Strategic CFO Forum


December 4, 2023

9:00 – 9:30 am ET

Registration and Networking

9:30 – 9:35 am ET


9:35 – 10:25 am ET

The Economic Outlook and 2024 Considerations for CFOs

Phil Mackintosh, Chief Economist, Nasdaq

The past couple of years have seen economic volatility with slow growth, lingering inflation, steady interest rate hikes and continued predictions of a recession, all of which has created consumer hesitancy. What will 2024 bring? Will high inflation return? Will the business environment be conducive for growth, M&A, and product expansion? Will cost containment continue to strain investment decisions? Will CFOs have to raise prices? Cutback on growth objectives? Find new supply chains? We’ll sit down with a leading economist to help you plan for the year ahead.  

10:25 – 11:10 am ET

The CFO’s Role in Strategic Decisions: Investing for Growth and Maximum ROI

Mandy Fields, Chief Financial Officer, e.l.f. Beauty

Carolina Dybeck Happe, Chief Financial Officer, GE

Xihao Hu, Chief Financial Officer, TD Bank U.S.

We’re in a time of tremendous uncertainty and disruption, and when it comes to leading through this kind of economic volatility, CFOs play a crucial role in helping their companies assess risk versus reward and the ROI of capital expenditures and growth strategies. Hear from seasoned CFOs in industries directly impacted by inflation and supply chain constraints over the last 2 years to discover how they are helping their organizations weather the challenges, rethink how to drive value and strategically prioritize where to invest capital. They’ll teach you how to see possibilities where other CFOs see challenge.

11:10 – 11:30 am ET

Networking Break

11:30 am – 12:15 pm ET

The CFO as Technology Strategist

Sandra BeaverChief Financial Officer, Evolus

Brandon Braganza, Partner, RSM US LLP

Richard Puccio, Chief Financial Officer, Amazon Web Services

Over the last two years, we’ve seen the greatest infusion of new technology in the workplace since the advent of the Internet. Advanced systems are promoted daily. In addition, many of the systems companies adopted years ago are now obsolete or no longer capable of supporting growth objectives. Not to mention, there are a plethora of new technology many companies are just embarking upon—AI, machine learning, robotics and more. The CFO sits in the middle of the company’s technology investment decisions with the final word on spend.

How do you understand what the business needs, what different technologies do, what the risk to the business is of not having it—how do you take a holistic view across business units to prioritize which technology investments will best support growth goals and have the greatest ROI? The challenge is even greater as companies find themselves in cost containment mode—you can’t grow without investing so it’s imperative for CFOs to help business units get it right. We’ll bring together a panel of CFOs to understand how they tackle these issues and make sure the targeted tech solutions will meet their organization’s needs before they lay out considerable funds.

12:15 – 1:30 pm ET

Working Lunch and Peer-to-Peer Roundtables

Attendees will break into working sessions for in-depth, interactive discussions with other senior finance executives and a subject matter expert. 

The latest innovations in AI promise to unlock efficiency and creativity for a range of corporate functions. To date though, those unlocks may seem abstract for finance and accounting professionals. During this roundtable, we’ll discuss the practical use cases to apply AI in the CFO’s org, ranging from ESG reporting, Investor Relations workflows, and Board engagement.

Featured Speaker:

  • Micheal Stiller, New Initiatives, Nasdaq

The role of the CFO is changing and becoming increasingly focused on squeezing value from costs, driving the strategic direction of the organization, and communicating financials effectively with stakeholders. The current economic climate presents an opportunity for finance leaders to navigate organizations through uncertain times, leveraging digitization as a means to break down data silos and draw meaningful insights to grow the business. In this session, we will look at the challenges in the journey towards becoming a truly digital finance function, where you can leverage opportunities, explore the world of data, and engage with projects that will shape wider business strategy. Join your peers to discuss:

  • What role does the finance function play in shaping the overall business spend strategy of an organization?
  • How can finance leaders harness digital technologies to streamline the financial reporting process and improve stakeholder communication?
  • What areas in the finance department would most likely benefit from automation to further optimize entire business processes?
  • How can and should finance leaders look to transform mundane, legacy processes i.e. chasing receipts, issuing and processing invoices, keeping track of budgets, and creating financial reports?


Featured Speaker:

  • Robbie Hadfield, Director of Solutions Engineering, Payhawk

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, CFOs face unique challenges in maximizing revenue streams. One such topic of increasing importance is the potential revenue loss due to outdated or inefficient billing systems. As industries shift and diversify their business models, it’s paramount for financial systems to keep pace. This roundtable delves into the repercussions of missed monetization opportunities and the compelling value proposition of embracing automated billing. RecVue will offer insights, debate the costs and benefits, and explore strategies to harness next-generation billing solutions to stay ahead in this competitive market.

Featured Speaker:

  • Robin Beetge, VP of Sales, RecVue

1:30 – 2:30 pm ET

Peer-to-Peer Roundtables 

Attendees will select a second topic for in-depth, interactive discussions with other senior finance executives and a subject matter expert. 

