Exercising CFO Leadership in a Dynamic Economy

At a June 5 TCB Forum, Minnesota CFOs will share how they are growing their companies and developing new products in a crowded marketplace.

Exercising CFO Leadership in a Dynamic Economy
Four veteran chief financial officers will discuss how they are seizing market opportunities during a CFO Forum hosted by Twin Cities Business on June 5.
Mergers and acquisitions, trade policy and leveraging data analytics to make better decisions are among the topics that will be covered during the afternoon forum to be held at the Metropolitan Ballroom in Golden Valley.
The forum panelists are Barry Gisser, CFO of the Science Museum of Minnesota; Andy LaFrence, senior vice president and CFO of Biothera Pharmaceuticals; Lois Martin, CFO of Mortenson Companies, and Jeff Pellegrom, executive vice president and CFO of the Minnesota Wild.
To register for the event, go to
“The CFO role continues to evolve with a significant focus to develop teams that support the company’s business strategy and partnership with the CEO,” said LaFrence, who recently left his CFO position at Surmodics to join Biothera. In particular, LaFrence stressed, the CFO must provide “unfiltered insights” about a company’s performance, so top leadership can make the best strategic decisions.
Mortenson was in the Twin Cities media spotlight while it was constructing U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. But Mortenson’s construction business includes building many types of commercial structures. “We are heavily involved in leading and driving innovation within our industry to leverage current and future technological developments to improve the building process,” Martin said.
To ensure that Mortenson has the workforce it needs to grow its business, Martin said her company has extensive recruitment and retention efforts to support employees in craft, technical and strategy positions.
Pellegrom’s work for the Minnesota Wild includes making sure that the Wild abide by the National Hockey League’s salary cap, but Pellegrom deals with the same cash flow and debt considerations as other CFOs. Pellegrom, who recently completed a term as chair of the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, previously worked for SC Johnson and 3M. Commenting on the win-loss nature of his job with the Minnesota Wild, he said, “The highs are higher and the lows are lower than the other finance jobs I’ve had.”  
Gisser worked for food companies and an investment firm before joining the Science Museum a year ago. “Growth matters whether you work at a for-profit or nonprofit, big company or small company, public or private firm,” Gisser said. Focused on the mission of the Science Museum, Gisser said, “As CFO, I am in a unique position to influence and accelerate growth by engaging in the business and delivering insights to drive results.”
The June 5 CFO panel discussion, which will include audience questions, runs from 3 to 4:30 p.m. The event concludes with a 4:30 to 6 p.m. networking reception.

Left to right: Mortenson Companies CFO Lois Martin; Minnesota Wild executive vice president and CFO Jeff Pellegrom; Science Museum of Minnesota CFO Barry Gisser; and Biothera Pharmaceuticals senior vice president and CFO Andy LaFrence.
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