Rethinking What’s Possible With Sandra Beaver, CFO Of Evolus

Jack is joined by Sandra Beaver, CFO of Evolus, to discuss her career evolution and how her mindset as an endurance athlete has changed everything.

Sandra Beaver, CFO of Evolus, got started in the finance field early, at just 17 as an intern for Staples Investor Relations. From there, her career has been expansive—from the nonprofit sphere to both public and private companies, and from gaming to the medical industry. But she credits one of the biggest shifts in her professional perspective to her experience as an endurance athlete, running ultra-marathons.

In this episode, Beaver shares insights on the CEO/CFO relationship, how great talent is the backbone of success and how testing your perceived limits can make all the difference. Listen by clicking below. The Q&A, lightly edited and trimmed for clarity, follows.

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We have a great guest, so let’s rock. The guest is Sandra Beaver. Sandra is the CFO of Evolus. Sandra, welcome to the show.

Thank you, Jack. It’s nice to be here.

I know it’s a fascinating company, but I have to admit, I wasn’t familiar with your company until you and I met. For our readers, can you give us a little background on Evolus?

Evolus is a performance beauty company. We focus on building a portfolio of aesthetic products. They’re serviced through a learned intermediary, so healthcare providers. This is a company that’s building a beauty brand in a medical aesthetic space. Our flagship product is called Jeuveau. Jeuveau is a neurotoxin. It’s been the fastest-growing neurotoxin in the market. We operate in a $3.2 billion TAM for neurotoxins globally. We announced the license of a dermal filler line called Evolysse™ that we will launch in 2025.

Before we get into your professional career, I want to talk a little bit about your life before being a CFO. One thing that was exciting for me was you’re a graduate of UMass Amherst. Are you a New Englander like me?

I am. I was raised in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. I went to college out at UMass and then moved to California for a few years. I ended up back on the East Coast. I lived in Rhode Island for a number of years. In 2015, I was in Foxborough before I ventured back West out here and now in Newport Beach, California.

Weather-wise, at least, that certainly is a step in the right direction. I grew up in Burlington, so we weren’t exactly sports rivals, at least when I was in high school, but we grew up probably about 15 minutes away from each other.

I went to the Burlington Mall all the time.

I am now officially excited because you’re my first guest with Massachusetts roots. I’d love to learn a little about your career journey. You graduated from college. What was it about finance and accounting that was intriguing to you?

I started with business in high school, so I was pretty locked in on it before I even got to college. I was in a club in high school called DECA. It’s the Distributed Education Clubs of America. We basically compete on marketing plans and business plans. I joined because if you got to the state level, you got to go to the Cape for a weekend with all the other kids and not a lot of chaperones.

That’s how it started. It certainly became a bit of a passion of mine even as early as my high school years. I was the President of the club for a couple of years in high school and then I started interning in investor relations when I was in high school as well. My mother was in investor relations. It’s a very funny, full-circle story. I interned at Staples for the then-Head of Investor Relations, Sam Levinson. Years later, he now works for me as an advisor here at Evolus.

You were in investor relations at 17 years old or something?

I was 17 years old and Tom Stenberg was the CEO at the time. I was doing investor shows at store tours, organizing them, and doing all the scripting, analyst calls, and all that stuff. It was great.

Do you know where I worked at 17? Burger King.

At 17, you don’t appreciate how cool of an experience and an opportunity that is. I ended up working in their summer strategy group for a bit there. I was studying business in college as well. It all stayed together. I stayed in summer internships all through college, including at Staples. I ended up working for a nonprofit organization called Accion when I got out of college that did microlending for emerging businesses, mostly immigrants out of San Diego. I was living in San Diego at the time. This felt like the right place for me. I enjoyed what I was doing. I had an aptitude for it. I like numbers. My career continued to evolve from there.

I worked for an investment bank in their accounting department called Trust Company of the West for a few years before venturing back East and ending up at a gaming company called IGT, International Gaming Technologies, in Providence, Rhode Island. I was there for 17 years. It was GTECH when I started. They acquired IGT in 2015, rebranded the whole company, and moved me to Las Vegas to take over as CFO of the acquisition case. It was a $14 billion acquisition. It was the biggest acquisition the company had done. It doubled their size. I did that for four years before landing at Experian here in Southern California.

