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Sam Funk began his career in the finance industry as an auditor for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Austin, Texas. After six years, he joined a Wi-Fi provider as director of finance, a position which allowed Funk to get more involved in operational finance as he helped the provider prepare for a sale into a larger company.
Later in his career, while serving as CFO for Orchard Brands in Boston, he reconnected with college acquaintance Phil Hansen, CEO of CLEARLINK. Hansen recruited Funk to become CFO for CLEARLINK, which was experiencing tremendous growth.
Funk oversees a variety of functions at CLEARLINK, such as HR, recruiting, legal process and finances. He championed the implementation of the current wellness and benefits program, 360 Fit, after the Affordable Care Act passed. Nearly 350 employees are involved in the program, and 210 have 100 percent coverage because of greater physical activity and healthier habits.
“How we win is as important as the win itself,” says Funk. “If we win one year the wrong way, we can end up losing. We lose because we didn’t treat our people, clients and vendors well. Ultimately, we will have lost on the ‘how’ in the short term and eventually we lose the ‘win’ in the long term.”
“Anything can be successful if it’s aligned with the right goal.”
CFO, Alliance Health
Since being promoted to CFO of Alliance Health in 2006, Justin Leavitt has helped raise more than $85 million in debt to finance working capital growth and acquisitions, and another $35 million in equity from investors. Perhaps his greatest contribution to Alliance, though, is helping manage the company’s significant growth: from 35 employees and zero in revenue to more than 650 employees and $122 million in revenue in five years.
Leavitt was involved in two critical decisions for the company: the decision to move it away from its wholesale distribution roots and focus on direct customer fulfillment, and the decision to merge the predecessor company, Ingram Medical, with Alliance Health. “Our company is in the midst of transforming certain aspects of the healthcare industry to improve the lives of individuals with chronic conditions,” he says. “When there is a real value proposition for the customer, the economic success allowing for [strong] employee growth is possible. Working for such an organization makes it exciting to come to work each day.”
Leavitt says his success comes in part from his priority in hiring—making sure to find and hire the right people, and then empowering them to be successful in their careers with the company.
“Hold yourself accountable, but don’t be afraid to hold others accountable as well.”
Jon Pexton joined Progrexion as chief financial officer in late 2011, just after his former company—Interbank FX, a global foreign exchange brokerage firm—was acquired by TradeStation. With an extensive résumé that includes serving as vice president of finance and accounting at Callidus Software, as well as eight years with EY in its audit, tax and transaction advisory groups, Pexton now guides the executive team and the board of Progrexion on the strategic direction of the company and the financial implications of business decisions.
Progrexion has gone through a period of rapid growth—it more than tripled in size over the past three years and employs nearly 2,000 people. “I have been in the middle of all this growth, working to ensure we make the right investments in the right places at the right times,” says Pexton.
With a growing workforce, the company executive team decided to enhance the corporate culture. “Adding expensive massage chairs, Xboxes and zen rooms are not usually things a CFO goes for. But I understand the hard work that our employees do and the importance of keeping good talent on board and making Progrexion a great place to work,” he says.
“I try to be a consensus builder and align the team around the corporate goals. I try to use data and metrics to make the business decisions more clear.”
Regina (Gege) Pikus
CFO, Pikus Concrete & Construction, LLC
Gege Pikus was hired by Pikus Concrete in 1999, just after obtaining her Bachelors of Finance. “I was able to create the financial and office divisions from scratch, which was an incredible opportunity,” she says.
With a hands-on approach right from the beginning, Pikus was able to help the company weather the financial downturn that began in 2008 and lasted for years. “We did it by keeping costs and overhead as low as possible. We were very creative.”