Julie Lafranchi of Santa Rosa’s YWCA Sonoma County wins one of North Bay Business Journal’s 2017 North Bay CFO Awards.
Professional background: 10 years nonprofit accounting experience, 10 years for profit accounting
What do you see as the essential role of a financial leader in the current environment?
Maintaining the integrity of the finances while ensuring the organization’s sustainability is the chief financial officer’s vital role. This includes strong annual budgeting, anticipating future risks and opportunities and providing concise forecasting used in making strategic decisions.
What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in your industry?
There has been a transformation in the nonprofit sector with the use of technology.
Technology has created new pathways for supporters to engage with their favorite charities as well as changed the way nonprofit organizations fund raise, market and manage their information
Tell us about the particular challenges and opportunities your organization has met in the recent past.
Recognizing the increased need for YWCA’s services in Sonoma County inspires us to deepen current relationships and seek new alliances for funding and support. However, we continue to look for opportunities to further our mission and provide services to those in need in Sonoma County.
What advice would you give to young emerging financial leaders?
Create a solid financial infrastructure for reporting and transparency of operations. Transparency is an essential strategy both in the for profit and the non profit sector.
What’s the best advice for weathering today’s economic environment?
As CFO of a nonprofit, we must stay informed of the issues that impact funding to our agency while continuing to remain in compliance with existing funders.
How do you think your business will change in the next five years?
As a nonprofit organization competing for funding locally as well as nationally, YWCA Sonoma County will seek to establish sustainable revenue sources.
What is your most memorable business experience?
Successfully completing the commercial real estate acquisition of our current administrative office location.
What is your greatest business success?
Reentering and succeeding in the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom for many years has been a reflection of my success in business.
What was your toughest business decision?
Every fiscal year’s budgeting process brings numerous opportunities to make decisions which impact the health and sustainability of YWCA. It is important to understand that cutting back may be the best choice for the future health of the organization
Is there anything we may have missed that you would like to add?
Being recognized with this award is truly an honor. I am fortunate to support an organization whose mission is vital to the health and safety of families in our community.
Chief financial officer
YWCA Sonoma County
811 Third St., Santa Rosa 95404