Leveraging Leadership

episode artwork

Emily Sander

01 April 2024

50m 3s

Behind the Balance Sheets: Inside the CFO Role w/ Rory Liebhart



In this episode, Emily sits down with her former CFO (and one of her all time favorite people), Rory Liebhart!

They explore the multifaceted role of the Chief Financial Officer (CF) in today’s business landscape.

●     Rory’s journey from selling t-shirts on a doc to a multi-time CFO, President and Director of PE-backed companies

●     Collaborating with other executives to drive organizational success (while not avoiding productive tension)

●     Navigating financial challenges including budgeting, forecasting, and managing cash flow

●     Strategic decision making - balancing financial considerations with broader business objectives

●     Adapting to change - how the CFO role has evolved over time

●     Providing context and teaching - the importance of providing rationale for decisions

●     Internal and external focus - a strong CFO operates both internally and externally (including engagement with investors board members)

Rory Liebhart on LinkedIn

Rory Liebhart is an accomplished Chief Financial Officer and private investor known for his exceptional ability to navigate the complexities of executive finance. With a diverse background that includes transforming from a streetwear entrepreneur to a financial maestro, Rory brings a wealth of experience in leading companies through strategic financial planning and analysis. His career, mentored by industry leaders like Ed Barton, has spanned private equity settings and public companies, emphasizing the importance of clear communication and trust in financial leadership. Rory's insights offer invaluable guidance for aspiring business leaders seeking to enhance their acumen.

– – – – –


01:05 Rory's Journey to Leadership

02:31 The Transition from Selling T-Shirts to CFO

04:55 The Role of a CFO

05:14 The Path to Becoming a CFO

08:45 The Importance of Teamwork in Leadership Roles

13:03 The Role of a CFO in a Business

16:19 The Importance of Complementarity in Leadership Roles

19:33 Interviewing for a CFO Role

23:08 The Importance of Trust and Open Conversations in a Team

25:01 Balancing the CFO Role: Being the 'Dr. No' and the Team Player

27:35 The Importance of Providing Context and Understanding Perspectives

30:48 Key Qualities of a Good CFO: Context, Understanding, Teaching, and Hiring

31:40 The Role of a CFO in Internal and External Communication

41:50 The CFO's Role in a Private Equity Backed Company

45:59 The Importance of Complementary Skill Sets in an Executive Team

48:27 Final Thoughts

– – – – –

Emily Sander is a C-suite executive turned leadership coach. Her corporate career spanned Fortune 500 companies and scrappy start-ups. She is an ICF-certified leadership coach and the author of two books, An Insider’s Perspective on the Chief of Staff and Hacking Executive Leadership. Emily works with early to senior executives to step into effective leadership with one-on-one coaching. Go here to read her story from seasoned executive to knowledgeable coach.

Get your free Chief of Staff Skills Assessment Checklist here.

Download your free Chief of Staff Toolkit here.

To learn more about Emily and Next Level Coaching, click here.

Follow Emily on LinkedIn | YouTube

Copyright © Leveraging Leadership. All rights reserved.

Powered by