Dawn Orr, CFO, WealthEngine
First job: Prior to college graduation — Various and many — everything from babysitting, tutor, accounting assistant at local Insurance agency, customer service representative at a local car dealer.
First full time job post college — Price Waterhouse — Pittsburgh, PA — Staff Accountant (Audit)
Non-finance job you¹d love to have: Renowned pastry chef and/or esteemed fashion designer
As we head into 2018, what should be keeping CFOs up at night: Two things — 1) How to be the market leader in their space and 2) Security and privacy concerns
Advice to young professionals considering corporate finance as a career: Never underestimate the value a CFO brings to the table with facts and reality. The CFO is the one person in the organization who has the ability to keep the management team focused on reality and being honest with performance against established goals and objectives. This is invaluable.
John Bruno, CFO, Nexus Systems
Hometown: Fairfax, VA
First job: Lawn business
Non-finance job you’d love to have: Business Professor
As we head into 2018, what should be keeping CFOs up at night:
- Capitalization - Maintaining a large cash balance while minimizing cash burn We are in the second longest economic expansion ever, a downturn is certain.
- Focus/efficiency – Are we doing enough of the right things and as little of the wrong things, each month. Employees will converge on what they can do, as opposed to what they should or need to do, over time. We need to make large and small pivots.
- Innovation/competition – Remaining a leader in the market, while simultaneously out innovating our competitors.
Advice to young professionals considering corporate finance as a career: Network, network, network. This will expose you to many different financial related careers early enough that you can quickly find your passion, then focus on it (MBA, CPA, CFP et..). Find a Mentor in a field (s) you are interested in learning more about and/or you are working in today. Mentors are a powerful force and can accelerate your career/compensation progressing by as much as a decade.
Jim Timmer, CFO, Virtru Corporation
Hometown: Clinton, Iowa
First job: Staff Accountant GTE Corporation (later merged to form Verizon)
Non Finance job I'd love to have: Orthopedic Surgeon
What should keep CFO's up at night in 2018: Cyber Security threats and how protected are their corporate assets
Advice to young finance professionals: Never underestimate the value of a great mentor and network (not using social media, but actual interaction with people). Learn how technology can transform data into business information and leverage it!
Kristyn Reed-Salow, CFO, Kit Check
Hometown: I grew up in Temperance, MI although I haven’t lived there since 1992. My hometown is now Old Town Alexandria, VA.
First job: Babysitting when I was still in elementary school. That was harder than my first professional job!
Non-finance job you’d love to have: Landscape designer or horticulturist
As we head into 2018, what should be keeping CFOs up at night: Attracting high quality talent in an increasingly competitive market.
Advice to young professionals considering corporate finance as a career: CFO’s need EQ just as much as IQ to be successful. Don’t become a quant jock at the expense of developing your interpersonal skills. Choose a career you love - not just one that you think you can make a lot of money in.