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Take a Chance on Yourself

Risk and success in finance careers.
Scott Leibs, CFO Magazine
May 15, 2012

Success in the working world often hinges on knowing when it's time to move on. You've worked hard for a given company, learned a lot, made many contributions — but the thrill is gone, and you want to advance in your career. So you take a chance on a new opportunity, trusting that the skills that got you this far will propel you to even greater heights at your next position.

Such moves were successfully made by the CFOs featured in this month's cover story on women in finance, "Risk Takers, Career Makers." Longtime senior editor Alix Stuart, who herself recently embarked on a freelance career, profiles three women who have risen to the top in corporate finance, to find out what challenges they faced and what advice they have for others (of any gender) who hope to become CFOs. Their journeys share some interesting similarities, notably the value of staying with one company long enough to become a very senior executive, yet being willing to leave the security of such situations behind when an enticing opportunity presents itself.

Risk of a different sort often presents itself to CFOs in the form of large projects that consume substantial resources with no guarantee of a suitable payoff. Finance chiefs often direct such efforts, and in "Project Runaway" we offer some solid advice for how to make sure projects of any kind deliver on their promise.

Elsewhere in this issue we profile two finance chiefs who have very interesting stories to tell. In "How Crocs Regained Its Footing" CFO Jeff Lasher describes how the footwear company pulled back from the brink of disaster and raced by the $1 billion revenue mark. And in "Growing Together" Ocean Spray CFO Richard Lees explains how finance works at a growers' cooperative (sneak peek: all CFOs worry about return on investment, but Lees also has to worry about "return per barrel").

On the technology beat, we offer a look at the nascent "bring your own device" movement, in which companies don't supply workers with laptops or cell phones, but instead encourage employees to mix business with pleasure when using their personal tech tools. It saves money, but at what cost? See "Left to Their Own Devices."




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