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written by Allison Rosa
Meet Tabatha R. Sloggett, Chief Financial Officer at EdVenture Partners
Forbes Executive Finance Council is an invitation-only organization for Chief Financial Officers and Controllers in successful companies. In this spotlight series, we profile our incredible members and share their advice with you.
Tabatha R. Sloggett is the Chief Financial Officer at EdVenture Partners, offering unique, peer-to-peer marketing and recruitment solutions powered by tomorrow’s leaders.
How did your career as a finance executive take off, and what do you attribute your success to most?
Opportunity for application and consistency of execution are the most critical success factors in any endeavor.
My career has followed the same formula: I have benefited from the opportunities provided to me and carved out my place through the steady application of my accumulated skill set.
I’m a serious person and a serious problem solver. Combine those characteristics with an innate talent for (and love of) numbers, and successful projects result.
How do you keep yourself motivated and driven by your work, regardless of how busy you are day to day?
Organizing data, identifying patterns, discerning information and developing action plans are my superpowers. So, motivation for the work is something that comes naturally to me. What keeps me driven, however, is how that superpower is put to use.
Someone once said, “It isn’t enough to be clever; you must also be helpful.” This statement drives me. After all, Lex Luther was a genius, but what did he accomplish with all that intellect?
Skills alone have no value. Value is derived through application, and I like to build things. Build stronger information systems, stronger analytical systems, stronger models, better-informed managers, more knowledgeable staff and, ultimately, value for my stakeholder groups. That’s the way I am helpful and that’s how I find meaning in my work. Having meaning and purpose is motivational.
How can executives better lead their business’s finance department, and why?
Executives can better lead their business’s finance department by being intent listeners and tactfully fearless.
It is difficult to voice a dissenting opinion or approve an untested program. To better manage the finance role, executives need to ask questions that: drive out the purpose of a program, uncover the business or unit incentive in activation, lay bare the risk in the undertaking and gauge whether the project is in line with strategy. Only after these steps are taken should the executive directly, and tactfully, express their assessment.
This is not as easy as it sounds.
The pace of business is ever-increasing, and there is enormous pressure on the finance department to make decisions quickly, approve pet projects and appease those in power. Finance executives, however, have a fiduciary responsibility to the organization, its employees and its stakeholders. That means they need to be able to face those pressures calmly, take the time to listen, be brave enough to make a good decision and then execute that decision efficiently.
Why do they need to do this? Because that is how we add value to the organization, to our staff and to the public.
What is your best finance-related tip for businesses?
Focus on the process not the result.
The process has a greater chance of leading you to an unbiased output. Plus, it’s nice to be surprised sometimes. Besides, if you’re only looking for one thing, then that’s all you find. Opportunity, however, is found when you open yourself up to the possibility of something yet unseen.
As you execute the process, let numbers be your guide, but don’t let them drive you. Remember you work with people and for the sake and benefit of people. In our line of work it is especially important to honor the human aspect of the organization — a myriad of personalities and talents that work together for its greater good.