You certainly had an interesting journey and I like the fact you had an aptitude for something at late teenager, early 20s type of years. I was 16 and I still haven’t figured out something that I have a good aptitude for. Good for you that you discovered something that you liked and were good at a pretty good age. That’s a great journey and thanks for that recap. It’s fair to say those companies you worked for are very different from the one you’re working for now. What are some of the lessons you learned, maybe the challenges you faced and overcame along the way that prepared you to be the CFO of the company you’re at now?

The companies are very different. There’s also something wonderful about being in finance. It’s such a transferable skill. It’s given me a great opportunity to learn different industries and engage with different product offerings. It’s different markets across the globe. Watching companies grow and being a part of that growth is such an invaluable thing to go through.

IGT, in particular, we did multiple acquisitions. In fact, I did a divestiture at that company as well. Probably one of the more transferrable, valuable skills I’ve learned is how to integrate companies. Integrating a company is not about whether you can make the numbers all add up and whether the accounting systems align and have the same forecast process, but can you get the people to work together effectively?

Can you get the team to feel like a team when it’s a new organization? They’re new to each other when you’re doing all this work to build things. Here at Evolus, we’re small, but we have these great aspirations of being a bigger company and I had all of that opportunity at IGT and then at Experian. I was Experian for three years, and had three acquisitions in three years. Being able to learn how to not just see an opportunity but realize that opportunity all the way through to execution has given me a great background to come into a company that we’re ready to build.

There was a time when a CFO could function effectively in any industry. That’s because it was largely the best accountant in a company might become the CFO. Now, with the job focused on strategy and leadership, it’s a little bit more nuanced. Even company to company, it’s very different, but you shifted different industries altogether.

I was lucky to come to Evolus. We have one product now. That helped me on the learning curve, having one product now because, to your point, the medical industry is its own animal. Being from the Boston market, it was a very big biotech infrastructure there. Understanding the process of launching a pharmaceutical or medical product is something completely different from a slot machine or a data asset, which is what I was doing in my previous careers. I’m fortunate to have a super talented chief medical officer here who’s been a wealth of information and been great at getting me up the learning curve.

That’s the name of the game, if you can have somebody like that that can show you the ropes that you wouldn’t necessarily learn from the world of finance and accounting. I tell CFOs, “You’re not going to be good at your job if sitting at your desk. You’ve got to walk around, meet people, and learn the business.”

Probably two weeks at work, I went on the field. I want to meet the customers. I want to see what they do with our product. I want to understand how this thing works. It’s a neurotoxin. I’d never used a neurotoxin before joining Evolus. It wasn’t on my radar of things to do. It’s Botox, basically. I have an appointment to go get my toxin done. It’s a fabulous product. You’ve got to believe and understand what your product is, how it works, and why people use it so that you can connect to how you drive value back into the company.

It’s such a great approach. I encourage our members to the extent you can’t go on sales calls. Understand that you’re not likely to be the star of the show. What they’ve told me they’ve learned is sales calls are more effective with the CFOs on them for a number of reasons. One, CFOs engender trust with customers in a way that maybe salespeople don’t. No disrespect meant. The other thing is it’s very flattering. It’s like, “We must be an important customer if they’re sending their CFO to meet with us.”

It’s always interesting because I’ve done a number of it and we do them as ride-alongs. Our sales team goes into the office. They’re going to medical spas and doctors’ offices. It’s a ride-along when we go. It’s interesting to see how each sales rep will cultivate my ride-along like, “What customers do I get to see?” Sometimes you get to see our best customers because they want to show them the company values them so much, they brought the CFO.

Sometimes I get customers that don’t buy from us at all because if I bring the CFO, I can maybe convince this customer that they should be buying our product and I can engage in the sales process and in that conversation with the operations leads of the customer. It’s one of my favorite things to do. You learn so much interacting with customers.

You take care of your employees and investors, but the company does exist to serve the customers. If you don’t know them and understand them, what’s the point? I love the fact that you use the phrase ride-along because I was immediately thinking of going with the cops on a drug bust or something like that. It’s not quite the same thing.

We’ll tell our sales reps that they might need a better analogy.

It’s the same industry, I suppose. One thing I’ve learned over the years is I’d say probably every CFO and certainly, if not all, almost all of them, have had a highly influential mentor or even multiple mentors along the way. I’m curious if there’s anyone who was an impactful mentor to you when you look back.

I’ve had a few. If you have a long career in this space, you are buoyed along the way by those who support you. I started young. I interned young. My mother was such a great influence on me as a professional. She was in investor relations. She gave me that business savvy and that sense of how you even operate in a corporate environment.

