Connecting the DotsBy
Steve Jobs once said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward.” For me, the dots relate to being a multicultural and transnational person, celebrating diverse interests and backgrounds, and challenging myself to top each new achievement. As an American citizen who had lived in six different countries by age 12, I attuned early to the importance of understanding other cultures.
I entered the business world as a plant manager for a small manufacturing company in my hometown of Portland, Ore., usually communicating with my team in Spanish. Since I was suddenly personally responsible for the organization’s profitability—including sales, manufacturing, purchasing, logistics, and reporting—the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) was the first certification that I pursued in my new role.
After we were acquired by a large multinational company, I found myself responsible for the auditing and security of hundreds of millions of dollars in IT assets. Understanding how technology supports business became my obsession. I love working with technologies that change the way we consume products, so when I was recruited by a technology company in Silicon Valley, I jumped at the opportunity.
After working in the financing of growth companies in the tech field (mainly as CFO, also often as acting business advisor to the CEO and CTO), I gained the attention of a top-tier investment bank looking for professionals who understood value generation and key reporting metrics for start-ups. Working across the life-cycle management of capital raises (debt and equity) from angels and institutions (seed to public offering), I found that my CMA experience was always appreciated by my clients.
Now as managing director of SVLQ (Silicon Valley Liquidity Fund), I work with international tech companies (still using Spanish!) in the business-to-business space. Typical SVLQ companies generate millions in revenue and require the creation of a Delaware C-Corp as well as the migration of sales and business functions to Silicon Valley where the existence of more than $4 trillion of market capitalization concentrates selling opportunities.
I’m glad I trusted my instincts. I love working on mutually beneficial merger and acquisition transactions from origination to closing, and it’s fun to look back and trace the dots to the knowledge I gained with CMA certification: financial planning and analysis, internal controls, ethics, financial reporting. That training was a perfect jumping-off point for what I do now.
For the last five years I have served on the board of IMA’s San Francisco Chapter. It’s been a great pleasure to engage with the passionate individuals who make up our membership, whose own uniquely dotted paths led them to this organization. I hope all of them will consider experiencing the benefits reaped through service to IMA.