|Financial professionals and guests gathered at the Orange County Business Journal’s annual CFO of the Year Awards on Wednesday, January 25 to honor this year’s nominees and recipients. Century Group proudly sponsors the event each year to honor area financial professionals who have shown the highest level of talent and commitment as corporate stewards for their respective companies in the preceding fiscal year.
This year’s awards went to Colin Severn of William Lyon Homes Inc. (Outstanding CFO of a Public Company), James Molloy of Alorica Inc. (Outstanding CFO of a Private Company), Jo Ann Escasa-Haigh of Providence St. Joseph Health (Outstanding CFO of a Not-for-Profit Organization), Dessi Sarabosing of Real Mex Restaurants Inc. (Rising Star), and Joe McCarthy of Sunrise Growers Inc. (Lifetime Achievement Award).
“This event is the biggest annual celebration for Orange County’s finance community, and I couldn’t think of a more deserving group of individuals to honor this year,” said Tim Calley, Managing Director of Century Group’s Orange County Office. “The industries represented by the honorees and winners truly speaks to the diversity and strength of the economy in Orange County.”
Through the highs and lows of the past decade, the honorees shared that they came out stronger in the end. And, as with past years, each honoree credited their strong support systems – both at work and at home – for their ability to succeed.
Public company CFO winner Colin Severn became CFO in 2009 after a change in leadership and was extremely grateful for the opportunity he was given. He credited his award to his team. “Without you, I wouldn’t be here. You do all the heavy lifting!”
Following a merger in July of 2016, non-profit CFO winner Jo Ann Escasa-Haigh credited the hard work and commitment of her team for a smooth transition. “There is no way it would have come together so well without the people on my team.”
Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Joe McCarthy remarked that at meetings he is now “the oldest guy in the room.” He shared how he feels an obligation to both teach and learn from the younger generation – acting as a mentor and advisor, but also learning new ways of doing things. “If we change too, we will be heard more, and [the younger generation] will do great as they follow in our footsteps.”
“We hear it year after year – the winners credit their success to the team working behind them,” said Ron Blair, Century Group’s COO. “It’s one of the many reasons we’re proud to support this event and nominate such deserving finance leaders with whom we’ve worked to build those teams. I couldn’t think of a better way to acknowledge the success of the CFOs, their teams and the companies themselves.”
The awards committee selected the winners from 32 finalists, all of whom were nominated by colleagues in the profession. Each nominee was said to have certain attributes, including the ability to successfully promote and support excellence as a CFO; establish procedures; set an example of ethical behavior; act as a team-builder, mentor and innovator; and contribute to the advancement of the industry and community. More details and photos from the event can be found online. Profiles on each honoree will be published in the February 6 issue of the Orange County Business Journal.