|Members of the Los Angeles finance community gathered on Friday, September 18 at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Downtown LA to recognize the top CFOs in the region at the 9th Annual CFO of the Year Awards.
Century Group is a proud founding sponsor of the event, presented by the Los Angeles Business Journal to honor the important work of CFOs as financial stewards in public, private and nonprofit companies and organizations throughout various industries.
This year’s awards went to Elsa Luna of Los Angeles Universal Preschool, Nonprofit CFO of the Year; Martin Louie of Marcus & Millichap, Real Estate CFO of the Year; Jake Himelstein of Bamko, Private Company CFO of the Year (less than $100M annual revenue); Cordell Sweeney of Pabst Brewing Company, Private Company CFO of the Year (more than $100M annual revenue); and Todd Tappin of Rubicon Project, Public Company CFO of the Year.
Nearly 500 guests attended this year’s event, celebrating the 42 outstanding CFO finalists. “We are extremely grateful to those who take the time to nominate CFOs for this honor,” said Century Group’s CEO Ron Proul, a member of the awards committee. “Without their participation in the nomination process, we wouldn’t know about many of the great contributions these men and women have made to their companies and communities. It is our honor to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of each and every nominee.”
Given the economic times and ever-changing climate, CFOs serve as essential members of a company’s core leadership team. Together with their CEOs, their decisions affect all aspects of the business. But one additional facet was central among the sentiments of the five CFOs honored this year – they couldn’t do any of it without the help of their teams.
Martin Louie, who had won CFO of the Year for the San Fernando Valley earlier this year, was once again honored for his role as financial chief of Marcus & Millichap. In a pre-written acceptance speech delivered by his First Vice President and Controller, Mondana Hamzavi, he dedicated the award to his team, noting that “taking a company public is a huge accomplishment for the entire finance and accounting team.”
Cordell Sweeney, CFO of Pabst Brewery, reiterated the sentiments and took it one further. “We would not be up here without our teams and our partners. Part of being a great CFO is having great partners in place.”
In accepting the award for Todd Tappin, Rubicon Project’s CEO Frank Addante spoke about Tappin’s dedication to his team, noting that if he had been there to accept the award, he would’ve credited his team’s great work and accomplishments. He also quoted something Tappin once said to him, “Focus on what’s fun. When your job is fun, it no longer feels like work.”
The awards committee looked at a number of criteria in selecting this year’s honorees, including the length of time they had been with their organization, the overall body of work in their career, the impact they made within their organization; the impact they made compared to their peer group, the financial success and stability of their company, and their involvement in both industry groups and the community.
More details and photos from the event, as well as a profile on each honoree, can be found in the September 28 issue of the Los Angeles Business Journal.