Trending 40: Top Tech CFOs Finale!
CFO, Goodwill of Greater Washington
Rosa Proctor realized her talent for numbers when she was working for an Italian food importer in NY. She had to communicate regularly with the exporter and it was during those experiences that she learned bookkeeping and accounting. (She still knows Italian too.) She also worked overseas for five years in Bangkok for Verizon as the director of finance and was SVP of finance for Special Olympics International. She joined Goodwill as CFO six years ago. One of the big projects she’s overseeing is launching the first adult diploma-granting charter high school in DC. The organization also recently opened its 16th store in the DC region and will open another two in the coming months.
Best lessons: Create a very strong team for current and future success. Also, make sure the organization has the appropriate infrastructure for growth and the changing environment.
Grew up: Born in Sicily and raised in Flushing, NY.
Current home: Old Town, Alexandria, VA.
Family: Two adult children.
Most recent trip: Went to Ireland this summer with family.
Free time: Traveling, hiking and cooking for family and friends.
Bucket list: Visit the Grand Canyon and Alaska and spend six months taking cooking classes in Italy.
Most people don’t know: She has undergrad degree in Italian literature and attended the University of Bologna her junior year of college.
CFO, United Way of the National Capital Area
Kevin Smith’s first exposure to nonprofits was 20 years ago when he was hired as CFO of the Fannie Mae Foundation. One of the things that got him hooked was being able to serve as the steward of hard-earned money contributed to the organization for the benefit of the community. He continued that yearning to move beyond the single bottom line and joined United Way as CFO just over a year ago.
He came into the organization promoting the culture of stewardship, accountability and transparency. “Although everyone can’t be an employee of the fundraising department, everyone can feel a sense of stewardship.” He introduced an internal campaign focused on the notion that “a dollar saved is a dollar raised.” Since then, he’s seen employees go out of their way to reduce expenses and improve the processes of the organization. Kevin says he’s also proud of having a 20-year consecutive track record of clean audits at the organizations where he served as CFO.
Best lessons: It’s important for a CFO to have strong finance and accounting acumen, but they also need to be great leaders of people. Seek to understand before seeking to be understood.
Grew up: Born in Providence Hospital in DC and grew up in different parts of Maryland, including Seat Pleasant, Laurel and Columbia.
Current home: Ellicott City, MD.
Family: Married to Christine; four adult daughters and a dog named Bailey.
Free time: Family time, bike riding, watching sports and volunteer work with National Council of La Raza.
Recent trips: Saw Jersey Boys on Broadway with daughters for Father’s Day. Trip to Spain planned for May or June to visit daughter, who will be studying abroad.
Most people don’t know: He enjoys riding his motorcycle on the back roads of the DC area.
CFO, American Coatings Association
Nathan Perrine was headed toward a music career when he realized the cello wasn’t going to help him support a family. That’s when he chose accounting. He was hired at the American Coatings Association four years ago after serving as its outsourced CFO through his previous employer, Tate & Tryon. One thing he’s known for is pioneering a financial reporting dashboard that lets boards and executives visualize their financial data. He also helped rejuvenate ACA’s strategic planning process and led an initiative to migrate much of the association’s systems to the cloud. He’s now leading the conversion of ACA’s data warehouse to Salesforce.com and evaluating accounting applications to identify the best fit for integration and scalability.
Best lesson: Create the framework for success.
Hometown: Tucson, AZ.
Current home: Stafford, VA.
Family: Married 20 years; five children (18, 16, 13, 9 and 5).
Trips: Planning a trek across the country for next summer.
Free time: Spending time with family, serving in church ministry, and playing and watching sports.
Most people don’t know: He plays cello in the Washington DC Temple Orchestra.
