In an ever-changing world, successful CFOs and finance leaders have shifted their thinking and approach to adapt and thrive. This elite group of finance professionals embodies the next generation of financial pioneers, visionaries, and disruptors.
Aqsa Zubair is one of the world’s first and youngest Blockchain regulators - on the leading edge of creating regulatory frameworks, technical solutions, and thought leadership for FinTech and Blockchain regulation globally. As a FinTech Specialist at the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA), Aqsa is responsible for the licensing and authorization of digital asset businesses in Bermuda and operates as a lead regulatory supervisor for digital asset business licensed entities. She delves heavily into internal innovation transformation projects to transform processes, build innovative products/solutions, and embed innovation within the organization.
Aqsa works with global consortiums like the Global Financial Innovation Network, comprising of 60+ regulatory organizations worldwide, on cross-border solutions testing, regulatory sandbox initiatives, thought leadership and RegTech. Previously, Aqsa built FinTech and Blockchain strategies and products. She worked with financial services institutions, start-ups, and the public sector to enable new lines of business, innovate existing processes, and understand how emerging technologies could enable access to financial services for underserved populations. Financial inclusion is a topic close to her heart and something she’s spoken about at conferences worldwide.
Last year, Aqsa co-founded Canada’s first Cryptocurrency un-conference called Cryptocamp, administering numerous FinTech and Blockchain learning sessions to hundreds of executives, students, and entrepreneurs. Her goal is to greater enable Blockchain and financial literacy in her community and discuss issues hindering the wide adoption of FinTech. Aqsa’s passion and progress have earned her a seat at the delegation of Blockchain for Impact at the United Nations Headquarters for discussions on using technology to support the UN’s sustainable development goals. She is currently writing a book for businesswomen across Canada, about how to navigate the corporate world as a millennial in a new industry.
With a background in auditing and consulting, Tom knows the importance of communication for finance professionals. It’s this ability to openly communicate and tell a story, that has led Tom to his role as CFO at Cytora, a startup that works to transform underwriting for commercial insurance.
With Cytora, Tom is on the front line securing VC funding. He has helped to raise nearly US$40m in Series A and Series B funding rounds and has worked with insurers to guarantee they are able to underwrite more accurately, reduce frictional costs, and achieve profitable growth. Tom also works to ensure all contractual obligations are met, and customers are satisfied.
Prior to Cytora, Tom was Group Financial Controller of Yieldify, where he helped raise US$11.5m in Series A funding and assisted in growing the company from 16 to 180 employees in just 2.5 years. It’s Tom’s attention to storytelling that makes him a unique member of the Finance Futurists – in fact, he is working on a fantasy fiction novel in his (limited) spare time!
Lewis has used the combination of analytics and calculated risks to navigate his career, from apprentice in a small accountancy firm, to CFO at Osprey Group, a logistics provider – all while leading weekend challenge events for the Scouts.
Lewis is not afraid to take a chance. After observing operations as a young apprentice, he saw the importance of being more than a number cruncher – of helping to drive change and touch all areas of the business. In five short years, Lewis rose the ranks at Osprey Group from a management accountant, to now serving as CFO where he strategically oversees operations, planning, and risk management. As a member of the Osprey Group Board, Lewis is actively involved in formulating Osprey’s future direction and supporting tactical initiatives. He is currently implementing the adoption of EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) across the group to help the business better align with its vision of being a leader in delivering critical infrastructure through solving complex land and sea logistics challenges.
Prior to his tenure at Osprey Group, Lewis worked for 6 years at Griffith Clarke, where he started as an apprentice firstly becoming a member of the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) and then qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).
Magdalena moved to Australia as a young professional from Poland, and met her destiny in a coffee shop when a female client took a chance on her, thus launching her career in finance. The rest, they might say, is history – but Magdalena is far from done telling her story.
With more than 15 years of financial management experience and expertise, Magdalena is widely recognized for her thought leadership and strategic business counsel. In her tenure at Holman Webb Lawyers, she’s transformed the finance function into one that not only serves an advisory role to the business but also builds, motivates, and manages high-performing teams.
Magdalena’s strategic and leadership skills have greatly contributed to her success to-date and, in November of 2017, she was awarded CFO of the Year – Runner-Up in the 2017 Executive of the Year awards.
Prior to her tenure at Holman Webb Lawyers, Magdalena served as Group Financial Controller of TP3, a professional training platform.
Now, she works to give back and leverage her story to help other female professionals gain visibility and rise through the ranks themselves.
When Nunzio graduated in the ‘90s, Australia had entered a recession. With a sparse job market, he took a volunteer position with a finance broker and never looked back. His network of mentors and willingness to volunteer and work his way up helped Nunzio to pave a more unconventional path to success.
With more than 25 years of experience, Nunzio founded his own business, Giuntabell Pty Ltd, in 2009. He serves as Managing Partner and helps not-for-profit organizations build successful business models. He focuses on providing them with financial, risk management, and strategic support to achieve this success.
Nunzio has a professional track record of implementing robust financial reporting systems, building effective risk management frameworks, facilitating budgeting systems and builds, and stimulating strategic thinking to assist the C-suite and Boards in making well-informed decisions.
Nunzio is also a member of multiple not-for-profit groups across Australia, is CPA certified, and has degrees in economics and accounting from La Trobe University. His focus on building a backbone for organizations to help drive social good is proof that finance as a profession is moving beyond commercial benefit.
