens in new tab)


Grow Wire Q&A'd with Tarr to explore her career progression and get her advice for business leaders. 

Questions and responses were edited slightly for clarity.  

Grow Wire: What was your first job after college graduation, and what did you career trajectory look like?

Jodhi Tarr: [After college], I worked for [accounting company] BDO in Wellington, New Zealand while I was getting my chartered accounting designation. But I worked in a factory during the holidays whilst at university. This gave me a real focus on furthering my education as well as an understanding of trade work, which would serve me well when I later worked with a maintenance crew in the renewable energy field.  

[My career path] looked pretty traditional in terms of the Big Six(opens in new tab)-to-corporate-accounting route, but I made some detours working for startups and moving across industries like finance technology, publishing, venture capital(opens in new tab), media, oil trading and renewable energy. Working in finance in NYC, I’ve found many of the jobs are in the media and advertising industry.

“Working in finance in NYC, I’ve found many of the jobs are in the media and advertising industry.” 

GW: Why Refinery29?

JT: Experience in the media field launches you into a role such as mine here at Refinery29 … It provided me with the opportunity to work with dedicated people who live the company values. They are innovators in the market and deserve their high brand recognition, as they promote and empower women(opens in new tab).  

GW: Did you have mentors(opens in new tab)? If so, how do you think they impacted your career?

JT: I haven't had any dedicated mentors, but there are people I have worked with that I admire greatly and would work with again. I always keep the lines of communication open(opens in new tab) with them, and they are my go-to resources for questions that arise ... I thoroughly enjoy mentoring others and sharing my experience or providing support for my staff. It’s one of the highlights of my role.


GW: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

JT: I asked a CFO(opens in new tab) at a firm I worked for in publishing for his advice on my career. He said: One, get good people around you. And two, ensure the information you receive is in the form that gives you the most understanding of a situation. This advice really stuck with me.

“One, get good people around you. And two, ensure the information you receive is in the form that gives you the most understanding of a situation.”


GW: How do you think the image and role of women has changed throughout your career?  

JT: I have enjoyed seeing women obtain increasingly senior roles(opens in new tab) over the course of my career. New Zealand has a great history in this respect as the first country giving women the right to vote and having three female prime ministers in the last 20 years. I think this erodes implicit biases people hold and shifts the focus away from gender. The people I work with now who are starting their careers hold vastly different views than many in my generation and older. Overall, this generation is less antiquated and traditional; they are shaking things up.

GW: As a mentor to new entrepreneurs, what do you see as their biggest challenge? 

JT: … I think the biggest challenge as an entrepreneur is articulating a key value proposition(opens in new tab). There are a flood of ideas and products in the market vying for attention. The most important aspect of any company is to solve a problem(opens in new tab) and demonstrate value.

“The most important aspect of any company is to solve a problem and demonstrate value.”


GW: What’s your go-to piece of advice for other businesspeople?

JT: Be authentic. Don't mold yourself to any preconceived notions(opens in new tab) of being a woman, or a man. Bring your own character. There are so many opportunities in the world--it may take some time to find your role, company or customers, but once you connect, life will be well-lived. 

Hear how other female leaders have kicked off their careers and get their tips for climbing the ladder at SuiteWorld19(opens in new tab), a conference about growing beyond in business.

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