When I got into IGT, then GTECH, there was a CEO there, a guy by the name of Jaymin Patel, who was a CFO turned CEO. He had this great background. He was with KPMG prior to and we still talk to this day. He’s such a fabulous resource. He’s such a smart person. He gave me a lot of quality business sense. I’d like to think that as he was growing up in his career, it was a give-and-take. There was a bit of, “You’re getting some feedback from me, I’m getting some feedback from you,” and we’re helping each other learn new space, new careers, and ways to grow.

There’s one at every turn. Alberto Fornaro was the CFO that came in for the Italian team when they were bought by a company. We still talk regularly. He’s a fabulous person. He’s now the CFO at NRG. Jennifer Schultz was the CEO for the North America business at Experian. It’s these powerful leaders. Jennifer was one of the first real female leadership mentors I ever had.

There was something special about being able to be in a position of leadership and learning from another female leader. No discredit meant to my prior male mentors because they were excellent. They got me a lot of what I learned to get to where I am. There was something unique about that relationship and then being able to have that opportunity to work with her.

I do mentor a number of people, men and women, but sometimes there are issues that I can listen to, but there’s certain experiences I haven’t gone through it and I haven’t gone through anything like it. I think you need to talk to one of your female mentors.

I’m also a member of Chief, which is a women’s mentoring organization, a networking organization, which has been great.

You’re not going to believe this. Literally, my next question I was going to say I know you’re a member of Chiefs. Great minds think alike or in this case, a great mind and an above-average mind maybe, or a mediocre mind. Are you mentoring any young professionals at this point in your career?

I am, yes. I mentor a couple of folks who are at Experian whom I’ve stayed in touch with and who’ve asked to continue that relationship. I mentor someone internally here at Evolus, and in the mentor relationship, we have a piece of the organization called Core. It’s a peer-to-peer relationship. Now, there are 10 people in my core group and we meet once a month. That’s a facilitated conversation with a leadership professional.

I’ve been in Chief for years. I’ve worked with lots of different folks that have come in and out of my core group. It’s such this wonderful way to build this network of peers that can serve you in a time of need. They vary across their specialties. There’s a number of attorneys in there who I’ve called on a number of times for bits of advice or heads of marketing. Getting out of your space and leveraging the skill sets of others that maybe aren’t finance by trade has been invaluable.

Some of the most important mentors I’ve had weren’t people with a similar career path, but a few years older than me. It was people from different walks of life. The one thing a lot of them have said to me and which I do say now when I mentor people, they always say, “This was great,” even if it’s a casual conversation, then I help them out. “How can I pay it back?” I say, “Help the next person. When somebody asks you, as you progress in your career and achieve great things and I know you will, you are going to be asked for help and find a way to return the favor.”

This has probably been going on for a few generations and hopefully, I’m doing my part to keep going to the next couple. I wanted to chat with you a little about I know you take a lot of pride in the teams that you’ve built and worked with over the years. Tell me a little about, if you would, what’s your philosophy on building teams, both attracting talent and then retaining talent? The biggest challenges financial executives face these days are along those areas.

I place a tremendous amount of value on culture. I am a highly transparent communicator as a leader. For some folks, it’s almost bordering on uncomfortable. Because whatever it is, I’m going to talk about it. I don’t like things hanging in the air that worry people. I put it out there and move forward. For those who appreciate that style, for me, it’s incredibly effective.

It allows people to feel comfortable and confident to be who they are, share what they need, and feel valued and heard in an organization. People underestimate how much that motivates somebody to bring their best self to the office, to do their best work. It’s this culture and belonging and this cliché of the word belonging, but it means something very different than being on a team or showing up to work.

“I feel like I belong here. This is a place where I am wanted, needed, welcomed.” You want everybody to feel that when they walk in the building because that’s going to make them feel like they want to do well here. I don’t think you can underestimate the value of cultivating culture and communication across a team. People come to work for more than a paycheck. The paycheck is obviously table stakes, but it’s not enough. You can’t keep paying people more money and think you’re going to get more out of them. It’s not the way that it works.

I’ve heard things even if employees have the choice between a $5,000 bonus or recognition and an award, this particular thing that I’m recalling, it was like a cruise, a cruise for two so you could take your spouse or significant other whatever with them. Some people would choose less money but more recognition and the inclusion of their partner.

