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SPECIAL EPISODE: Workplace Champions featuring CFOs Michelle McComb, Brian Whalen & Markus Harder

CFO THOUGHT LEADER

Release Date: 10/23/2020

655: Awaiting the Return to Travel | Tom Tuchscherer, CFO, TripActions show art 655: Awaiting the Return to Travel | Tom Tuchscherer, CFO, TripActions

CFO THOUGHT LEADER

Twenty-five to 30 years ago, senior executives seeking CFO roles did not think like Tom Tuchscherer. Many still don’t, which is why CFO roles have increasingly come to executives like Tuchscherer, a gate crasher from the world of corporate development. Such was the case back in 2012, when Tuchscherer entered the CFO office for the first time at Talend, a fast-growing developer of data integration software. At the time, Tuchscherer was accustomed to having long strategy discussions with both Talend investors and board members and was even tasked with helping management to recruit “a...

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654: The Path to Being IPO-Ready | Drew Vollero, CFO, Allied Universal show art 654: The Path to Being IPO-Ready | Drew Vollero, CFO, Allied Universal

CFO THOUGHT LEADER

When Drew Vollero arrived in the CFO office of Snap (formerly Snapchat) in 2015, the executives occupying the tech world’s traditional IPO talent bench no doubt raised a few eyebrows. Having spent the previous 25 years inside the corporate corridors of Mattel, Inc., and PepsiCo, Vollero had a resume chock-full of strategic planning initiatives that any finance leader would covet. Still, he could not be counted among the familiar CFO all-stars known for their routine rotation into IPO-minded tech companies. Of course, whatever buzz Vollero’s hiring may have stirred, Snap left no...

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In Search of a Culture Metric  | Workplace Champions show art In Search of a Culture Metric | Workplace Champions

CFO THOUGHT LEADER

  "Talent has become really important, and you have to remain constantly focused on it—today, I spend around 20% of my time on it." - Ross Tennenbaum, CFO, Avalara CFOTL: What are your priorities for the coming year? Tennenbaum: One is building out our finance and accounting talent to take us to a billion dollars’ worth of revenue and beyond. We’re at close to half a billion of revenue, and we’re looking to go well beyond that. You really need the talent that has experienced a larger scale, knows how to achieve it, and can take you there. So, talent has become really important,...

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653: From Real Estate to the Immune System | Chad Cohen, CFO, Adaptive Biotechnologies show art 653: From Real Estate to the Immune System | Chad Cohen, CFO, Adaptive Biotechnologies

CFO THOUGHT LEADER

Of all of the business discussions that Chad Cohen has had over the years, few are likely as memorable as the 20-second conversation he had with Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff about midway into his 9-year career stint with the online real estate company. Cohen joined Zillow back in 2006 as corporate controller, a position that he says also had the added distinction of being the company’s first full-time finance role. Over the next 4 years, as Zillow’s back-office finance and accounting team took shape, Cohen’s responsibilities grew, allowing him to step into the role of vice president of...

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652: Exposing Gross Margin’s Hidden Levers | Jeff Nichols, CFO, UJET show art 652: Exposing Gross Margin’s Hidden Levers | Jeff Nichols, CFO, UJET

CFO THOUGHT LEADER

In 2016, when Jeff Nichols had been a senior member of Glassdoor’s FP&A team for 2 years, he and other members of the finance team were confronting the nagging truth that the firm’s path to going public wasn’t getting any shorter. The online job recruitment firm’s efforts to grow its profit margins had met only mild success, while its cash burn rate was inching upward. According to Nichols, Glassdoor’s path to going public was further complicated due to the unique characteristics of its business model. Points of comparison between Glassdoor and top recruitment rivals such as...

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651: Remedying Your Metrics Disconnect | Ross Tennenbaum, CFO, Avalara show art 651: Remedying Your Metrics Disconnect | Ross Tennenbaum, CFO, Avalara

CFO THOUGHT LEADER

Ross Tennenbaum remembers that back in 2018, when he was a managing director at Goldman Sachs, he had conversations with a number of senior executives from Slack Technologies, Inc. At the time, the fast-growing workplace messaging and communication platform was preparing to go public, and the company was making a special effort to educate bankers and analysts alike about the firm’s business. As his questions became more pointed, Tennenbaum says, he noticed that members of Slack’s senior management team would frequently permit other executives stationed along the conversation’s...

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650:  When Opportunity Comes Your Way  | Kieran McGrath, CFO, Avaya show art 650: When Opportunity Comes Your Way | Kieran McGrath, CFO, Avaya

CFO THOUGHT LEADER

In 2008, as the economic downturn threatened to upend IBM Corp.’s financial well-being, the company’s leadership was considering different candidates to lead a corporatewide restructuring when Kieran McGrath’s name surfaced. McGrath was known as a troubleshooter inside the ranks of IBMers, a seasoned finance executive whose 27 years with the company had produced a zigzag career trajectory tracing a jagged path that signaled to IBM insiders both a breadth of experience and company loyalty. “Early in my career, I got a reputation as a workhorse and a bit of a problem fixer, and while...

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649: Entering the Auction Room | Martin Nolan, CFO, Julien's Auctions show art 649: Entering the Auction Room | Martin Nolan, CFO, Julien's Auctions

CFO THOUGHT LEADER

Had Martin Nolan studied engineering instead of accounting, his career path would likely never have entered the worlds of Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon, and Michael Jackson. Still, Irish-born Nolan is quick to point out that it was a Green Card lottery, not his accounting degree, that facilitated his relocation to New York City, where he would meet and ultimately team up with Darren Julien of Julien’s Auctions, the world’s leading entertainment auction house. Before the two men met, Nolan had traveled a remarkable distance from his early days in New York, where in the early 1990s—Green...

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648: A Life Sciences Angler Casts a Sturdy Line | Bill  Adams, CFO, NervGen Pharma show art 648: A Life Sciences Angler Casts a Sturdy Line | Bill Adams, CFO, NervGen Pharma

CFO THOUGHT LEADER

It’s a familiar sequence: A strong-minded investor musters the will to lead and steps into the CEO office determined to revitalize a struggling technology company and put it back on the growth track. For Bill Adams, this swift turn of events occurred only a year into his first industry stint as a corporate controller—a career chapter, he recalls fondly, that included a devoted CFO mentor. However, the company’s CFO and CEO had exited the firm just prior the investor’s arrival, and Adams found himself stepping into a finance leadership role. Although stressful, the circumstances swung...

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647:  Accruing Your Global Acumen  | Adrian Talbot, CFO, Hotwire show art 647: Accruing Your Global Acumen | Adrian Talbot, CFO, Hotwire

CFO THOUGHT LEADER

When Adrian Talbot tells us that he parachuted into Thames Television in the early 1990s, the image of the London skyline—once used to brand the popular British broadcasting company —quickly comes to mind. Suddenly, in our mind’s eye, just to the right of St. Paul’s dome, we spy a 20-something-year-old Talbot floating confidently downward. Along with a boatload of first-class metaphors, this is the type of instant imaging that every conversation renders—at least for those of us on the lookout for them. But Talbot’s successful first jump—not unlike those of many future finance...

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More Episodes

More keenly aware of the competitive price of employee burnout and workforce attrition — many midsize companies are today busy rethinking how they attract, hire and inspire employees.
The Workplace Champions Podcast explores the innovative workforce practices of talent-minded business leaders tasked with opening a new chapter of growth for their midsize organizations.