When Brianna Gerber tells us that during earnings season at Mattel, Inc., she was once known as the investor relations person most likely to be “knocking on doors,” we can’t help but want to learn more about her IR tour of duty at the toy giant.
“I’d be calling on the marketing team and the commercial team, talking to treasury and tax, and asking them all ‘What’s really going on?’ because I would need to understand the numbers before I could explain them,” recalls Gerber, who roamed Mattel’s corridors for nearly five years, after having spent 10 years as an equity research executive.Read More
There’s little doubt here that Gerber is sharing a fond memory that exposes the somewhat immediate satisfaction that she experienced upon landing inside a corporate entity. The glass wall through which she had once peered as an equity analyst had vanished, and she was now able to engage one-on-one with the senior leaders best able to explain the complexities of the business.
It’s a recollection that also reveals the door-opening presence that IR executives enjoy. Still, Gerber wanted something more, and while the IR career track at Mattel no doubt would offer her accelerated advancement, she instead decided to make a lateral move to Mattel’s FP&A team.
“Ultimately, this was about me having the confidence in myself to say, ‘I understand the numbers and I understand why they tell a story, so I can now translate what I learned from this 30,000-foot view and use it to allow me to at the same time go even deeper,” remarks Gerber, who continued her career climb inside Mattel’s FP&A function for a number of years before being recruited by Kevin Farr, Mattel’s long-tenured CFO, who had exited the toy maker in 2017 to serve as CFO of ChromaDex, a pioneering biotech firm.
At ChromaDex, with the two worlds of investor relations and FP&A under her purview, Gerber became a direct report to Mattel’s veteran CFO—a coveted opportunity for mentoring if ever there was one.
“I think that what brought Kevin here and what brought me here was in part the potential to build something,” comments Gerber, who would step into the CFO office at ChromaDex in August of 2022.
Looking back on her career pivots from equity research to IR to FP&A, Gerber highlights her personal goal of seeking challenge.
She adds: “I think that we are constantly reinventing ourselves, and this is what keeps our careers interesting.” –Jack Sweeney
“Listen and analyze, then lead decisively. Ask open-ended questions to gain deeper understanding of an issue or insight into a strategic decision, based on different stakeholder perspectives. Build strong teams, empower, and hold them accountable. Inspire creativity by fostering a culture where it is safe to take prudent risks and learn from mistakes.” –Brianna Gerber, CFO, ChromaDex
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CFOTL: Tell us about ChromaDex … what does this company do, and what are its offerings today?
Gerber: Have you ever heard about something called NAD, or nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide? If you haven’t, you’re not alone. I hadn’t before I decided to research this company. NAD is in all of your 37 trillion cells, and it’s vital to life as we know it. My major was business, not biology, but I’ve learned about a compound called ATP, about cellular energy, about cellular repair—and NAD is vital to all of these things. Without NAD, cells die. It begins to decline at age 30, and by age 70, you have 65% of the levels that you had at age 30.
It’s constantly being consumed by everyday stressors like being out in the sun, overeating, alcohol consumption, lack of sleep—even exercising can be a stressor on your muscles. All of these things. There are also various disease states that deplete NAD. Essentially, it boils down to the fact that cells under metabolic stress are consuming NAD.Read More
We produce a supplement whose main ingredient is nicotinamide riboside—which we have trademarked as Niagen—that elevates levels of NAD by 40% to 50%. After 2 weeks, it’s dose-dependent, but you’re elevating those levels of NAD.
We have a suite of products. We’re bioscience company dedicated to science-based solutions for healthy aging. Around NAD, we have a lot of what are called NAD precursors that elevate NAD. But our core ingredient today is Niagen. Our brand is TRU Niagen, which has done about $60 million in sales. This was done primarily through e-commerce, but we’re also sold in Hong Kong, Macau, China, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Europe.
This was for 2021. We haven’t yet reported on this past year, 2022, but we had projected growth for the total company. We built this brand and its $60 million in sales in only 5 years—from 2017 to 2021—which I think is a pretty exciting thing. We’re obviously looking to continue to build it.
ChromaDex | www.chromadex.com | Los Angeles, CA