We’ve built something special in this company at Evolus with culture. I say we’re maniacal protectors of our culture. We’re very selective about talent because it’s not about do you have the aptitude and the chops for the job. You have to feel like you’re going to work well within our environment, our culture and connect with our teams. We can’t afford to disrupt that because we feel it’s so high value.

We require people to be in the office three days a week. I know there’s a lot of back and forth about whether should people be in the office, shouldn’t they be in the office? How should this work? We feel it’s incredibly important to creating that human connection that drives behavior and keeps people engaged. We’re here and we do a cultural event once a month.

We don’t decide what it is. The employees decide what it is. They did a Hot Ones challenge. It was one of the most hysterical things I have ever seen. If you have ever seen the show Hot Ones where they interview you and you eat hotter and hotter hot wings while you’re trying to answer these questions, they came up with all these interview questions. They lined up all the people and they did this Hot Ones thing with wings. It was hysterical. I’ve never seen more people show up, more people get engaged because it wasn’t my idea. It wasn’t the leadership’s idea. It was the team’s idea. We support them in building the culture the way that they want to build it.

Is that like a TV show watching people eat food?

Yes.

Perhaps watching it, it’s more compelling than it sounds.

It’s very funny. There are 10 different heats. Eight was what did me. When you get to that level and somebody’s trying to ask you a question while you’re basically crying because you’ve had about the hottest hot wing you’ve ever had, it’s very hard to focus and answer the question. You could maybe add it to the show someday as a way to get people.

If the show were in person and maybe at the next conference, you and I can do it live and I’ll bring some spicy wings and get to know you in a truer way than I am right now, get your barrier down a little bit. My next question, this may be a stupid question given how clearly excited you are, but how’d you come about the role at Evolus? How did you discover them and then what was it about the company? You know now it’s a great company and a wonderful place to work, but before you come, you don’t necessarily know. What about the company attracting someone like you to go work for them?

They found me is the short answer to the beginning of this one. I remember they called me. I was the CFO for all the vertical markets in North America for Experian. My portfolio was well over $1 billion. I was running four businesses. I’d come from $1.5 billion business at IGT. It was this internal operating CFO with these big books of business or relatively big. I get this call that this $150 million aesthetics company is interested in having you come as a CFO. My first reaction was, “Why did you call me? I don’t understand.” The recruiter basically said, “It’s local. We know you want to stay local. Take a call with the CEO. If nothing else, you’ve made a local friend.” Sure, why not? David Moatazedi is probably one of the more compelling humans you’ll ever interact with.

He’s probably one of the most dynamic, thoughtful, engaged CEOs I’ve ever had the opportunity to work for. You spend an hour on the phone with David Moatazedi and you’re like, “I get it. Now I want to talk to somebody else. I want to learn more. I want to go deeper into this.” He’s not only somebody who understands the industry. He’s been in medical aesthetics for decades. He’s got tremendous vision for what the company can be, with clarity around how to execute that vision. That combination is unique and powerful in a CEO. I said, “This guy’s smart.”

He can put the pieces of this puzzle together. This market is growing at 10 percent. The TAM is $2.3 billion. There are only four companies that do this right now. This is interesting. This is exciting. We could build something incredible here that’s different than what anybody else does in this space. We have a way of differentiating this product in a way that nobody else does. It was exciting and the opportunity was so clear after having that conversation. I said to the recruiter, “I’ll meet the rest of the team. This is interesting.” I met Rui Avelar, who I mentioned earlier, who’s our Chief Medical Officer. I call him the world’s most interesting man. He is brilliant.

Does he bring that brand by any chance? I know they were trying to replace that.

For a martini guy, he’s brilliant. You’re like, “This company’s small, but they got some heavy hitters in here. These guys have been around the block.” Rui was the Chief Medical Officer at Allergan for a number of years. He’s a physician by trade. He was the doctor for the Vancouver Canucks, the Canadian cycling team. He was a sell-side analyst for a while. He’s this dynamic human who is so bright and is so talented. You can take your way through the leadership team as you keep meeting them. It’s like, “Why did all these smart people come here? These are smart people.” Above and beyond that, I like them.

I can bring something different to the table that they need and that we can do something better than we could have done apart. That’s unique, special, and exciting to be a part of. It was not an easy decision to go from big company to small company in a different environment. I love being a public company CFO. Getting into that investor facing seat was enticing for me. Being a part of this team is what gets me excited to come into this office every day.

