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Secrets of Rockstar CFOs
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Secrets of Rockstar CFOs

Author: Jack McCullough

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The role of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) has evolved from back-office support to strategic leader. It takes more than financial skills to master the responsibilities of this position successfully. Above all else, financial leaders need to know how to effectively plan for and execute in the face of the challenges and uncertainty inherent in their chosen industry. This begs the question, "What does it take to really excel in the role of chief financial officer?"


Whether you are a seasoned CFO or just starting out in the field, you will find something useful in this podcast. Welcome to Secrets of Rockstar CFOs, a practical and actionable resource for Chief Financial Officers seeking to advance their careers. This is your friendly and helpful guide to master the challenges and opportunities of financial leadership.


This podcast features the most successful CFOs in the world, from Silicon Valley startups to Fortune 50 multinationals. The host of this podcast, Jack McCullough, is the author of “Secrets of Rockstar CFOs,”

widely considered to be the definitive guide to the art of financial leadership.


Here you can find the resources you need to advance your CFO career or launch it for the first time. Inspiring interviews with prominent CFOs and other thought leaders are featured in each episode. Get educated by the best in the business, companies like 3M, AstraZeneca and Zoetis.


Listen in as these remarkable leaders discuss their career paths, the obstacles they have overcome, and the secrets they leveraged to achieve success. Get inspired to take your own strategic path to the next level by learning from the successes of these A-list CFOs. Master this field thoroughly to change the course of your career in a significant way. Explore new avenues you would never have considered before.


Not only does Jack have fantastic guests who offer invaluable advice, but he also brings his own unique brand of insight, energy, and humor to the show. He established a worldwide network for mentoring and developing chief financial officers as president and founder of the CFO Leadership Council. To prepare the next generation of CFOs, Jack and his team utilize cutting-edge professional development programs and unrivaled peer networking.


Combining his vast knowledge and experience with his lighthearted approach to interviews, Jack is the perfect person to serve as the show’s host. Before he founded the CFO Leadership Council, he served as chief financial officer for more than 25 different organizations. You can trust that he will steer the podcast in the same direction that he led CFO Leadership Council to become a leading organization in strategic and financial leadership.


Learning from elite financial leaders is the surest path to a successful career. This top-notch podcast was produced with that aim in mind. Whether you are already a CFO looking to improve your performance or aspire to be one and need some direction to get started, you have come to the right place.


Become the strategic leader you have always imagined by joining Jack and his guests in these lively and entertaining conversations full of empowering advice, encouraging lessons, and easy-to-emulate tactics. Use your exceptional abilities, intellectual curiosity, and unwavering focus to take over your field. Now is the time to take your professional life to a new and more satisfying level.