The M&A market was not kind to us for the better part of 2023, but sentiment is changing, and M&A activity has started to pick up. Studies have shown M&A is a good way to increase enterprise value, so how can CFOs leverage M&A? Join us for an in-depth discussion of current trends and issues facing buyers and sellers today. We will also discuss how carve-outs are an effective tool to focus companies on their core business, and the considerations CFOs need to make in assessing the right opportunity, strategy and approach.

Featured Speaker:

  • Gabe Koch, Partner, AlixPartners

The office of finance is facing disruptive forces that will require leaders to reimagine and redesign their organizations. AI and digital capabilities are at the heart of this disruption. In the office of finance, these forces will change the rhythm and execution of work.

  • Traditional business processes and cycle times will be reduced to support real-time decision making as organizations move more quickly towards a “no-close” operating model.
  • The value of data and the seamless connectivity of people, process and technology will become even greater competitive that enables work to become automated and insights more easily surfaced.
  • Human capital will either be redeployed, replaced, or required to retool and develop broader skill sets that stretch beyond the understanding of debits and credits to remain relevant.

With so much disruption on the horizon, largely driven by a powerful wave of technology that is already in motion, its critical for CFOs and other leaders to prepare their organizations for change, set a vision for the future and mobilize their teams to architect a more connected, faster paced, technology driven finance organization that can thrive.

Featured Speaker:

  • James O’Leary, Vice President of Customer Success, Anaplan

2:30 – 2:45 pm ET

Networking Break

2:45 – 3:30 pm ET

The CFO as People Strategist

Elis Costa, Chief Financial Officer, Mars Wrigley

Susan Diamond, Chief Financial Officer, Humana

Susan Lynch, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, V2X

Corporate culture issues have rarely been the domain of CFOs, who have traditionally focused on the concrete, like revenue forecasts, inventories, and other hard data. But as companies are being squeezed by talent shortfalls at all levels, it is no longer just an HR or managerial problem – the lack of skilled employees is costing major dollars not only in turnover and hiring costs but in lost productivity and disruptions to projects essential to growth. 

Culture lies at the heart of the people conversation. CFOs can directly impact the talent and culture conversation in other ways beyond salary discussions, such as investing in employee-focused initiatives that lead to better results and engagement, creating feedback loops to assess employees’ needs and adjust reward plans accordingly, and helping the company stay focused on operational excellence. We’ll sit down with CFOs of some of Fortune’s “Top Places to Work” to share their lessons learned and advice to establish a strong culture that will help you recruit and retain your top talent. 

3:30 – 4:15 pm ET

Lessons in Fraud – What the Largest Scandal in History Can Teach Us Today

David Kotz, former Inspector General, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission  

When the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) finally amassed enough evidence to end his run, Bernie Madoff had managed to bilk 4,800 clients out of $64.8 billion. David Kotz, the former Inspector General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), was tasked with conducting the landmark investigation into why the SEC failed to see any of this. In this exclusive interview, Kotz will provide an introspective look at the investigation, as well as the scores of other high profile and complex investigations he conducted as IG, including the collapse of Bear Stearns and the financial crisis. Fifteen years later, the takeaways are still relevant. Kotz will share the four lessons he learned conducting internal investigations and how you can apply them in your own financial role. The lessons include avoiding a lack of aggressive oversight, lack of skills and competence, lack of accountability and greater than achievable mandates. 

4:15 – 4:30 pm ET

Networking Break

4:30 – 4:45 pm ET

Inaugural CFO Leadership Awards Presentation

StrategicCFO360’s CFO Leadership Awards will honor the courage and influence required to navigate through the most disruptive conditions since the Great Depression. Pandemics, supply chain bottlenecks, runaway inflation, banking crises, cyber breaches and talent shortages have presented more challenges than most executives face in a lifetime. 

These inaugural awards will pay tribute to those elite leaders who make it possible for companies to operate and thrive whatever the conditions, internally or externally. What makes the awards particularly unique is who chooses the honorees – not editors or analysts or service providers but rather a selection committee comprised of peer CFOs who know firsthand what it takes to lead in today’s business environment.

Award Categories:

  • Strategic Leader
  • Team Leader
  • Digital Visionary

4:45 - 5:30 pm ET

What It Takes to Be a Modern CFO

Leeny Oberg, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President, Marriott International

Aradhana Sarin, Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer, AstraZeneca

Gary Millerchip, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, The Kroger Co.

Moderated by: Dan Bigman, Editor and Chief Content Officer, Chief Executive Group; Simon Freakley, Chief Executive Officer, AlixPartners

These days, it is not only finance that preoccupies CFOs. The strategic CFO engages in a host of issues that are essential to the future and well-being of their firms, as our award categories exemplify.We’ll sit down to unpack some of the key lessons from this year’s CFO Leadership Award honorees to help you more confidently lead your own organizations to grow no matter the circumstances.

5:30 – 6:30 pm ET

Reception & Celebration of CFO Leadership Award Honorees