The 21st-Century CFO

Career Paths, Finance Teams, and the Future of Strategic Finance

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Hear what the experts have to say.

In this book, you’ll find some of the most impressive names in the business world sharing their experiences, thoughts, and advice for building a career in finance. The quotes and observations, taken from industry experts in conversation with Airbase Founder and CEO, Thejo Kote, focus on how their backgrounds set them up for success, what it takes to be a CFO in today’s fast-paced environment, and what the future may hold for the finance industry. It’s an inspirational and informative look at the ever-evolving role of finance leaders and the unique routes that these icons took on their own paths to becoming a CFO.

In this ebook, you’ll find:

  • Storied CFOs relating their experience and framing it for the aspiring professional.
  • How CEOs, executive recruiters, and board members evaluate potential CFOs.
  • Reflections and perspectives to guide your career.


Alfred Lin

Alfred Lin

Senior Partner at Sequoia Capital (former CFO and COO at Zappos)

Alfred Lin is a Senior Partner at Sequoia Capital. He serves as its in-house consumer internet specialist. He currently sits on the board of seven companies including Airbnb, Houzz, DoorDash, Dia&Co, and Zipline International. He’s the former CFO and COO of Zappos.

Prior to joining Sequoia, Lin founded Venture Frogs, enjoying eight exits including Ask Jeeves, and OpenTable. Lin served in financial leadership roles for three companies, scaling them from founding stages to successful exits: LinkExchange (acquired by Microsoft for $265M), Tellme Networks (acquired by Microsoft for $800M), and Zappos (acquired by Amazon for $1.2B).

Lin is an applied mathematician (BA Harvard) and statistician (MS Stanford). In 2013, Forbes named Lin as one of the “30 Most Influential People in Tech.”

Mark Hawkins

Mark Hawkins

Former President and CFO at Salesforce

Kelly Battles

Kelly Battles

Former CFO at Quora

Prior to her current role at Quora, Kelly served in several executive-level positions, including Chief Financial Officer of Host Analytics and Bracket Computing, Vice President of Finance at IronPort, and Director of Strategy and Corporate Development at Hewlett Packard. Kelly has an extensive background in financial management and strategic organizational development in both the private and non-profit sectors. Kelly has received numerous accolades for her work, including the YWCA TWIN Award for Women in Business and the Best in Biz Gold Award. She was also a finalist for both the Stevie Awards for Women in Business and the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal CFO of the Year Award. In addition to her professional work, Kelly has dedicated herself to advancing education and improving the lives of others. While at McKinsey & Company, she worked extensively with Habitat for Humanity, collaborating with founder Millard Fuller and key executives to improve domestic operations and develop international growth and governance strategies.

Jason Warnick

Jason Warnick

CFO at Robinhood

Jason is the CFO of Robinhood. Previously, he was the VP of Finance and Chief of Staff to CFO of Amazon. Over his nearly 20 years at Amazon, he oversaw the Benchmarking, Internal Audit, Investor Relations, Risk Management, and Compliance teams.

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