August 13, 2012, 1:31 PM — Name: Mark Partin
Time with company: 7 years
Education: Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Tennessee; MBA from Harvard University
Company headquarters: Blue Bell, Pennsylvania
Countries of operation: Global operations
Number of employees total: About 275
Number of employees the CFO oversees: 18
Areas of responsibility: Finance and accounting, HR, recruiting
About the company: Fiberlink offers cloud-based software and services for secure enterprise mobile device and application management.
1. Where did you start in finance and what experiences led you to the job you have today?
I started my career in public accounting at Arthur Andersen in Atlanta. I enjoyed the job very much. I was an adviser, a consultant and a confidante to my emerging-growth clients. I was there four years, then spent the next 20 years in finance and operating CFO roles at both public and private companies.
I took one of those companies public through a very successful IPO. At that point, I was hooked. My passion for the CFO role really became pre-IPO, hyper-growth companies that are ready to explode to the next level. That's what brought me to Fiberlink.
2. Who was an influential boss for you and what lessons did they teach you about management and leadership?
I've been fortunate over the years to work for very talented CEOs and boards of directors. I remember when I was 27, my first public-company CEO taught me the importance of believing in myself and having confidence in myself. At that age and time in my career, it was a very important lesson. If you don't believe in yourself it is hard to get others to do that.
My most memorable one was the CEO of the company I took public. His name was Bob Montgomery. He was truly a force of nature and he was the reason I took that job. He was very gifted, and I learned a lot from him. Probably the most important thing was to be an authentic leader. I've carried that with me as the most valuable leadership lesson.
Another was a board member who had become my mentor. He had been a very successful CFO and sat on our board. His big leadership lesson was that you have to be able to communicate effectively and you have to be able to build relationships, whether with employees or with people in the community. He really emphasized being an effective communicator. Imagine how hard that is for people who deal with numbers all day, to be effective communicators.
3. What are the biggest challenges facing CFOs today?