John was certainly a mentor and a role model for me. He gave me tons of feedback and training. The most important things I learned from him were to treat people with respect and develop people through cross-training.
One of his lines that I remember is "you don't need to know the answer, you just need to know where to find it."
3. What are the biggest challenges facing CFOs today?
Specific to InnerWorkings, we're a global print management company, so to me it's finding quality talent around the world that can be eyes and ears in all corners of the world in accounting and finance. As a growing global company, that's probably one of my biggest concerns and challenges.
More generally, it's the tactical versus strategic view. It's so easy to get sucked into the day to day -- it's something we're comfortable with. CFOs have grown up through the various stages of their companies -- I've run accounting, I've run HR -- I can get sucked into those areas day to day. But you have to stay strategic. It's almost a weekly battle.
4. What is a good day at work like for you?
I am probably like a lot of CFOs in that I am a creature of habit. I've got a routine that when I get out of I get out of sync. The day starts with a 5 a.m. workout to get the blood flowing. If my days don't start with that workout, I feel out of synch. Then, I like to have an early morning touch base with Eric [Belcher], our CEO, and then I like to have lunch with someone in my group or in sales to see what's going on in the company.
What also makes a good day is having some impact on the business, either through a process or a decision I've gone through.
5. How would you characterize your management style?
We're a growth company. We've been growing 30 percent on the top line last year and we expect to grow a similar amount this year. That requires somewhat of an entrepreneurial culture and style so I try to stay with that culture and adopt a hard work-hard play mentality. We're trying not to be a clock watcher, but I do expect everybody to put in a full day and take on additional responsibilities as time goes on.
The other point is -- and this goes back to my mentor -- I try to focus as much as I can on staff development, succession planning to replace me and any of my direct reports over time.
6. What strengths and qualities do you look for in job candidates?
I make an assumption that my HR recruiting folks will bring me the best of the best. I assume that's a given. If someone gets in front of me, I make the assumption they're smart enough for the position.