Made Possible By
When Amir Jafari looks back and reflects on his path to the CFO office, he includes two character traits that have arguably long distinguished finance leaders from other functional leaders.
“We in finance have high levels of accountability and integrity, and these are the things that we’re able to then transpose in terms of what we do and how we are able to lead as CFOs,” explains Jafari, who says that it was his ability to “transpose” these traits during a recent career chapter at ServiceNow that allowed him to ultimately gain the leadership experience required to step into a CFO role at Reputation.com.
“I landed at ServiceNow as their corporate controller, but the biggest twist in my entire life—and one that I think ultimately helped me to prepare for a CFO role—is that I had a chance to be the general manager of a business unit,” explains Jafari, who notes that his GM tour of duty was rooted in the creation of two applications that ultimately evolved into a business unit.
“Being able to lead a product management team, an engineering team, a design and go-to-market team is very different from my past assignments and has really helped to round out the core elements of what we do in traditional finance,” comments Jafari.
While there’s little doubt that Jafari’s ascent into leadership roles was aided by more than accountability and integrity, he credits his finance career track for helping to preserve and nourish these traits along the way, allowing him to more confidently assume leadership roles when opportunities arrived. –Jack Sweeney
Guest: Amir Jafari
Headquarters: Redwood City, CA
CFOTL: What are some of the economic indicators that you are watching these days?
Jafari: We really want to look at this through the lens of our customers to make sure that we are beyond empathetic and have compassion for each of their respective industries. In healthcare—when healthcare reopens back up to a normal process—we’ll be looking at the folks who serve the elderly, or elective surgeries, or wherever the need may be. Perhaps it’s the dental shops across the U.S., as an example: What are the key stats for when they can open from an economic perspective?
At a macro level, of course, there’s unemployment. There are a lot of key stats there, some of which are lagging. But we view things more in terms of industry by industry to see what’s happening.
We’re in a world that is highly abnormal. There’s a “sense of pause” that’s been created. For me, this is a unique opportunity because when the world is standing still, we have the ability right now to validate our vision. We believe strongly in our purpose—that this whole notion of reputation matters—so we want to refine our strategy. We want to be able to come out of this and thrive. That’s what we’re doing today. We’re refining our strategy with regard to COVID. We have looked at various scenarios. But also I think it’s important for people to step back and understand what the world is going to look like post-COVID.
What’s important to me now, more than ever—and what I really am prioritizing over the next 12 months—is execution. It’s all about making sure that we’re not trying to do too much, while at the same time doing the right things. The right things for us. We need to make sure that we’re understanding our geographic position, our product position, and that everything that we do needs to be grounded in driving value for our customers and helping to really just connect customers with enterprises of all sizes.
That’s where our focus is. It’s being able to execute along those lines. To do all of this and then at the same time bear in mind the one underlying piece that nobody ever talks about: We need talent. We’re always focused on attracting and retaining top talent. jb