Listen to the Secret of Rockstar CFOs at www.strategiccfo360.com/podcast

22 Episodes
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Most nonprofits are not as focused on the bottom line, nor should they be. However, for an organization to have as much impact as it wants to have, it needs to be sustainable financially to meet its ongoing needs. As today’s guest says, there is no mission without margin, and that’s something a lot of otherwise great nonprofits too often ignore. Kelly Mahncke, the CFO of USA Hockey, drives that message home in this incredibly insightful episode of Secrets of Rockstar CFOs. Join in and learn what it feels like to take the financial helm of a company that makes such an outsized impact in the youth sports space.
One of the most ubiquitous problems in business is the quirky relationship between growth and profitability. Too often, the stream of profit slows down as a company starts to grow and its expenses increase. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Rockstar CFOs like Kathy Wagner of Kaseya have figured out ways to make growth sustainable and profit-friendly while making sure the company culture is protected at every step of the way. In this episode of Secrets of Rockstar CFOs, Kathy lets us in on some of their financial leadership secrets at Kaseya that play a major part in making the company a global leader in its field. Tune in!
Ever wondered what makes a Rockstar CFO tick? This episode dives into the fascinating world of Eric Kutcher, a CFO who defies expectations. From his surprising switch from engineering to finance to his role as a senior partner and CFO at McKinsey advising leading institutions, Eric’s journey is packed with valuable insights. Get ready to hear about the power of mentorship, the unexpected benefits of an engineering background in finance, and how technology is revolutionizing the role of the CFO. But it’s not all spreadsheets and boardrooms! Eric also shares his secrets for building a world-class team, navigating the CEO relationship, and balancing a fulfilling personal life—all with a healthy dose of baseball rivalry thrown in for good measure. Don’t miss this inspiring episode packed with actionable advice for aspiring CFOs and anyone looking to take their leadership skills to the next level!To book a demo with Payhawk, click here.
"The only way to do great work is to love what you do." - Steve Jobs In this episode, we have Ajay Vashee, a former CFO of Dropbox turned investor at IVP to discuss the relationship between building companies and making strategic investment decisions. Hear his journey in Dropbox, what built the company that stores the world’s data, and how it remains steadfast to this day. But more than that, hear Ajay’s story of leaving the company and becoming an investor at IVP. Learn how to build strong teams, strategize investments, and more in this conversation. Tune in now! To book a demo with Payhawk, click here.
A great CFO aligns strategies with the organization’s mission and values, ensuring dynamic growth and impact. In today’s episode, we embark on a journey of insights and discovery as we sit down with Eric Muhlheim, the CFO of Mozilla. Delve into the unique background and mission of Mozilla, a subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation, committed to fostering an open and free internet. We explore Mozilla’s pivotal role in the tech industry, Eric’s remarkable career journey, the intersection of his experiences at Disney and Mozilla, and the core values guiding Mozilla’s commitment to privacy and open-source principles. Join us for a rich conversation that spans from artificial intelligence to home brewing, providing a holistic view of Eric’s background and Mozilla’s distinctive mission and business model.To book a demo with Payhawk, click here.
Jack McCullough sits down with financial guru Sean Brecker, who shares how he achieved success by putting his entrepreneurial spirit into action. He opens up about falling in love with global finance, his experiences working in investment banking, and the inception of his current company, ŌURA. Sean talks about what is like to work in the healthcare and wellness space, as well as why this is close to his heart. He also discusses his numerous volunteer work and how he was raised by his parents laser-focused on giving back in any way he can.To book a demo with Payhawk, click here.
Mandy Fields, the CFO Of E.L.F. Beauty, shares her secret of how she leads the American cosmetics brand to its growth. This brand, known for its high-quality, cruelty-free, and vegan products that are accessible, offers a comprehensive line of beauty products for different skin tones and types. Mandy also reveals how she helped the business evolve and adapt to the fast pace of its evolution. She also shares a tip for becoming successful in your career. Mandy had so much to offer in this episode. So, hit that play button and join her as she unveils more of her secrets! To book a demo with Payhawk, click here.
After separating its consumer division last year, Johnson & Johnson is now focused on Innovative Medicine and MedTech. Joining us today is the EVP and CFO of J&J, Joe Wolk. For Joe, Johnson & Johnson is very much a family business. Joe shares his career journey, his approach to building a world-class global financial organization, and how generative AI is impacting his role as CFO. He also shares an insider’s perspective on last year’s historic separation of Kenvue. Tune in!  To book a demo with Payhawk, click here.
