Executive vice president and chief financial officer
100 Coombs St., Napa 94559, 707-252-1622, lixit.com
Professional background: Lixit since 2003, Financial Analyst at Stamper Capital prior
Education: MBA, Sonoma State, B.A., UC Santa Cruz
Comment about Laurie Corona: “Our CFO shows us that a women can have it all. Laurie has a successful marriage, two beautiful children, a family business, a master’s degree, and has worked at Lixit for 10 years. Laurie is only 31 years old!” —Linda Parks, CEO, Lixit Corp.
Questions for Ms. Corona:
What do you see as the essential role of a financial leader in the current environment?
To relay financial information to other leaders in the organization so that sound business decisions can be made.
What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in your industry?
A shift from small, local retailers to national chains that resulted in a reduction in distributors as store chains went direct to manufacturers.
Tell us about the particular challenges and opportunities your organization has met in the recent past?
A large contraction in sales as the result of mergers and acquisitions by our competitors caused us to make a rapid change in our business model. Because we survived that and learned how to adapt from that experience, we were prepared for the economic downturn in 2008 and felt little effect from it.
What advice would you give to young emerging financial leaders?
Learn about the other functions within the company. Having a full understanding of the company and the industry you work in allows you to make better financial decisions.
What’s the best advice for weathering today’s economic environment?
Be open to change. The companies that can adapt quickly to the changing environment will survive these hard times the best.
How do you think your business will change in the next five years?
We are currently in a growth mode. I expect much of the business will stabilize and we will focus more on increasing efficiencies versus new sales.
What is a decision you wish you hadn’t made? What did you learn from it?
Converting our new equine division to our accounting software within the first year of acquisition. It was too much at the same time. I would have done better to focus my time on learning the business before making the change.
What is your most memorable business experience?
Attending the Tuck School of Business Executive training sponsored by WBENC. It was amazing learning from such great professors and meeting so many female business leaders.
What is your greatest business success?
Working my way up to become CFO at Lixit. I began as office manager not long after college and worked in multiple positions before being promoted to CFO.
What was your toughest business decision?
Laying off a long time employee that the company had outgrown. I am always sad when we can’t find a good place for someone.
What would your friends be surprised to find out about you?
When I was a kid I wanted to be a veterinarian.
Most admired businessperson outside the company: My father, Pete Smith
Current reading: Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
Most want to meet: Angelina Jolie
Stress relievers: Exercise — The gym keeps me sane!
Favorite activities outside work: Playing with my kids, working out, reading, snowboarding, visiting with friends, cooking.
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