- Executive Toolbox
- Career Center
- About Us
Four finance professionals were honored last week at the 2013 CFO of the Year Awards Luncheon at the Capital Hilton in Washington, recognizing financial excellence and nonprofit leadership.
The honorees included the 2013 Nonprofit CFO of the Year Marvin Irby, National Restaurant Association chief administrative and financial officer; Transformational Leader, National Organization - Samantha Barbee, CFO, International Youth Foundation; Transformational Leader, State Organization - Forrest M. Cason, CFO, Mental Health Center of Denver; and CFO Rising Star - John P. Lozito, finance director, Academy of Management.
The awards were established to honor CFOs' importance to their organizations' stability, and also because CFOs are often underestimated and rarely esteemed, more so perhaps at nonprofits. Irby might be able to vouch for this better than anyone else. He joined NRA after decades in the corporate world, having served as CFO for the $700 million construction company Shawmut Design & Construction, preceded by more than 14 years at PepsiCo and Disney World.
“Working as a CFO for a nonprofit is totally different,” he said. “In the corporate world, what matters are earnings per share. In the nonprofit world, however, it’s all about the mission. Everything is done within the context of what the nonprofit aims to do, and is there to do. There is therefore an added layer to being a CFO for a nonprofit that the corporate folks don’t need to worry about.”
Lozito agreed. Like Irby, Lozito spent years working for PepsiCo, and has ample corporate experience to contrast to his role in a nonprofit.
“In a Fortune 100 company, you can do what you want because you’re flush with cash. That’s not the case at a nonprofit, where you have to be thoughtful and pragmatic about your money,” he said.
They both reject the notion that heads of finance for the wealthiest companies are automatically qualified to run a nonprofit.
“Before coming to the NRA, I had no idea how to think about nonprofits,” Irby said. “They brought a level of complexity near equal to what I experienced before [at Pepsi and Disney],” suggesting that nonprofit CFOs are totally different creatures than their corporate counterparts.