Tiffini is not new to change. More than two decades ago, she was handling cash for a music merchandiser, and today she’s CFO at one of the industry’s leading full-service merchandising companies. From the beginning she learned firsthand that starting from scratch and seeking out people to learn from can result in a seat at the C-level table.
Now, serving as CFO and Partner with Forward Merch, Tiffini puts her hands-on experience to use driving advancements across digital and merchandising efforts for an industry that exists on the frontlines of disruption.
Tiffini has worked to increase and optimize budgets while incorporating key technologies to help workflows, payment processes, and analytical capabilities within Forward Merch. She works closely with the marketing team as well to ensure all functions are cross-company and customers receive the most well-rounded support possible.
Today, she balances sourcing new revenue streams for her business, with responding to ever-changing employee needs. Tiffini understands that in today’s climate, finance professionals are more than number crunchers.
Finance runs in the family for Hemant. His father and several of his cousins are finance professionals, all of whom influenced his 25+ year career in the industry. Combined with his aptitude in mathematics and an early exposure to the capital market, Hemant was born to be a financial leader.
This background and experience led him to his current role as CFO at SOL-Millennium Medical, a global medical device company where he also serves as a member of the Board of Directors.
Hemant has a demonstrated track record in partnering with Board and C-Suite leadership to achieve critical strategic and tactical business objectives. This is evidenced in his proven ability to surpass expectations in demanding Fortune 250 corporate environments such as Baxter, American Express and General Motors, as well as high-growth smaller organizations.
With the impressive ability to influence and unite teams from various cultures to deliver outstanding results, Hemant embodies an empathetic and strategic finance leader. Most of all, as CFO, Hemant enjoys being the right-hand to CEOs and helping steer businesses forward.
The Experienced Realist
Michel Balsan, Chief Financial & Administrative Officer, Eiffel Tower Operating Company
Michel Balsan, Chief Financial & Administrative Officer, Eiffel Tower Operating Company
With more than forty years in operations, HR, information systems and finance, Michel’s unique background in human resources and training as an engineer helps him to excel within a key area of business today: change management. Each time he took a new role in his career, Michel was attracted by the potential to create new jobs, to innovate, and find unordinary solutions to seemingly ordinary problems.
Today, with 13 years at the Eiffel Tower Operating Company under his belt, Michel’s role spans HR, operations and finance. He has managed cash flow, budgeting, and overarching financial needs in order to increase revenue, has led rebuild projects of information systems, and much more.
Prior to the Eiffel Tower Operating Company, Michel served as Human Resources VP at SNCM and at Brittany Ferries, international and regional maritime companies, and has occupied several positions at Air France, including recruitment officer, head of social management control, and director of planning for flight crews.
Michel’s approach is based on mathematical models combined with innovative simulations. In the face of change and cash flow disruptions, Michel leads modernization of the finance function while keeping a sharp eye on opportunities for creative adaptability.
Jeffery’s interest in finance started at the age of nine while working at his family’s restaurant. Fascinated by how money influences decisions, he knew he was destined for a career in numbers. Though he “fell backwards” into the profession after spending time as a paramedic in New Orleans, he is no stranger to real-world experience.
Jeffery joined Ballard Brands, a diversified hospitality business, in 2006 as Director of Finance. Throughout his tenure and promotion to CFO, his experience solving problems in real-time has proven to be a critical attribute for the growing company. Jeffery leads a team responsible for all finance, accounting, tax compliance, treasury, and risk management for 40 affiliated businesses. Jeffery and his team created and implemented new standard policies and procedures that built upon current and future ERP technologies. His ability to visualize processes in action is truly unique.
Jeffery’s vision of accounting and finance automation began early during the "manual entry" days. His theoretical framework hinged on the goal of reducing accounting errors by minimizing human interaction. Doing more with limited resources requires a focused mindset. Recently, Jeffery began exploring the use of distributive ledger, also known as blockchain, which he sees as a game changer for the future of ERP.
Over the past 15 years, Jeffery has worked to improve fiscal transparency for his company’s franchise community by encouraging solution-based feedback. He feels no problem should be presented absent of a potential solution. Jeffery continues to carve out creative avenues to support efficiency, growth, and financial accounting integrity with Ballard Brands.
François is no stranger to technological innovation. Coming from Michelin, Accor, and DoubleClick (a Google company), he has seen firsthand the impact technology can have on productivity, performance, and forecasting.
As the Finance Director of Diam Bouchage, which designs, produces, and markets technological cork stoppers for wines and other spirits, Francois strongly believes finance should service every company’s overall performance and its employees.
Francois has reworked the reporting system, supervised a €30 million investment in a new factory, and controls Diam Bouchage’s financial operations in its Spanish, Italian, Chilean, and American markets. With his team, he also defined and executed a plan for digital transformation of the finance function to better share financial data and support Diam’s international growth strategy.
Prior to his tenure at Diam, Francois was the Administrative and Financial Director at OneDirect. Francois has a Master of Management Science from EM Lyon Business School and currently serves as President of the Prix Alfred Sauvy, an awarding association which valorizes local entrepreneurs’ initiatives.
François’ integrated background marrying technology and operations position him to drive finance forward with an open-minded, innovative approach.
"The number one soft skill for finance leaders is communication, and open communication at that."
“Finance professionals need to be really good listeners and watchers. They also need to be analytical."
Lewis Dangerfield CFO, Osprey Group
"I am up day and night thinking about ways to streamline processes and make things more efficient."