You keep stealing my questions before I have a chance to ask them, but I was going to ask what your relationship with David is. In some circles, it’s considered the most critical relationship in a company because if the CEO and CFO aren’t on the same page, it doesn’t mean they always have to agree. In fact, if they always agree, there’s probably something wrong. It’s got to be healthy support, mutual respect. What is that like? Is he a scientist by early background?

No’s a commercial guy. He is great at marketing, which I’m not. I’m very much an operational leader. He’s very much a strategic visionary leader. We complement each other fabulously in that regard and that we think about the business from different angles. It’s a great way to go through a question or problem. I always joke, Dave and I are the same age. We were married the same year. We have sons that have the same name. It makes the communication between us very easy, very natural. There isn’t normally a morning that goes by that I don’t have a note from or a note to David. We’re talking all the time and we’re bouncing ideas off each other all the time.

He was at an event that I wasn’t at. It was hosted by one of the bankers and it was a panel of CFOs. He sends me a picture of all these CFOs and he is like, “Not one of them can hold the candle to your strategic insights.” I was like, “That’s awesome.” Who gets that note from their CEO? We have this high appreciation for each other. I do think we listen to each other, but we definitely do not always agree. That’s part of what makes it great. I will say, I have probably the closest relationship with him as a CEO, the most effective relationship with him as a CEO as I’ve ever had. I’ve been a CFO for over 10 years.

In your role at Evolus, you have at least one aspect that, in my experience is a little bit out of the ordinary, but you’re helping to diversify the product portfolio. Is that a fair way to characterize it?

I run business development, so like I said, I’ve done quite a bit of acquisition and divestiture in my history. It was a natural fit to take over that role here at Evolus. As I mentioned, we licensed a new product since I started. We’re very excited about the launch of our dermal filler line. We’re building a medical aesthetics portfolio of products. It’s the beginning. It’s with Rui and David to be able to assess the market for medical aesthetics very well and the quality of the products in this space very well. We make a pretty powerful team.

That’s a rare opportunity. I haven’t known a lot of CFOs who also do biz dev, although I believe it’s not that rare in life sciences. Is that fair to say that?

I owned it. Within Experian as a CFO of the businesses that I was there, I did all the support for biz dev for that as well. Although the function itself for reported separately, we owned all the business plans. For me, because I’ve been an operating CFO, execution is so critical. Sometimes when you have a business development function that is very theoretical in nature, lots of things look good on paper. Making them happen inside of a company post-acquisition, that’s where the real work starts. That’s where it gets hard. Being a part of the process and knowing the process the whole way through, you can bring those insights early into the phase when you’re thinking about bringing on new companies or new products.

I wanted to ask, you’ve been a CFO, not 100 years or anything like that, but the role’s changed a little bit since your first CFO job. I’m curious to get your insights on financial leadership. How do you see it evolving going forward? There was a time when it would go back and forth between old school CFOs, financial reporting, compliance, the expense management and then strategic and operational, which you are on that spectrum of it. It went back and forth. At this point, it’s not going to go back. CFO is a financial and strategic leader, not just an accounting person at this point. What are your thoughts on it now that I’ve wasted 30 seconds of everyone’s time giving mine?

I’m inclined to agree with you. You’re right. Traditionally, the CFO used to be the chief accounting officer, that very structured acumen around financial management. They were a critical piece of reporting the company’s results and an important part of the process to understand the organization, but they weren’t as forefront in the decision-making of the future initiatives that the company might embark on as they are nowadays.

To your point, CEOs and CFOs are now arm in arm. They’re making decisions together as opposed to one advising the other in a backdrops fashion. As we get to a place where there’s so much consistency, there’s opportunities for automation within the financial reporting, which frees up the CFO even more to be more strategic and more engaged and building out other parts of the business.

I own all of the operations here at Evolus as well. I have customer experience, I have systems engineering, I have IT operations and I have global insights and analytics. All of our data management is something that rolls up into my organization as well, along with the investor relations, accounting, financial planning. My history steeped in the operating structures of companies and in data uniquely positioned me to take on a role of that scope here at Evolus.

I don’t know that operations are where the CFO role goes as much as biz dev probably is more of where the CFO role goes when thinking about defining the future, but this whole undertone of automation and AI, that’s going to touch the CFO role as much as any other role in the company. That will force forward the strategy around how a CFO can be a thinker and not a doer.

