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- Building a Scalable Foundation for Continued Growth
As the new Chief Financial Officer at FLYR, my goal is to enable the accelerating momentum the company is experiencing and facilitate continued growth while reaching public-quality financial and operational standards.
In order to implement a scalable foundation to further accelerate FLYR’s growth, it will require a heavy dose of listening to our leadership team. From them, I will gain an understanding of the opportunities and challenges they see in contributing to the most rapid growth we can feasibly deliver.
I also want to fill some key roles to provide leadership on the scale-up of operational systems and processes. We will aim to hire the best people for each area, ensuring company-wide alignment, and then turn them loose to execute. Progress will depend on having professionals who know what “good” looks like at scale and empowering them to begin building the scalable infrastructure to support FLYR’s future size and complexity.
Where We’re Going
Though it’s a heavily-used quote from hockey’s great Wayne Gretzky, I believe in his simple explanation of how to stay ahead: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” While near-term steps are necessary to guide the effort of the company, there is tremendous value in knowing where those steps lead, and tying that into the longer-term vision of the company is one of the key tasks of senior leadership.
From what I have learned so far about the state of things at FLYR, there is nothing unusual with respect to current operational and financial infrastructure relative to similarly-staged companies that I’ve worked for in the past. For all young companies, there comes a time, usually, after the product-market fit has been validated, when building operational and financial processes, people, and infrastructure for scalability is necessary to fully realize the company’s potential.
How We’ll Get There
Much of my career in finance and operations has been focused on enabling companies to reach their full growth potential. Part of the challenge is to balance the discipline necessary to navigate to public-quality financial and operating standards while limiting any constraints on growth in getting there. This has always started with hiring the very best people with the right experience and similar growth-enabling orientation.
It will also mean implementing a large-scale ERP system to begin the path to timely visibility into our actual performance, as well as planning systems to allow us to set and track budgets on a timely basis. This will permit a more data-informed approach to resource allocation among the departments. With these in place, as well as some associated process additions, we can begin to “skate to where the puck is going to be.”
Where I’ve Been
After four years as CFO at 23andme and six years as CEO and CFO at Miramax, I’m truly excited to be joining FLYR Labs at this incredible stage in the company’s growth. I have spent the majority of my career in the growth-enabling stage of companies’ lives, and it may sound like I’m sucking up, but it’s true: Alex Mans won me over. As a leader, he has an amazing grasp of the market opportunity and the company’s challenges in exploiting that opportunity. A bonus, however, is that I am an FAA-certified private pilot (although not currently active). My dad was a US Air Force bomber pilot, so I’ve been steeped in aviation my entire life.
In addition to a love of aviation, I thoroughly enjoy exercise and traveling. As a former competitive cyclist, I like getting out on the open road and I also try to walk or do strength workouts every day. My partner Stephanie and I try to take a couple of international trips each year, prioritizing places we have never been to. This summer, we went to Portugal and have plans for Bali in December.
Though I don’t tend to return to destinations often, Amsterdam – home of one of FLYR’s global offices – is probably my favorite non-US city, and Italy might win as my favorite overall country. Anywhere new elicits a dopamine rush, and maximizing the use of credit card points is almost like a sport in my house. I look forward to adding some new stamps to my passport with FLYR!
Who I Follow
In business, I really admire what Dara Khosrowshahi has done under challenging conditions to get UBER on the precipice of profitability through focus, discipline, and adaptability. The recent pandemic-era evolution towards food delivery as the ride-sharing segment stalled has been impressive. Their size and exit from self-driving car development have contributed to their success in navigating the pandemic.
I also believe that there’s a lot to learn about leadership from those not in the business world. There’s no question that currently, I am totally in awe of the leadership that Volodymyr Zelensky is showing the people of Ukraine and the rest of the world. He has rallied his country to the cause of liberation and set a clear vision of the complete liberation of Ukrainian territory. He is visible and accessible, and he has deftly worked for alliances, something I think translates to leadership in other sectors and a trait I hope to mirror in my new role at FLYR.
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