CFO/COO, Auto Care Association
When Susan Medick started at the Auto Care Association 21 years ago, it was a $5M organization with 15 people. After a merger with a similar organization and organic growth, the organization quickly grew to over $10M in revenue and 30 people on staff. Today the Auto Care Association is $15M and quickly approaching 50 staff members. Since then, the organization has made other small acquisitions. The organization recently elected a new treasurer, so she’s working on making changes to the finance operation, such as doing more long-term budgeting that’s more closely tied to the organization’s long-range strategic plan. She also is working with staff on a new way for the organization to look at new projects, which rates them in various categories. It’s resulted in bringing on only projects that truly make sense.
Best lesson: To get a point across and to persuade people, speak their language.
Grew up: Watchung, NJ.
Current home: Silver Spring, Md.
Family: Two Siamese cats; two nieces and five grand-nephews.
Most recent trip: Grand Canyon in May.
Free time: Run half and full marathons with friends. Did the Hollywood Half last April in LA.
Most people don’t know: She did some trapeze workshops.
CFO, The Association for Manufacturing Technology
Becky Stahl started at AMT just two months ago; she was brought in because of her experience in the commercial sector. The organization makes decisions and operates like a for-profit with the mission of serving the manufacturing industry. “It’s out-of-the-box thinking and lots of innovation, so that needs sophisticated financial support,” she says. Becky’s finance career was partly inspired by her mother, who was an accountant and CFO. Business was a regular topic of conversation around the dinner table. She started with Arthur Andersen in public accounting, where she gained a strong work ethic and communications skills, and then went to The Walt Disney Co, where she learned how to tell the story behind finances. At Infonet, she gained experience selling the company to British Telecom. She did a similar transaction at Lightbridge Communications a few years later.
Best lesson: Learn how to communicate financial information to non-financial people.
Grew up: Dad was a Marine, so grew up all over the US.
Current home: Reston, VA.
Family: Son (9) and daughter (6).
Recent trip: A bike trip in Northern Italy.
Free time: Serve as daughter’s Girl Scout leader, reading, hiking and biking.
Bucket list: Run a half marathon.
Most people don’t know: She went to high school in Okinawa, Japan.
Financial operations director, American Society of Nephrology
When Hector Ruiz started as manager of financial operations at the American Society of Nephrology 13 years ago, the organization was very different. It had about 13 people and $9.2M in revenue. Today it’s a 33-person workforce with $20.7M in revenue. He’s also now moved up to director of financial operations. He started his career in human resources and services for a large DC law firm, then moved to doing bookkeeping for a small business, and then worked for a large DC medical institution doing finances. One of the highlights of his career so far has been transitioning the American Society of Nephrology’s management from outsourced to self-managed. He was also part of the management team that searched for a new HQ for ASN and purchased two floors of a DC condo building on H Street NW.
Best lesson: Be adaptive to change and ideas and be open to constructive criticism.
Grew up: Born in Puerto Rico, but father was in the Navy, so lived all over the world, including Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Rota, Spain.
Current home: Chantilly, VA.
Family: Married 13 years; two sons (8 and 4) and German short-haired pointer.
Most recent trip: California with family earlier this month—visited LEGOLAND, Disneyland and San Diego.
Free time: Obsessed with cars—all makes and models.
Bucket list: Safari.
Most people don’t know: Despite always being on the go, he’s not a morning person.
Senior accountant and controller, National Association of Corporate Directors
Like many accountants, Alex Obuchowski was always a numbers guy and in college, decided to go the accounting route. He’s worked in nonprofit accounting since 2008, first at the Renewable Fuels Association and at the National Association of Corporate Directors since April. One of the highlights of his career was going through an IRS audit in a previous job and having it come back clean. He’s also enjoyed being able to work for two organizations with an important mission behind them. He’s spent the last month working on the organization’s 2016 budget and coordinating with 11 departments.
Best lesson: Take constructive criticism and let it make you a better person.
Grew up: Father was in the Air Force, but primarily lived in Fairfax, VA.
Current home: Alexandria, VA.
Family: Married to Catherine four years.
Most recent trip: Went to the Dominican Republic in the spring.
Free time: Visit wineries, cooking, hockey and home improvement projects.
Bucket list: Visit Ireland and Italy.
Most people don’t know: He was a Division I college swimmer at William & Mary.