Get to know Nelson’s Joe Prusko, winner of a North Bay Business Journal CFO award.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE ESSENTIAL ROLE OF A FINANCIAL LEADER IN THE CURRENT ENVIRONMENT?
As a financial leader in today’s current environment it is essential to have the following skill sets:
•A drive for results
•A forward thinking perspective
•The ability to think strategically, company wide
•Strong accounting and finance technical knowledge
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHANGES YOU’VE SEEN IN YOUR INDUSTRY?
The CFO role has moved beyond number crunching to strategic problem solving. In addition to having traditionally strong accounting and finance technical knowledge, it’s important for CFOs to be well-versed in strategic planning, leadership, and people management.
TELL US ABOUT THE PARTICULAR CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES YOUR ORGANIZATION HAS MET IN THE RECENT PAST.
Leadership restructuring recently brought in a new CEO and CFO to the organization. While executive team transitions can bring challenges, they also bring the opportunity to optimize processes and resources and benefit from the experience and ideas of new additions. I’m proud to have joined the Nelson team at a time when the workplace landscape is rapidly changing, and Nelson is expanding our service offerings to support and help drive that transition.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG EMERGING FINANCIAL LEADERS?
It is so important to get as much experience as you can from a variety of organizations and get involved in professional networking groups. While progressing in your career by changing industries used to be a liability, it is now an asset. Companies need financial leaders who have the breadth of experience to troubleshoot in a variety of scenarios, and apply innovative solutions from other industries in new ways. Networking is still the top way to meet those in your field who can help you find new opportunities and learn from others’ successes and mistakes.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE FOR WEATHERING TODAY’S ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT?
Maintain a lean organization and stay in tune with the market forces in your industry. Agile management is not just for the tech world; it’s a concept that will be important for companies in rapidly-changing environments under any economic conditions.
HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR BUSINESS WILL CHANGE IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?
Continuous evolution of technological improvements will help us target and reach clients and candidates. Staffing and recruiting is very traditionally a relationship-building business. Relationships are still paramount, but technology is enabling those relationships and communication in new and innovative ways.
WHAT IS A DECISION YOU WISH YOU HADN’T MADE? WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM IT?
I have no regrets; however,I have pursued opportunities that did not come to fruition. At the time, I was very disappointed. But looking back, had they materialized, I would have deeply regretted them. The lesson is: Thank God for unanswered prayers!
WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE BUSINESS EXPERIENCE?
Sourcing an acquisition target in Mexico City and completing that acquisition successfully.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST BUSINESS SUCCESS?
Growing our Latin American businesses from $50 million in sales to $200 million over the course of 5 years.
WHAT WAS YOUR TOUGHEST BUSINESS DECISION?
Making the business decision to shut down an East Coast support center to reduce expenses.
Chief financial officer
Gary D. Nelson Associates, Inc.
19080 Lomita Ave., Sonoma, CA 95476
Professional background: Finance and accounting positions at Arthur Andersen &Co., Waldenbooks, Gymboree and Accountants Inc.
Education: B.S., Pennsylvania State University; MBA, Southern Methodist University