Ten Questions for the CFO

What’s the biggest misconception about CFOs? A misconception is CFOs are only there to control finances. CFOs are part of strategic planning of an organization and provide checks and balances. CFOs provide practical guidance within the resources of the organization to meet goals.

What’s the key to a successful budget? The key to a successful budget is input from department leaders. A budget that is designed and created from the top down lacks buy-in from the organization which leads to a lack of support in implementation.

You have background in entrepreneurship.
How has that professional experience helped you as a CFO? I owned a printing company before beginning a career in nonprofits. I purchased the company at a time of transition
 from a local to a regional operation. The transition was entrepreneurial. This experience
gave me a broader insight and ability to work
outside the box. As CFO, having a board out-
look considering options outside the norm
 leads to transformational organizations.

What’s the most difficult thing you’ve ever done (professional or otherwise)? The most difficult aspect in general is the art of listening. Listening provides the guidance on how to be successful with any situation.

If you could have dinner with anyone — living or dead — what would you order? President Obama. I would go with his recommendation for dinner.

Any challenges you expect will be unique to 2017 for the nonprofit sector generally? The nonprofit sector will continue to face the challenges with donor and volunteer engagement. Nonprofits should always question the effectiveness of their engagement with donors and volunteers and be prepared to change with the environment.

What’s the first thing you do on the week-ends, or number one thing you like todo? Living in Florida, the weekends are about being outdoors: Beach, paddle boarding, kayaking or participating in sporting events.

If there were anything you could change about the nonprofit sector, what would it be? The misconception that a nonprofit shouldn’t be run like any other business. It is possible to run a nonprofit with a focus on the mission but also with an eye on financial sustainability.

Who or what is your biggest inspiration? My father is my biggest inspiration. He taught me the value of hard work, honesty, and standing for what you believe.

In an election year, how closely do you monitor proposed economic plans, or do you wait until the dust has settled? As a CFO, you should always monitor economic plans and forecast. Waiting for the dust to settle puts organizations in a reactive position instead of proactive.