Few finance leaders have boiled down the take-aways from their career journeys into as many palatable, bite-size portions as John Pokorney, CFO of LeTip International. Having found his original finance door of entry at Intel Corp. in the early 1990s, Pokorney credits the chipmaker’s collaborative culture for prodding him to speak the language of others and tap the power of narrative.
“I wasn’t there to create numbers for the engineering group that I was working with or the logistics organization that I ended up supporting, but I was there to be a business partner—and when you’re a business partner, you have to talk the language of the group you’re working with,” explains Pokorney, who would enter the ranks of entrepreneur CFOs after leaving Intel, where in a span of eight years he occupied the roles of finance analyst, finance manager, and group controller.
Reflecting on a number of different CFO tours of duty, Pokorney is able to quickly bring forth detailed memories of different places and times when business challenges were addressed and lessons learned. While certain ilks of finance leaders have reduced their career highlights to a single stock price or capital raise, Pokorney can be counted among the finance realm’s artful communicators who routinely draw people in by sharing wins, failures, and hard-earned insights. –Jack Sweeney
Guest: John Pokorney
Company: LeTip International, Inc. , LeTip World Franchise
Headquarters: Mesa, Arizona
CFOTL: You’ve had a number of entrepreneur chapters as a CFO, and the LeTip organization has long served the entrepreneur community. We would assume that your worlds intersected at some point …
Pokorney: I actually came to this opportunity in the same way that I had come to every other job over the past 10 years or so, which was as a consulting opportunity. LeTip was going through a transition. They were thinking about moving their accounting team from the East Coast back to the West Coast, and I came in to evaluate whether they should do that and why they might be needing to do it. It really came down to a communication issue within the company. They weren’t communicating well enough with the management and sales teams that they had in place. There was some tension going on there, and they needed to be more in-office so that they could have better communication. Then they could be asking each other the sorts of questions that I had been asking my whole career.
That’s really where I started out. We made that transition, and I said, I’ll stay on for a couple of months. I’ll learn the company enough so that I’ll be able to help you hire the right person. That’s what I had done in six or seven previous jobs: I stayed on to where I learned it enough, I got it structured enough to the point where I felt that I could go find them a person who would fit in with the culture and would work with them in the way that they needed to keep growing. As I got to know the LeTip business, I realized that what I had been doing in my consulting career was helping companies to get past the chasm. They get to a point where they’ve been growing, but they’re stopped at some point because they don’t know how to move forward beyond where they’re at.
LeTip does this with companies every day, nationwide. The biggest struggle for small businesses, solopreneurs, entrepreneurs with small businesses is that they get to a point where they’re spending most of their time relating with their customers. They can’t figure out how to spend enough time or enough money to market to grow the business. And that’s what LeTip does. LeTip is a business that helps people understand how to grow their business by word-of-mouth networking, which has been shown in almost every industry to be the most efficient and cheapest way of growing your business.