What advice would you offer to women
just starting out in the industry?
I am a true believer that strong performance, coupled with active networking
and positive attitude to challenge, will
naturally lead to sponsorship and career
Performance is key; it is the fundamental of gaining respect in any
organization. Networking is a strong
tool to promoting and branding yourself.
Be proactive in pushing the boundaries
of your comfort zone — learn, unlearn
and learn again; it will only make you
stronger. In the process, don’t forget to
be patient; things will not always go your
way or as quickly as you expected and
don’t forget to celebrate victories with
those who helped you.
When you enter the industry as a newcomer, you quickly notice that it tends to
be a very small community of committed
professionals with long steadfast careers
— that is always a great sign.
What do you think the industry could
do to attract and retain the best and
the brightest today?
I believe there is much more we can
do to create awareness of commercial
lending activities at early stages. Many
people don’t really know the range
of alternative funding solutions out
there and their impact on the long-term
viability and growth of small, medium
and large corporate businesses across
an incredible variety of regions. Our
business has done a great job putting
together a 9-month Commercial Distribution Finance Graduate Program that
enables young talent to discover critical
aspects of our business during three-month rotations. As my CEO says, we
should probably go a step further and
start creating awareness of our industry
and coaching young and diverse future
talent in schools!
Retention is led by our team leaders;
they need to be equipped to encourage
an ongoing two-way dialogue based on
trust – about assignments and about deliverables, of course – but, beyond that,
about an employee’s career aspirations,
training and work-life balance. Our
team leaders need to make it a priority to show ongoing respect for their
team members as it will lead to a strong
workplace culture as well as positive
experiences and memories that they will
What do you know now that you wish
you knew in the beginning of your career?
That there are truly no limits to what you
can achieve. Don’t be discouraged if you are
unclear about your personal career path.
Stay curious, be patient and be kind to yourself: it can take time to figure things out and
your priorities are continuously evolving.
What kind of role has mentoring and/or
sponsorship played in your career?
I have had the privilege of having many
mentors in my career and personal life:
leaders, managers, peers, family members
and friends. I started my career in commercial real estate in the finance function,
I learned a lot and I am grateful for every
bit of that experience. At some point I
understood that my drive to serve internal
customers could be leveraged to deliver:
value to external customers in a commercial role. I used my network and my
mentors to get introduced to the relevant
people that could give me a headstart to
the job I aspired to.
Sponsorship has only come very recently in my career; it is something you earn
with consistent hard work and dedication.
My sponsors have helped me to continue
pushing the boundaries of my comfort
zone and have propelled my career. Their
support has been instrumental in my appointment to lead our technology receivable financing programs in the Middle East
and Africa, a very challenging professional
and cultural experience that has proven
very motivating and rewarding to me.
Caroline Berna Perez
Vice President Technology
Wells Fargo Distribution Finance
ince 2015 Carolina has been the vice president of Technology Financ-
ing Programs in the Middle East and Africa, overseeing the existing
Commercial Distribution Finance (CDF) receivable financing book. In
her role she is responsible for retaining and developing new relation-
ships with channel partners (broad-line distributors, value-added resell-
ers and systems integrators) in 10 countries across the MEA region.
Most recently, Carolina was the CDF regional sales manager for the UK and Spain.
In this role, she delivered value to a variety of dealers and manufacturers across
multiple industries (recreational vehicles, tech, marine). Carolina played an important role in building CDF’s inventory financing presence in Spain and Portugal,
where CDF grew financed volumes exponentially year-on-year.
Prior to CDF, Carolina worked in GE Capital Real Estate in Paris and Madrid for 6+
years as an asset management finance analyst and expense/productivity leader.
A native of Spain, Carolina earned a Master in International Business Management
from Universidad Carlos III in Madrid and Warwick Business School in Coventry. She
speaks English, Spanish, French and Italian.