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583: An Appetite for Change | Tod Nestor, CFO, Energy Focus

CFO Thought Leader

Release Date: 03/25/2020

603: All Eyes on  Recovery Indicators| John Bonney, CFO, Harness show art 603: All Eyes on Recovery Indicators| John Bonney, CFO, Harness

CFO Thought Leader

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602: A Creative Agency Weathers the COVID Storm  |Peter Mair, CFO, CMD Agency show art 602: A Creative Agency Weathers the COVID Storm |Peter Mair, CFO, CMD Agency

CFO Thought Leader

Mair: It was  probably in the first week of March, we had to close our Seattle office and have people work remotely. And it was about the second week in March that we did the same for our Portland office. We have the good fortune of having had a lot of experience working remotely as an agency. A lot of people have flexible schedules, a lot of the work we do is digital. But (COVID) is impacting us. It's still unclear as to what the second quarter's revenue is going to look like, but we're projecting it it'll be down probably by 25% at least. We know from a couple of large events that our...

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601: Championing Cash Flows to Disarm COVID |  Hilla Sferruzza, CFO, Meritage Homes show art 601: Championing Cash Flows to Disarm COVID | Hilla Sferruzza, CFO, Meritage Homes

CFO Thought Leader

Related Article From Forbes.com Years from now, when Hilla Sferruzza recalls her initial actions to buffer the impact of COVID-19 on home builder Meritage Homes Corp. (NYSE: MTH) of Scottsdale, Arizona, she will likely not forget the seemingly endless calls that she placed to land sellers across the country. “It’s not like I’m calling a manufacturer and telling them to bring less raw material to my factory. I’m calling land sellers in every one of our markets to start the renegotiation process,” says Sferruzza, who, as finance chief for the seventh-largest public home builder in...

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600: Charting Your Course to Survive and Thrive | Amir Jafari, CFO, Reputation.com show art 600: Charting Your Course to Survive and Thrive | Amir Jafari, CFO, Reputation.com

CFO Thought Leader

When Amir Jafari looks back and reflects on his path to the CFO office, he includes two character traits that have arguably long distinguished finance leaders from other functional leaders.  “We in finance have high levels of accountability and integrity, and these are the things that we’re able to then transpose in terms of what we do and how we are able to lead as CFOs,” explains Jafari, who says that it was his ability to “transpose” these traits during a recent career chapter at ServiceNow that allowed him to ultimately gain the leadership experience required to step into a...

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599: Sharpening Your Customer Acumen | David Woodworth, CFO, insightsoftware show art 599: Sharpening Your Customer Acumen | David Woodworth, CFO, insightsoftware

CFO Thought Leader

At the age of 31, David Woodworth was offered CFO positions at two different firms. The first offer came from his then current employer, where as vice president of finance he was keenly aware of urgent challenges that the company’s next CFO would need to address. The second offer came unsolicited from a smaller company in the same field, where he could expect to ease into the role and set the pace for his first 100 days. “It was a hard decision, and one where you wish there was a silver bullet,” says Woodworth, who opted to stay where he was, which was at a highly leveraged firm that had...

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598:  A Bank for Your Financial Health | Thibault Fulconis, CFO, Varo Money show art 598: A Bank for Your Financial Health | Thibault Fulconis, CFO, Varo Money

CFO Thought Leader

Earlier this year, when the FDIC approved fintech start-up Varo Money’s application to become a national bank, Thibault Fulconis’s latest CFO career chapter suddenly appeared to make perfect sense.    Still, it was only two years ago that Fulconis’s entry into the land of fintech start-ups no doubt raised a few eyebrows among his former colleagues at BancWest Corp., where he most recently served as vice chairman and COO. “I was coming from a position where I had about 3,000 direct reports when I was COO to an entity where I had three people reporting to me,” says Fulconis,...