Jack McCullough is joined by Deanna Strable, CFO of Principal Financial Group. In this episode, she shares the biggest changes she played a role in since she joined this financial services company, as well as her relationship with their CEO. She explains how they are navigating growing client needs in the middle of high-interest rates and lingering inflation. Deanna also opens up about her role in PFG’s audit committee, doing some volunteer work, her advocacy for women’s leadership, and starting a workout cohort.To book a demo with Payhawk, click here. (https://payhawk.com/en-us/demo?utm_medium=organic&utm_source=sponsorship&utm_campaign=en-uk_podcast_rockstar-cfo)
A massive part of CFO success is being in a company whose values and mission you deeply resonate with. That is the case with today's guest, who took her expertise to help a biotech company do its share in tackling a global pandemic. In this episode, Kelly MacDonald, CFO of Dynavax Technologies Corporation, discusses the pivotal moments in her career. She talks about the value of both a CPA and an MBA, and the importance of mentors in shaping her professional growth. Kelly shares how she redefines the role of the CFO, emphasizing the strategic importance of the finance organization. She talks about her unique partnership with Dynavax's CEO and how their collaboration contributes to the company's success. Gain valuable insights into the dynamic world of biotech finance, including the challenges and opportunities faced by CFOs in the evolving landscape. Whether you're aspiring to a CFO role, interested in the biotech industry, or seeking inspiration for professional growth, Kelly's journey offers valuable lessons and perspectives. Tune in to discover the intersection of finance, strategy, and leadership in the ever-changing world of biotechnology.To book a demo with Payhawk, click here. (https://payhawk.com/en-us/demo?utm_medium=organic&utm_source=sponsorship&utm_campaign=en-uk_podcast_rockstar-cfo)
The only path to go is forward when a life-altering crisis comes. Today’s guest faced one of life’s tremendous challenges, and here’s her secret on how she managed to stay on track. Ranu Sharma, a Finance Director, has a story to tell about mentorship, public speaking, the challenges she faced with her son, and how the tragic event changed her leadership. Although Ranu faced a life-altering personal crisis, she went through, but she managed to stand against that storm and tread into life’s raging waves. She shares advice on how professionals could also trudge into your journey no matter the challenge blocking your path. So, step into this inspiring episode with Ranu Sharma and be a rockstar professional like her!  To book a demo with Payhawk, click here. 
The advent of technology paves the path for businesses to deliver cutting-edge services or products. Joining Jack McCullough today is Glenn Hopper to reveal his secret about how CFOs remain the leading edge in the business. He is a CFO at Eventus Advisory Group and the author of Deep-Finance: Corporate Finance In The Information Age. In this episode, as a guru on Gen AI, Glenn shares his insights on the importance of understanding generative AI and how it helps produce better results. He also addresses data privacy and data security. Not only does he provide a wealth of insights in this episode, but Glenn also offers new possibilities in positioning yourself as the vanguard towards success. So, tune in to this episode with Jack and Glenn today! To book a demo with Payhawk, click here. 
Running in an ultramarathon is a great teaching experience for every leader. It opens your eyes that success is not just about the run itself, but how your push boundaries and going beyond your abilities. Jack McCullough sits down with Sandra Beaver, CFO of Evolus, to share the parallels between ultramarathons and her professional journey. She discusses the complexities of financial leaders, particularly the strategic collaboration between a CEO and CFO. Sandra also opens up about the ups and downs of leading a multimillion-dollar company, the symbiotic relationship between self-care and career success, and the importance of attentive listening. To book a demo with Payhawk, click here. 
 Embark on an inspiring journey with our Rockstar CFO guest as he redefines the finance narrative, delving into the unexpected joys within the CFO role. Ashim Gupta currently serves as the CFO of UiPath, a position that he took after more than 10 years working in financial roles in GE. Beyond the usual financial discussions, this conversation explores the Ashim's perspective on offensive AI strategies, achieving a one-day close, and the delicate balance between professional success and personal fulfillment. Uncover the Ashim's refreshing take on job displacement fears amidst AI advancements and their uplifting insights on human resilience in adapting to technological shifts. This conversation goes beyond the boardroom, revealing Ashim's cherished role as a parent, and a surprising daily ritual involving classical Indian drums, emphasizing the importance of finding joy in every aspect of the finance journey.
