The 6 a.m. CFO: How Pine Labs’ CFO Marc Mathenz Starts His Day

Mathenz shares how he gets involved in tasks outside of the traditional finance role and how he manages work-induced stress.
The 6 a.m. CFO: How Pine Labs’ CFO Marc Mathenz Starts His Day

Welcome to The 6 a.m. CFO, where finance chiefs share how they jump-start their days and engage with the tasks that are in front of them.

Today, Pine Labs’ Marc Mathenz shares how he gets involved in anything in the company that he feels adds value — even if it’s outside of a traditional finance role — and how he reduces stress by not being too emotional about work-related issues.

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Pine Labs

  • A financial technology company that empowers millions of small businesses, large enterprises, and consumers with fintech products and solutions. 

  • Founded: 1998 

  • Size: 3500+ employees

  • Growth: 57% YoY this fiscal year

Morning Routine

Weekday wake-up time and the first thing I like to do: I wake up at sharp 7 a.m. on weekdays. Twice a week, I make it a point to go to the gym first thing in the morning. The other three days, I will check how the markets finished the night before (mainly U.S.) and then catch up on emails.

Having a fixed schedule to start the weekdays helps me get into the swing of things easily. 

Coffee, tea, or other morning beverage choice: Nespresso coffee capsules when working from home, otherwise coffee from our super-duper coffee machine in the office. Getting coffee in my system to start the day is very essential.

Workday start time: In the mornings I choose not to work out, my workday starts well before the official start time.

On other days, I finish my workout and start work by 9 a.m.

How I usually spend the first hour of my day: Catch up on emails from the day prior and create a list of to-dos for the day.

It helps to spend the first hour of the day organizing all my tasks so that they don’t pile up towards the end. Not to mention, being organized is a great way to avoid stress. 

Time I send out my first email: Between 7:30 – 8 a.m. on days I do not go to the gym. The other days, I start replying to emails as soon as I sit at the desk, after a refreshing workout. 

Best advice for writing an effective email: Keep it short and simple with clear messages and action items. 

First dashboard I review: The key dashboards I review are our DCP deployments, our various transaction volumes — as well as volumes on special programs — and AR status. This helps me get a quick daily morning update so that I can monitor progress or identify any issues in real time. 

How I structure my morning meetings: Throughout the week, I have various team and one-on-one meetings at regular times in my weekly schedule as well as meetings with the business.

During our monthly business review cycles, the days will be filled with business review meetings with the various business divisions and business leaders. 

Mid-morning snack of choice: I have been on a keto and intermittent fasting diet for a while now. That means I do not eat anything all day until the evening when I have dinner with my family.

So, that morning coffee does me much good.  

Leadership and Inspiration

Favorite quote or mantra: Hire people who are better than yourself.

Favorite leadership lesson: A leader’s main job is to bring out the best in his/her team. Their job is to guide, nurture, and make them reach their utmost potential. 

Something important to know about me that you wouldn’t know from my business bio: I am the only one in my immediate family (wife and kids) who does not have a Singaporean passport. 

What was the last job you did at your company that fell outside your traditional scope of work: As a results-orientated CFO, I get involved in many things that some might consider outside of the “traditional finance” role.

If it is important and creates value, and I think I can add something, I will try to get involved.

Can you share one way in which you have learned to manage work-induced stress: My hobbies and family help me, but I also learned a long time ago to not be too emotional about work-related issues.

Taking a breather and “sleeping over it” can also be quite a powerful tool to manage work-induced stress.

Favorite number: Honestly, I’ve never thought about it really. I guess I could point to 18 since it is my birth date. 

Most noteworthy items in my workspace: I need a big computer screen at my age. The rest are all pretty standard items. 

Do you have a pet sitting in your office right now: Unfortunately, no.

Fun fact: I did have three lop-eared rabbits a while ago and they were the size of a dog.

Favorite app on my phone that is not related to business: I have multiple news apps on my phone. Since there’s so much happening in the world, I like to know as much as I can.

Other than that, I like to stay up to speed on the stock markets, so there are a lot of market-related apps on my phone, too. 

When do you take time for learning/reading: I feel reading in the morning is a great way to kickstart the day during the weekends. Reading and learning new things is a habit ingrained in me and I do it without fail during my free time.