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, Premier Claims' CFO Melissa Hurrington shares how she works best when the airwaves are filled, outlines all the right questions to ask for effective meetings, and how social media transparency elevates her leadership.
If you would like to view Hurrinton's TV appearance with CFO earlier this year, click here.
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A public adjusting firm that advocates on behalf of policyholders to hold their insurance carrier accountable to properly indemnify their mutual client.
Size: 60-70 employees
- Growth: YTD revenue currently up 128% compared to prior year.
Weekday wake-up time and the first thing I like to do: I wake up naturally at 6 a.m. every day. The first thing I do is check my phone. I know! I know! I just can't resist jumping right in.
Coffee, tea, or other morning beverage choice: Coffee is my love language — Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew, fully leaded.
Workday start time: 6:01 a.m. But officially, I am in the office and logged in by 7:45 a.m. most days.
How I usually spend the first hour of my day: Meetings — I love a good morning meeting. Touch base, tackle any issues while I am most creative, set the tone for the day/week/etc.
I hate afternoon meetings.
The time I send out my first email: 6:02 a.m. Although, I try to be good about using the "schedule send" feature so I don't bug anyone else until a more reasonable time.
Best advice for writing an effective email: Ha! I should not be giving advice here. But, I would say before you even begin to type, ask yourself the following:
- Are all the necessary parties on this email?
- Are ONLY the necessary parties on this email?
- Will this be better received in an actual conversation?
The first dashboard I review: Weekly Goals. We have weekly goals for every department and speedometers showing progress toward them. It is the easiest place to check the current pulse of the company.
How I structure my morning meetings: I always ask everyone to bring me their lists of what is needed and that is where we start:
- What decisions do you need from me?
- What problems do you need solved?
- What roadblocks need to be removed?
- What is falling off track and needs to be addressed?
Then I always ask:
- What do you need differently from me?
- What do you need more or less of?
Finally, we wrap up every meeting by reviewing the action items so everyone is perfectly clear on who is responsible for what. If there are no action items, it's a solid indicator the meeting was not needed or was not effective.
Mid-morning snack of choice: None — I barely remember to eat lunch.
Inspiration and Leadership
Favorite quote or mantra: Oooooo quotes are my JAM so to choose just one is hard for me. If I had to choose it would be: "Be 1% Better." Personally and professionally show up every day 1% better than you were yesterday. One percent is attainable and over time small changes have really big impacts.
Favorite leadership lesson: "Do it scared."
As someone who struggles with imposter syndrome, which can sometimes be debilitating, the biggest lesson I have learned is to stop waiting to feel perfectly prepared (because spoiler alert.... that moment never comes) and instead, just do it scared!
Bonus points if you can gather the courage to tell other people you did it scared because you'd be surprised how often you will hear, "I was scared too!"
What is your secret to your social media presence? For me, LinkedIn kind of became this (very public) diary. When my career landed me in the C-suite, I noticed all of a sudden people expected a much more REFINED Melissa. And I was practically screaming:
I don't know all the answers ... I make just as many mistakes as before my job title changed ... I am equally SCARED.
So I started talking about those things very transparently. The feedback I've received has been overwhelming, and has very much made me feel less "alone." It's almost therapeutic for me to just say what's on my mind and post it.
As far as my team goes — I would shout out the incredible work they do from the mountain tops if I could, so I will gleefully do it on LinkedIn every opportunity I get.
Which of your LinkedIn posts are most meaningful to you?
And my non-hurricane post HERE.
Something important to know about me that you wouldn’t know from my business bio: I don't know about "important," but music is a big part of my life. More specifically 90s and early-2000s hip hop and R&B, although, I love all genres and decades of music.
Before my feet hit the ground in the morning, I am scrolling through Amazon Music to decide the flavor of the day. I listen all day. Getting ready. In the car. In my office. And if it were up to me, my TV would never get turned on. TI, Biggie, Bone Thugs, Usher, Mary J. Blige.... the gang's all here.
What was the last job you did at your company that fell outside your traditional scope of work: Handling the renovation of our new office building. I found myself making decisions on carpets, ceiling tile patterns, and furniture.
I even picked out what plants go in the planters, even though I have the opposite of a green thumb.
Can you share a way in which you have learned to manage work-induced stress:
- Control the controllables. Stop trying to control things that are far outside of your control. No sense in getting stressed about the economy. You can't control that. What you can control is your game plan in response to economic conditions. So many people spend so much time stressing about things they can never change. What a waste of energy.
- Fresh air. Walk away. You can achieve almost nothing when you are frustrated. Get some fresh air and some steps.
- Gratitude. Even if my day is s*** (can I say that?), there is still so much to be grateful for.
Favorite number: 11. I wish I could tell you why.
Most noteworthy items in my workspace: Photos of my family, because they are the reason I do what I do.
Favorite app on my phone that is not related to business: Amazon Music — because music is life.
When do you take time for learning/reading: All day every day. I think every interaction is an opportunity to learn. But I read quick bite-sized blogs, articles, and Linkedin posts mostly in the morning. I read books after my kids go to bed, or at their sports practices. I love a good webinar anytime my schedule allows.