It was back in 2016 when Lauren StClair realized that it was time to raise her hand.
Online marketplace giant eBay had just completed a deal to acquire the Spanish online ticket platform Ticketbis, and StClair, a 9-year eBay veteran, was itching to get overseas.
eBay had entered the online ticket business in 2007 with its acquisition of StubHub, and the addition of Ticketbis now promised to fatten StubHub’s international revenues, a development that StClair realized would likely require eBay’s finance function to beef up its leadership overseas.Read More
“People knew that I wanted to live overseas, and it was just good timing with regard to me leaving the group to which I had been assigned,” explains StClair, who arrived in Bilbao, Spain, in early 2017 eager to open a career chapter as CFO of StubHub International.
Of course, StClair had already spent some time overseas as a student and a finance adjunct on various international FP&A assignments. However, an overseas leadership appointment was different, and in fact the opportunity for such a coveted stint called to mind for her some valuable advice that she had once received from one her early mentors.
StClair recalls: “He told me, ‘Build your reputation and take time to build a connection to the corporate office, so that when you raise your hand and go abroad, you’ll be top-of-mind over there.’” –Jack Sweeney
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CFOTL: Tell us about NerdWallet … what does this company do, and what are its offerings today?
StClair: NerdWallet is a platform that provides financial guidance to consumers and small and medium-size businesses, or SMBs. Our mission is to provide clarity for all of life’s financial decisions, which we seek to achieve by providing consumers and SMBs with trustworthy, comprehensive, and knowledgeable financial information so that they can make smart money moves.
The biggest single priority for me right now is to ensure the flexibility of our business so that we can continue to operate and invest for the long term—despite some of the macro volatility right now—while at the same time balancing our commitments to profitability and continuing to expand margins in the way that we have over the past few quarters. So, probably the biggest thing that I can do is to give the business some air cover and make sure that we can operate in the most effective ways for our customers.Read More
At the same time, while I would say that we’ve done a great job at this over the past 2 years, we need to continue to push and challenge and raise the bar for our finance team to make sure that we’re doing things faster and automating as much as we possibly can so that we don’t have to scale our costs as the business scales. We also need to keep on connecting the dots to create a narrative that we can use both internally to help the business to understand what we’ve done—and, more important, where we need to go—as well as externally. Our investors need to understand not only where we’ve come from and what our financials mean, but also—more critically—where we’re headed, what our product road map looks like, how these things connect to the longer-term financials, and so on.
“Be willing to share your perspective and opinions—your experiences have value. At the same time, it’s important to be open to different viewpoints and remain transparent and honest. Strong relationships are crucial for both the company and your own personal career growth, and these relationships are bolstered by strong communication practices with colleagues.” –Lauren StClair, CFO, NerdWallet
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