468: A Cross-Functional Black Belt | Justin Spencer, CFO, Vocera Communications

A Cross-Functional Black Belt Vocera Communications CFO Justin Spencer’s strategic-finance breakthrough had little to do with corporate finance and everything to do with the drivers of strategic success. In an earlier CFO role, the tech executive had heard just about every ERP horror story there is—about sordid scope creep, sketchy implementation firms, unending projects, the…
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467: The Exponential Value of Saying, “Thank You!” | Elena Gomez, CFO, Zendesk

Zendesk CFO Elena Gomez followed up a top-notch education (a degree from UC–Berkeley’s Haas School of Business) with a series of finance executive positions within some highly impressive companies—Charles Schwab, Visa, Salesforce, and, since April 2016, Zendesk, a customer experience and help desk platform company that's posted remarkable, largely organic, growth in recent years. Despite…
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466: Energizing the Realm of Early-Stage Pharma | Jeffrey Farrow, CFO, Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT)

An Early Dose of Pharma Start-Up Experience When Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT) CFO Jeffrey Farrow says that he took the corporate-finance career path less traveled, he really means it. As an undergraduate biology major, Farrow and a couple of entrepreneurial-minded postdocs hit upon a way to identify a protein thought to cause Alzheimer’s. The group…
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465: Catching the Next Wave, Again and Again | Steve Cakebread, CFO, Yext

A Humble Take on a Hall-of-Fame Career Yext CFO Steve Cakebread’s resume is extraordinary, given the preeminent companies he’s worked for (HP, Silicon Graphics, Autodesk, Salesforce.com, Pandora, and Yext), the new technology categories that he’s helped to bring to market, and the staggering growth that those organizations posted under his corporate-finance leadership. Cakebread joined Salesforce…
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464: Shortening Your Customer’s Time to Value | Gordy Brooks, CFO, FinancialForce

Problem-Solving Strengthens the CEO–CFO Partnership One of FinancialForce CFO Gordy Brooks’s most valuable early career-building experiences began by butting heads with his CEO. The chief executive insisted on issuing sales commissions on a weekly basis—an ask that would have most finance chiefs pulling their hair out.  After the CEO stuck to his guns in the…
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463: Determining Your Course of Action | Jennifer Ceran, CFO, Smartsheet

Two Ways to Get to the CFO Office A regular on Treasury and Risk Management magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in Finance” list, Smartsheet CFO Jennifer Ceran joined the company, a SaaS platform for managing collaborative work and automating work processes, in 2016 with impressive Silicon Valley bona fides. She’s served as CFO and in…
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462: Understanding What Drives the Numbers | Justin Crotty, CFO & COO, Anaqua

Props to Anaqua CFO and COO Justin Crotty for allowing us to first zero-in on his early career chapters when the economy showed no mercy. Crotty, who joined the leading provider of intellectual property management software and services about three years ago, launched his career with a tech consultancy at the height of the dot.com…
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461: Authoring Your Finance Career Adventure | Andrew Jackson, CFO, Ra Medical Systems

High-Risk, High-Reward Career-Building At first glance, Ra Medical Systems CFO Andrew Jackson’s 20 years as a finance executive in life sciences and technology companies seem to have progressed in a traditional, orderly manner. A closer inspection of Jackson’s experience reveals that taking early-career risks can pay off handsomely. Jackson joined the manufacturer of laser-based solutions…
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460: Advancing Down Your Growth Path | Chris Menard, CFO, BlueSnap

Leading with Analytics, but Accounting Comes First Of the three traditional paths to the finance chief’s seat, BlueSnap CFO Chris Menard took the approach less traveled, and it’s made quite a difference. While most fledgling finance executives begin their journey in public accounting or investment banking, Menard parlayed an undergraduate experience rich with entrepreneurial grooming…
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459: Savoring Your Risk Mitigation Opportunities | Rejji Hayes, CFO, CMS Energy

In a sector known for advancing leading-edge risk mitigation strategies, CFO Rejji Hayes offers a risk-minded response to those who ask why he steered his career into the power and energy sector. “I had this epiphany where I said, ‘It would be nice to find a sector that was a little less cyclical and a…
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