Trending 40: Top Tech CFOs
Luke Leininger, Avizia
This is our third installment of the Top Tech CFO series. ICYMI...here's Part 1 and Part 2. Also, come help celebrate these top CFOs at a networking cocktail event on Sept. 24 at 5:30 at 1776-Crystal City. Sign up here.
Avizia CFO/COO Luke Leininger has always wanted to be part of building companies that were making an impact on social welfare. Being in finance was a way to do that. He’s been CFO and COO of Avizia since helping spin out the telemedicine solutions company from Cisco in 2013. The team started with 11 people and has since nearly doubled year over year to almost 60 employees and over 400 enterprise customers. Luke recently helped lead its merger with Emerge MD in October, a transaction that strengthened Avizia’s software offering.
Best lessons: Choose the people around you carefully, especially if you’re taking risks in a high-growth entrepreneurial environment. Also, be mission driven and passionate about what you’re doing.
Hometown: Concord, CA
Current home: Ashburn
Family: Married to Emily 13 years; four kids (ages 3-11).
Fun summer trip: Hawaii and California.
Free time: Spend time outdoors with wife and kids, hiking, biking, running, playing and watching sports (S.F. Giants and BYU football) and visiting cool new places in DC.
Bucket list: Visit every country in the world.
Most people don’t know: He speaks Romanian.
Dana Mariano, Invincea
Invincea CFO Dana Mariano fell into accounting when she helped reconcile financials for a friend’s business in college and was able to present the information in an understandable way. Some of her career highlights have included serving as CFO of NetWitness when it was acquired by RSA in 2011 and finance VP of CareFusion when it was bought by CardinalHealth in 2006. Since joining Invincea as CFO in 2012, she oversaw a Series C round in early 2013 that’s helped the Fairfax cybersecurity company with steady growth.
Best lesson: Do it right the first time; it’s too hard to go back.
Hometowns: McLean and Vienna
Current home: Herndon
Family: Married one year; two stepchildren (16 and 11) and three dogs.
Fun summer trips: Nags Head in June and Football Hall of Fame for induction ceremony in August. (Husband is a huge Steelers fan.)
Free time: Yoga, running (with the dogs) and recently qualified for a boating license. Now able to to water ski and spend days on the lake.
Bucket list: Tour Australia and New Zealand.
Most people don’t know: She was a ski lift operator in college.
David Valdez, Privia
Privia CFO David Valdez’s introduction to accounting was a professor opening up the jobs section of a newspaper and showing him how many openings there were in the field. He joined Privia, a bid and proposal management technology platform, a decade ago and was promoted to CFO in 2011. He’s raised two rounds of private equity for the Herndon company and posted an operating profit last year for the first time in the company’s history. David converted the business model from traditional enterprise software to software-as-a-service. It now has a steady, predictable and recurring revenue stream. He’s working on growing Privia’s sales and marketing initiatives through Hubspot.
Best lesson: Know when to bring on an expert.
Current home: Leesburg
Family: Married, three sons, pet fish.
Fun summer trips: Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and swimming with sea turtles in Akumal.
Free time: Watch sons play baseball and fishing.
Bucket list: Visit Angkor Wat, Cambodia, and Machu Picchu, Peru.
Most people don’t know: He majored in graphic design and won a Gold Key Award. His artwork was exhibited in the Corcoran Gallery.
Mike Beach, WeddingWire
When WeddingWire CFO Mike Beach was getting ready for college in ’88, the job market was a wreck. But an article about accounting majors being more marketable led him down the finance path. Since then, he was part of the financial team at Blackboard when the edtech company went public. He’s also groomed former colleagues to take on leadership positions in finance and operations. He recently rejoined several former Blackboard colleagues as CFO at WeddingWire. He’s been busy integrating the company’s recent merger with Bodas, which added 12 new countries.
Best lesson: Hire people smarter than you, help them when they need help and give them freedom to do their jobs.
Current home: Potomac
Family: Married to Katie 20 years; two kids, three cats, a dog and one fish.
Fun summer trip: Spent most of the summer at home in Deep Creek Lake.
Free time: Boating, skiing, golf with family.
Bucket list: Take kids to Mongolia, learn to ice skate and visit several other countries with wife.
Most people don’t know: He’s ridiculously good at fantasy football and he doesn’t really follow or watch football.
David Wheatley, Resonate
Finance always came naturally to Resonate CFO David Wheatley. He learned early on it was one of those business functions that could impact most key business drivers like customer retention rate, operational efficiency and customer acquisition costs. Early in his career he learned the ins and outs of IPOs when he helped take Software AG public. He was also at Cybertrust, which sold to Verizon. It was there that he gained international and M&A experience. He was an early employee at Resonate, a data analytics company in Reston, and had a chance to put systems in place as the company was launching. (Resonate was his first CFO role.)
Best lesson: Hire the right employees, who are passionate about the business and have intellectual curiosity.
Current home: Woodbridge
Family: Married 18 years; three kids (14, 12, 8); and Yorkshire Terrier named Duke.
Fun summer trip: Puerto Rico
Free time: Coach basketball.
Bucket list: Take mom to Italy.
Most people don’t know: He served in Air Force in first Gulf War.