How Two Public Company CFOs Guided Their Businesses Through 2020

Honoring some of the best finance chiefs in the game. Jack McCullough, President & Founder, CFO Leadership Council weighs in.  Jack is a Senior Contributor to Forbes CFO Network.  An excerpt of his recent interviews are below.

This week I am honoring six chief financial officers who made amazing contributions to their organizations’ successes in 2020. Like the rest of us, chief financial officers were challenged in 2020 as never before, and they more than rose to the occasion, helping to guide their organizations to unprecedented heights in some cases. Today’s focus is on the phenomenal CFOs from two of the most resilient companies in the world: Rachel Glaser of Etsy, and Kelly Steckelberg of Zoom Video Communications (Zoom

Rachel Glaser, CFO, Etsy

Etsy is an ecommerce site focused on vintage items and craft supplies. To say that the company enjoyed a phenomenal year is an understatement: Revenue increased by almost 70% over 2019, causing the stock to increase by 289%, making it the second best performing stock in the S&P 500. Rachel joined the company in 2017 and her understanding of Etsy’s business played a critical role in its successes.  Highlights of my conversation with Rachel are below.

What were the biggest challenges you faced in 2020?

As was the case for many, the biggest challenge was overcoming the hurdles that came as a result of the pandemic at the start of this year. For us, it wasn’t simply a matter of adjusting to a remote workplace. As a company, we had to address the sudden surge in demand for masks and other essential items. This would be a dramatic adjustment under regular circumstances, so doing this as a remote team meant  ensuring that employee health, engagement, and productivity levels remained high and a top priority.

Outside of these internal shifts, a big challenge I faced in my role, specifically, was figuring out the best way to effectively communicate these changes and the growth we were experiencing to the rest of the market.

Read Full Interview….

Kelly Steckelberg, CFO, Zoom

It is difficult to identify a company that had a better 2020 than Zoom. While the company has long had a great product and loyal following, it became a global phenomenon due to quarantine measures adopted to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Kelly joined Zoom in 2017 after being the CEO of Zoosk. Her previous experience as CEO undoubtedly prepared her for Zoom’s hyper-growth of 2020. Highlights from my conversation with Kelly are below.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced in 2020?

Zoom is an agile organization that is constantly innovating to adapt to change. Our user base has dramatically expanded and our response to that growth became our sole focus. At the beginning of 2020, Zoom was focused on the enterprise market and higher-education. The pandemic caused an accelerated shift, which took Zoom from an enterprise platform to a central part of daily life, with people worldwide transitioning to remote work, distance learning, and remote gatherings.

As we grew, we listened closely to our customers and enhanced the platform with numerous new security and privacy features—including end-to-end encryption for free and paid users. We also introduced Zoom for Home for remote work/working from home and hybrid work, announced OnZoom—a one-stop solution for small businesses to host free, paid, and fundraising events on Zoom— and added dozens of new Meetings and Zoom Rooms features.  As a CFO and Finance team, we were constantly evaluating trade-offs in spend around long-term opportunities and short-term needs. We always want to be sure we are investing in the right areas but not getting ahead of ourselves during such an unprecedented time.

Read Full Interview….

 

About Jack McCullough

Jack McCullough is a recognized thought leader in the field of financial leadership, with a career that has included CFO positions at 26 companies. He founded the CFO Leadership Council, a global organization dedicated to empowering senior financial executives through innovative professional development programs and peer networking. His other accomplishments include chairing the MIT Sloan CFO Summit, and creating the vision behind CFO Week, a one-of-a-kind learning and networking experience jointly executed by the CFO Leadership Council and MIT Sloan. He is a contributor to Forbes.com, where he writes for the CFO Network on challenges and opportunities facing financial leaders.  He is an entertaining and insightful public speaker, and has spoken to thousands of CFOs, and is frequently contacted by members of the media who appreciate his candor, insight and wit.

 

Engage with Jack McCullough further at https://cfoleadershipcouncil.com/jackmccullough/

Related Articles

Best Private Company CFOs of 2020

Why CFOs Should Prioritize Supply Chain Resilience

CFOs And The Digital Imperative

CFOLC Announces Its Diversity Equity & Inclusion Initiative

 


About The CFO Leadership Council

What began as a close knit experiment back in 2006 is now a global community, 2000+ members & 26 chapters strong.  The CFO Leadership Council offers both live & online programs that feature expert panels and interactive sessions that drive meaningful conversation and leadership development among our membership. Our collection of leadership development resources similar to this article contain pragmatic insights and advice sourced directly from our members and industry experts.  Recordings of CFOLC webcasts are made available to our current CFOLC Premium & Virtual members. For a full list of programs, visit www.cfolc.com.

About CFOLC Membership

The CFO Leadership Council is a community dedicated to empowering our members to grow and thrive. We  provide insights needed to overcome any challenge a CFO may face and meaningful connectivity to a dynamic community of peers in a way that is most convenient and beneficial. Who are our members?  CFOs, Senior Vice Presidents, Vice Presidents of Finance, Director of FP&A, CAO, Controllers, Directors of Finance, and other senior financial leaders make up our membership and are invited to join.  Start engaging today at www.cfolc.com/membership

 

Want to Continue the Conversation?

We’d love to hear from you. Post a comment about your experiences or provide feedback below to continue the discussion about how creative leadership in the current climate.  Or contact Kristin Todd, Vice President of Marketing, kristin@cfolc.com.