10 questions for Fiberlink CFO Mark Partin

By , IDG News Service |  Software

I want to find out what has motivated that person in their life decisions. Sometimes you can apply that to their resume or why they came to this country or this industry. But I want to find out what motivates them. I want to know if they're competitive and if they're engaged in something important after work. Those things help you determine their decision-making process and what motivates them.

I want to know if the person stands or walks on an escalator. I want that person who walks on the left side. That's an interview question I often ask, but you're not sure what you're going to get for an answer.

I want someone who can engender trust and respect from employees, customers and business partners. They need to be confident in who they are and they need to be comfortable in their own skin. They need to know who they are. In order to do business with and engender respect, people need to have confidence in who they are and what they believe in. I spend the interview figuring those things out.

8. What is it about your current job, at this particular company, that sets it apart from other chief finance positions?

What sets this job apart is the rapid and disruptive innovation in our market and the incredible pace of change that makes demands on every single person who works in this company. I work next to some of the most talented people in the technology industry. We've created some of the best products in the world. I'm fortunate to be part of that team.

I also work for the most demanding, world-class, private-equity sponsors in the business, including Goldman Sachs, Technology Crossover Ventures and GE Equity, to name a few. Not everyone in a chief finance position is fortunate enough to have that slate of bosses, sponsors and supporters on their board.

9. What do you do to unwind from a hectic day?

There's no such thing for me. The more hectic and chaotic the day is, the better for me. I thrive on the energy and the demands that are required for rapid change. Multiple uncertain variables, crisis; you name it. I enjoy those sorts of situations. I've always been able to provide calm, thoughtful, balanced leadership in those times. I think that's required of most CFOs today.

And luckily for me, I have two kids and so they can amp it up for me when I get home.

10. If you weren't doing this job, what would you be doing?

I love this job. I love the CFO role. I love the impact that we can make on these types of companies. If I weren't doing this, how about CEO? I'd take that job. That's a role I would like.

Outside of the executive office, if I got a chance, I'd be a professional triathlete. I've done over 100 triathlons and two Ironmans. At the end of the day, in order to win, it's all about the numbers. I love winning and I love numbers, so it's the perfect sport for me.

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