In business, there’s only one thing that’s more important than success –sustainable success. If you have a sustainable business model, you get to weather any storm that gets thrown in your way and even thrive in spite of it. That has been the path that iconic food brand Chipotle took and its rockstar CFO, Jack Hartung, played a key part in making that happen. Jack is one of the longest tenured CFOs in the US, having served around four decades in the role, ten times the average tenure of most CFOs. In this episode, he tells us what it’s like to handle the financial aspect of one of the world’s most iconic food service brands and how creating a solid balance sheet is crucial to creating sustainable success for your business. Tune in and learn from one of the best in the business!
Leading in a world of chaos and change means embracing innovation, staying agile, and making history, not just reporting it. In this inspiring episode, Carolina Dybeck Happe, the CFO of General Electric takes us in the iconic company’s journey of transformation. Carolina shares the challenges she faced during the onset of COVID-19. Her story shows how her leadership played a pivotal role in driving GE's financial performance, balance sheet improvements, and ultimately, the strategic direction of the company. She emphasizes the power of being agile and open to change in today's chaotic global economy. Plus, Carolina shares the secret behind her iconic LinkedIn photo and her exhilarating experience flying a Swedish fighter jet. Tune in now for an episode that's not just about reporting history but making history, one that showcases the true essence of leadership, and above all, inspires you to embrace change and innovation in your own life and career. To book a demo with Payhawk, click here.
Tony Robbins once famously said that if we don’t grow, we die. And the secret to growth is outside that circle we call our comfort zone. That seems to be the theme for our guest’s personal and professional journey, which took her from Transylvania to holding a CFO role in one of the most recognizable brands in the world. Jack McCullough talks with Yoana Land, CFO Transformation at L’Oreal North America. The conversation explores the evolving role of finance professionals in a digital age, emphasizing that AI should be seen as a partner rather than a replacement. Yoana’s personal background, including her roots in Transylvania and her language skills, adds a unique and engaging dimension to the conversation, making it fascinating and insightful to follow. Tune in!To book a demo with Payhawk, click here.
Being a successful CFO means declaring your ambitions boldly, embracing failure fearlessly, and balancing life's fine tune of work and family. In this episode, we sit with Mala Murthy, CFO of Teladoc Health, to discuss the evolving role of a CFO in the erratic business world. She shares her journey from her humble beginnings to reaching the pinnacle of the corporate world, dissecting what it means to be a CFO. Mala also shares a glimpse into her personal life as a working parent, finding the delicate balance between career and family. She admits the difficulty of finding the balance, but that with having the right priorities in place, both personal and professional lives can flourish in harmony. Tune in now and discover what it takes to become a dynamic and versatile leader.To book a demo with Payhawk, click here.
Being the CFO of a pre-IPO unicorn is one heck of a job title to have, especially in your first 90 days. But as the new CFO at the rapidly growing startup, Axonius, Chris Kramer is more than up to the challenge. With a successful track record as a unicorn-status company, Axonius is poised for a significant financial event, but what does this mean for the CFO and the company's culture? Chris sheds light on the financial and cultural shifts that come with the transition to a public company. Join in as we explore the intricacies of CFO life in a pre-IPO company, the importance of financial transparency, the impact of an IPO on company culture, and a whole lot more!To book a demo with Payhawk, click here.
Being a CFO is more than just being responsible for the financial side of the business. This is what today’s guest proves to us. Wetteny Joseph is the executive vice president and Chief Financial Officer of Zoetis, the world’s leading animal health company. In this episode, he joins Jack McCullough to talk about the different hats he wears in the company and the journey it took him to come into his role. Not without challenges, Wetteny shares the story of becoming one of the few black CFOs in the Fortune 500 and what he thinks we can do as business leaders to ensure that the next generation of black financial leaders achieves its potential. He then dives deep into the relationship between finance and sales and marketing, highlighting the importance of being connected to customers and bringing it back to the work we do. From human connection to the bonds between humans and pets, Wetteny offers great insights that can open our eyes to what really matters (no matter what role you are in!). Tune in to find out and more!To book a demo with Payhawk, click here.
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