It’s interesting with all the responsibilities on your own plate. One of my friends told me what makes for a great CFO, he told me it was a world class controller or somebody like that. Your second in charge must be good because you’re trusting that person with an awful lot.

When I joined Evolus, we were about 160 people. We’re approaching 300 now. This company looks almost entirely different from when I started here, and my organization is no exception to that. The team that got us to where we were when I joined was a great team, but they weren’t necessarily the team that was going to get us to where we needed to be to be a multi-product aesthetic company with a much bigger scale. I’ve had the opportunity to bring in some high-quality, high-powered talent, which serves me well. I’ve got a great controller and great head of operations. My vice president of insights and analytics. I’ve got this fabulous team that I’ve been able to cultivate.

You couldn’t accomplish all the things that you’re doing on the strategic front and meeting with customers without run on time.

What’s the key to success as a CFO? It’s talent. It’s absolutely talent. It’s not me anymore that’s going to make me successful. It’s my team. It’s making sure I’ve got smart people around me advising me and people that I trust.

CFO job is time-consuming. It’s stressful. It’s hard on family life. I’m curious how do you manage that? I don’t even know. Do you have children?

I do.

How do you balance all of those things? It sounds like you had a good role model with your mother.

I did. Everybody says balance is an illusion. I don’t know that I do. You fit them all in. Is it balanced? I don’t know. My kids are getting a little bit older. I have a daughter and a son. I try to make sure I make time for myself. I know that sounds a bit counterintuitive to how you make time for your family, but I feel like if you don’t have this fundamental sense of self-confidence, self-worth, self-love, you’re not any good to anybody else anyway.

Part of being able to make sure that I’m as present as I can be at Evolus and as present as I can be at home is making sure I’m doing the right amount of me time, too. That’s critical to having any sense of balance. You come in feeling grounded. That means you make time for things that fill your own cup so that you can fill others.

I have to say, Sandra, a little birdie told me that you are quite an accomplished athlete. I’d love to hear a little about that. You do some endurance sports, to say the least.

I do, yes, making time for myself. Running is what it looks like. People go, “I couldn’t do the things that you do.” I’m like, “Do the thing that you should do for you.” The thing that I do for me is I run. I’m not one to do anything halfway. I tend to do all things in measures of extremes, I guess, you could say. I like to consider myself somewhat high-performing on a number of levels. I run ultra-marathons, so I don’t just run. I run far and long. I’m an endurance athlete more than I am a performance athlete, is probably the best way to put it.

I certainly have heard the phrase ultra-marathon, but what is that exactly?

Anything longer than a marathon technically is an ultra-marathon. I’d say my favorite distance is a 50 kilometer race, which is about 32 miles, but that’s your vanilla race. I did a race that was 100 miles.

I can’t drive in a car 100 miles without pulling over.

How often do I get that comment? I don’t want to drive that in a car.

How long does 100 miles take you?

It took 29 hours. No, I don’t stop. No, I don’t sleep. I didn’t sit down. I ran for 29 hours.

A night in a hotel or something along the way. That’s impressive. I feel like I interrupted you. You were telling me about one of your runs or something.

This is the one I was going to tell you about. Years ago, if somebody said, “Run a marathon,” I would’ve laughed at them. I had no aspirations of being a runner, let alone a marathon runner. To me, that distance was insurmountable. I couldn’t quite get my brain around the idea of running a marathon. The idea that I now run mostly ultra marathons, I took something, started doing it and then it snowballed and went into the extreme end of the sport. I love it. It’s a way to keep me balanced and grounded.

How do you train to run 100 miles? I wouldn’t think that the body could run 100 miles a bunch of times during the course of the year. How do you train for something like that?

The training plans in the range of twenty weeks. It’s a build, drop training plan. My max run was 75 miles a week. You don’t run 100 miles to train for 100 miles. You do this continuous building of endurance and then you give yourself a break and then you build and then you break. I say I do the minimum requirement to not DNF the race. I do enough to finish. I’m never going to win. It’s this idea that you can do something that you thought was impossible. It never would’ve crossed my mind I could run that. As you said, people aren’t meant to do this stuff. This. Somebody said, “I bet you can.”

