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Meet Gracy Pardillo, Concordia's AVP Finance and Controller

What’s it like to oversee student accounts, reimbursements and research funds?
September 25, 2017
By J. Coady

Gracy Pardillo is no stranger to the virtues of hard work and collaboration. During her first weeks on the job as Concordia’s AVP Finance and Controller, she has drawn on both to get up to speed on a diverse and demanding portfolio.

Gracy Pardillo, university AVP Finance and Controller Gracy Pardillo: “My main concern is to listen to user needs.” | Photo: Concordia

Pardillo is responsible for leading the university’s Financial Services sector, which includes serving a wide variety of stakeholders and overseeing student accounts, accounts payable, expense reimbursements, business processes, internal controls and research funds.

As AVP Finance and Controller, she is responsible for the preparation and finalization of the financial statements of the university.

It’s a demanding job, but Pardillo can count on 28 years of experience in financial management to rise to the challenge. She also credits her new colleagues with being extraordinarily helpful and welcoming.

“You can’t succeed  in the university sector if you don’t have a collaborative approach,” she says.  

Pardillo got her start in the private sector. She worked first as controller and then as director of finance in the cosmetics industry at Professional Pharmaceutical Corp. Subsequently, she worked as VP Finance for retail property advisors at Oberfeld Snowcap.

In 2005, Pardillo was hired by McGill to revitalize the university’s internal audit function. She quickly climbed the ranks, working in financial services for seven years.

After that, Pardillo moved to the Faculty of Medicine as senior project director of Finance and Administration. She was hired to restructure the faculty administration in conformity with the dean’s vision for the faculty.

To do this, Pardillo hired new professional staff and re-organized many existing managers and staff positions to transform the administrative structure in 35 academic departments into 12 administrative excellence centres. This greatly increased operational effectiveness within the faculty and resulted in greater compliance with regulations.

‘Universities are complex institutions’

“I enjoyed the fast pace and the challenge the faculty of medicine offered me,” says Pardillo. “It was a terrific opportunity to learn about the faculty’s operations and to work with faculty and administrators at all levels. Overseeing a change of that magnitude in an organization of that size requires the deft use of diplomacy, project management and communication skills.”

For Pardillo, working at McGill underscored the differences between running a business and a university.

“Universities are complex institutions,” she says. “For one, they’re governed on the premise of fund accounting, which is not the case in the private sector. That drives a different culture.”

Pardillo plans to build on her Concordia department’s existing professionalism, teamwork and accountability to serve the university community and be aligned with its key priorities. As part of her plans, she will contribute to updating necessary internal policies and processes to prepare for a new finance system change.

“I have joined Concordia at a very exciting time and I am delighted to contribute to important projects which will strengthen Concordia (administratively) to sustain continued growth, ” Pardillo says.

One major project will see her join forces with associate VP of Human Resources Carolina Willsher and chief information officer Marc Denoncourt to change Concordia’s financial and HR management systems.

The project’s objective is to enhance the overall reporting and operational efficiencies of the university. They expect the work to take more than three years to complete.

Pardillo took the job at Concordia because she was attracted by the challenge it represented.

“It’s a good combination of what I like to do. I’m in my element.”

Find out more about the Office of the Chief Financial Officer.


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