Caroline Litchfield shares the formula for a great career as she prepares to take on her biggest role yet.
Sometimes, the path to a career is clear even at a young age. That was the case for Caroline Litchfield, senior vice president, Finance, Global Human Health (GHH).
“I was always quite good at math, so finance was a logical path,” says Caroline. Armed with a mathematics degree, she joined the company in Finance in the UK.
“I was looking for a company where I could learn, grow and do good in the world,” she says. “And I found that here, but I had no idea of the diverse career ahead of me.”
Over the years, Caroline has combined her flare for finance and business acumen with roles that enabled her to learn and impact all aspects of Merck’s business across countries, regions and at global headquarters. In addition to the last few years leading Finance for GHH and the Emerging Markets and European regions within GHH, Caroline has held finance support roles in Merck Manufacturing Division and Merck Research Laboratories and at the company’s sites globally. She’s recognized as an expert in financial planning, resource allocation, financial reporting and compliance – and as a fierce advocate for Merck’s mission in the world.
All of the above propelled her toward her newest role as our company treasurer, responsible for Tax, Treasury and Investor Relations, effective Jan. 1, 2019. “This is a great opportunity to broaden my skillset, building on my strengths while helping Merck to deliver on the expectations of our customers and investors,” says Caroline.
From her earliest days with the company, Caroline says she raised her hand for projects that went beyond her normal work responsibilities, an effort that she says kick-started her career. Along the way, team members “always gave me honest feedback and open-minded leaders believed in me and pushed me to help me grow.”
Her family has played a central role, too. “Like so many of us, I am a working parent – and daughter and sibling. I have a great husband, two children and family who give me confidence and support,” she says. “When I’m not at work, I’m spending time with them. One of the wonderful aspects of my career thus far is that we have experienced different environments and cultures in a way that I never could have anticipated when I joined the company.
Many people have helped Caroline map a rewarding career, and she wants to help others do the same. She sponsors talent development for the Finance organization and the General Management Acceleration Program (GMAP), which helps create better leaders of the future. She also mentors individuals at all levels of the organization.
Her best advice? “Focus on your strengths. Always surround yourself with a great team. Most important, be true to yourself. We each bring diverse experiences, talents and thoughts to the table. Diversity leads to the best solutions so that we can continue to grow our business and best serve the patients who need us.”
Caroline Litchfield is taken back to an Emerging Markets meeting in South Africa when she hears the song “Heal the World.” A children’s choir sang the Michael Jackson song, and the words really hit home: “Heal the world, make it a better place for you and me, and the entire human race.” She says, “As I listened, I reflected on how special it is to work for a company that does exactly that.”