I was like, “I don’t think I could.” They’re like, “I bet you can.” I’m like, “Let’s find out.” I like this idea of going beyond my perceived boundaries. Things that I think are limits aren’t limits. Once you make it past one of those perceived limits, lots of things start to look and feel different. Things that you thought were impossible, you suddenly start to rethink, “Maybe they aren’t. Maybe I could do that.” It’s a great feeling to feel like you can tackle things that you once put limiters on yourself about what you could and couldn’t do and they’re not there. I told you I have two kids. My daughter was diagnosed with cancer when she was two.

She went through chemo for three years and when she was in chemo, that’s when I started running. I needed a way to balance life. Everybody says like, “I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t care for a child that has cancer.” You can and you can because you don’t have a choice. There’s no other option. You’re going to figure this out. Once you get through something like that, you say, “If I can do that, what else can I do that I didn’t think I could do?” You can do a lot.

You can do a lot more than you give yourself credit for or space for. It’s this mind-over-matter thing. An ultra-marathon is very much like that. You don’t know how many times during 100 miles you definitely want to quit. Your whole mindset is like, “This is ridiculous. This isn’t safe. Everything hurts. I don’t want to be out here anymore.” You’re willing yourself to keep going and knowing that you’re going to be fine and you’re not going to die. Keep moving. It is such a mental game and so many things in life are.

I have to ask, what’s on your playlist when you’re doing all these lonely hours of training? Do you listen to music or podcasts or anything like that?

Nothing.

It’s you and your body. That’s discipline. Maybe the next one, you can listen to a couple of my episodes of the show.

Usually, I run with friends a lot, so it’s a lot of time to talk, but it’s also a lot of time to clear the mind, reflect and get some fresh air. I love sunrise. I love a run at sunrise. I usually go out a few days a week. It’s a great feeling.

I was a pretty good athlete. Nothing special at all. Obviously, you’ve got something in you that’s driving you to make you a high performer. Does this help you in your career, do you think, having this other outlet by you and only you?

Yes. I’d say there are two things through this that have been impactful for me professionally. When my daughter first got sick, I was at work. I got a call at work and it was get to the hospital. I dropped everything at the office for probably the better part of a month. I came back a month later. I’m a pretty high-performing, high-intensity person. As you can imagine, I worked pretty hard. I put in long hours, did little things, and would get very emotionally invested in my work product.

When my daughter got sick, I started gaining a whole different perspective on how much I was investing into things that maybe weren’t as important as I was giving them the space and time for. I got this great perspective about how to balance what matters and what doesn’t matter. I create time for things that you weren’t creating time for before by making sure you were prioritizing more appropriately how things fit in terms of your schedule.

I gained this tremendous sense of perspective that’s been hugely valuable to me. A lot of that came from building in the right amount of self-care into my time, which was the running piece. You get a little more grounded. You don’t overreact as easily to things. You don’t get upset by so many things. That’s a big piece of what I’ve learned from her being sick and from me taking on ultra running.

The other piece is this idea of limitlessness. I look at problems totally differently. I used to look at problems and see all the things that were going to go wrong and all the things that were going to stop me from doing things. It flips that whole mindset. You’re like, “How do I fix that? How do I get over that?” You find ways to make things happen that you previously didn’t imagine you could.

What’s your daughter’s name?

Her name’s Kylie.

Kylie is doing well now, then?

Wonderful. She’s fabulous. She’s a middle schooler, so she’s in those wonderful teenage girl years.

Good for her. I’m sure the older brother thinks Kylie’s a pain in the butt, but when they’re both in their twenties, he’s going to like having a slightly younger sister who has a lot of friends at her age to hang out with.

They’re normal siblings. They bicker, but they get along surprisingly well. We’ve moved a lot. We were in Massachusetts and we were in Vegas and then we were in California. That breeds a connection within your family. That’s a bond that’s a little bit stronger than I think if you stayed in the same place the whole time because we are the constant for each other. We’re very close as a family, which is nice.

This has been a great conversation and as we wrap up, I know that you mentioned earlier that you serve as a mentor and the pride you have on your team. As we close, I wonder, do you have any advice you’d like to share with the next generation of CFOs based upon what you’ve learned and what you see coming down the horizon?

For me, as a high-intensity, high-execution person, remember to listen. Don’t be so focused on everything you need to do and what your team needs to do, but shut out the things that are going on around you because they give you very valuable lessons, to be attuned to every level of what’s happening in your organization and keep your ears open.

We’re looking forward to hearing from you then and finally meeting you in person. This has been a wonderful conversation. Thanks for your time.

Thank you, Jack. I appreciate it. I appreciate the time.