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597: Why RPA is Attracting More Than Capital | Tomer Pinchas, CFO, Kryon show art 597: Why RPA is Attracting More Than Capital | Tomer Pinchas, CFO, Kryon

CFO Thought Leader

Last February, following his arrival on a flight to Israel, Tomer Pinchas recalls receiving a startling text from the Israeli government. Having recently visited Italy, the text explained, passenger Pinchas must now agree to enter self-quarantine for a period two weeks. As CFO of Kryon—a Tel Aviv start-up specializing in Robotic Process Automation (RPA)—Pinchas, like most business travelers, was well aware of the recent spread of COVID-19. Still, the order to self-quarantine seemed aggressive to Pinchas, who at the time could not have imagined that in a few short weeks he would be...

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596:  Optimizing Your Core Offerings Beneath 2020's COVID Haze  | John Theler, CFO, Avetta show art 596: Optimizing Your Core Offerings Beneath 2020's COVID Haze | John Theler, CFO, Avetta

CFO Thought Leader

When John Theler stepped into the CFO office at SaaS developer Avetta last summer, among his list of priorities was the daunting task of better articulating supply chain hazards to management teams and industry at large.   Nine months later, Theler has no doubt added a number of items to his list of finance leader priorities, but his articulation task has become far less daunting. Not surprisingly, it seems that his thoughtful comments on the perils of poorly managed supply chains have paled in comparison to the high-wattage exposure that COVID-19 has suddenly brought to supply...

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595: The Flight to Digital | Virpy Richter, CFO, Awin Global show art 595: The Flight to Digital | Virpy Richter, CFO, Awin Global

CFO Thought Leader

It was supposed to be the type of introduction that would help to break the ice between a new business leader and her direct reports. However, the words spoken by the managing director (MD) became frozen in time. Or at least this was the case for Virpy Richter, who at the age of 27 had only recently relocated from Germany after having accepted a promotion to oversee the finances of her company’s Dutch operating unit. “This is the German girl from our central unit. Be nice to her. She is just visiting us,” Richter recalls the MD saying, as her 25 direct reports curiously stared back at...

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594: The Art & Science of Raising Funds  | Chris Mausler, CFO, PeerNova show art 594: The Art & Science of Raising Funds | Chris Mausler, CFO, PeerNova

CFO Thought Leader

When it comes to raising money from the investor community, finance executives often find themselves standing in line for job assignments that promise to make them active participants in the process. Such roles allow aspiring finance leaders to check off one of the more essential items on the demanding list of prerequisites required of high-growth­–firm CFOs. For those executives who have climbed the accounting career ladder or toiled for years in an FP&A cubicle, the “money box” is often one of the last ones to get checked off. Such was the case for finance leader Chris Mausler,...

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Nestor: Energy Focus is an LED lighting and controls company. LED lighting is like comparing a smartphone to a rotary phone. LED lights are actually extremely high-tech—it's almost like having a laptop inside the light. If you were to take one apart, you would be amazed at how many computer components and wafers and chips are in there. These lights are not a commodity. They are very differentiated. Unfortunately, the industry historically has sold them very much like a commodity, through the same channels as fluorescent and incandescent lights. Energy Focus does not. One thing that sets us apart is that we use a direct sales model, which does give us, we think, a competitive advantage.

We will soon be launching a new product that has dimmable and tunable LED lighting. It allows you to leverage your existing wiring without having to use Bluetooth or wifi or do a big rewiring in a facility. This is coming out in the market soon, and we think that it will be revolutionary. The people who have seen the demos have been very excited about it. This type of approach is what sets us apart.

 I think that we're a very unique company that is positioned very well in an industry that's going to be growing extraordinarily rapidly over the next 10 years. The key to success is growth, profitable growth, and we will do that. I really want to return Energy Focus to cash flow break-even—this is a very important goal for the next 12 months. We will be getting this new product launched successfully, and of course I'm always focused on generating shareholder returns. One of my key objectives that is the underpinning of everything that I do is generating shareholder returns.