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The honorees at the recent Nonprofit CFO Awards luncheon, last week in Washington, stress the importance of an organization’s mission in the event’s featured panel discussion.
Feted this year was 2014 Nonprofit CFO of the Year Stewart Uretsky, CFO, Brookings; CFO Rising Star Sara Bannon, CPA, COO, American Society of International Law; and CFO Transformational Leaders James Lum, CFO, Guidestar, and Sam DiCarlo, finance SVP, Food Marketing Institute.
Kicking off the day was keynote speaker Mark Shriver, SVP at Save the Children. Shriver spoke of the lessons taught to him by his illustrious father, statesman Sargent Shriver, who created the Peace Corps among other notable feats. Sargent Shriver taught his children three core values: faith, hope and love. Mark Shriver related how these can apply to nonprofits, such as “pray to do God’s will.” For an example of hope, he noted how his father helped to start Head Start, the federal program aimed at stabilizing low-income families.
He urged the audience to “celebrate the work that you’re doing today, because it brings hope to all.”
Local DC news anchor Autria Godfrey moderated the panel of award winners. She asked what the difference is between working at a for-profit venture compared with a nonprofit.
One difference, Urtetsky noted, was working with a mission. “You have to put value on fulfilling that mission,” he said. Uretsky previously worked at Goldman Sachs.
Bannon, who started her career at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, built on that notion. “I want my blood, sweat and tears to mean something.”
Godfrey asked the winners how they cultivated relationships with CEOs. Lum advised the audience of mostly financial professionals to create an atmosphere of “communication, respect and trust. You can disagree today, but, overall, it’s the goal to keep in mind.”
On developing a budget, DiCarlo advised that “sometimes it’s not about the money,” and that a program should be judged on its link to the organization’s strategic plan.