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7 Questions with Ali Firoozi
7 Questions with Ali Firoozi
Name: Ali Firoozi
Current title: CFO
Current organization: The PAC Group
I am Ali Firoozi, an entrepreneurial, innovative senior level executive who employs extensive leadership experience working with strategic partners and adding enterprise value by combining management skill with financial expertise. My eighteen year long career in banking transitioned in 2014 to working for a multi national consulting and engineering firm. Strong in cash forecasts, budgets, process design, analysis, external partner collaboration, and incorporating finance metrics to improve business value. I love building teams and taking problems head on to find creative solutions.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?
Being a global company means we have global challenges, but we don't have the same budget and headcount that large enterprises do to deal with the same issues. That means we have to rely on fewer people to do more and find ways to get things done with just throwing money at something.
2. How did you become a leader of an SME? Can you please briefly tell the story?
After a lengthy career in financial services, and having worked at the largest bank in the country I was recruited in 2014 to come to be a part of the executive team at The PAC Group in the CFO capacity.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Every day is unique, but typically speaking goes something like this. I start my morning around 7AM checking emails that have come in overnight. I often have conference/video calls in the morning hours as well along with calls to our country Directors . By late morning I'm reviewing reports, current project bids, and providing feedback where needed/requested. In the early/mid afternoon I'm usually working without out Asian and Australian office on their issues of the day and checking in on various pending projects which may be financial, IT, administrative or other in nature. Sometimes in the early or late evening my time I may have calls with clients in our latter time zones as well.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Take your time, don't rush, details matter. Whether dealing with issues related to your people, company revenue, or handling client needs, a calm and steady approach is best. If you are calm it will help others remain calm,
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
The book "Black Swan" has had a great impact on me. It was an eye opening lecture into self acknowledging all the things I didn't know and how to view risk differently. It keeps me from becoming overly confident and changes my perceptions of forecasts, plans, and overall business planning.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?
I build it by constantly looking for ways to improve our company using the people and resources we have. In not having an endless budget to just throw money at a problem we have to get creative, get better at what we do and as a leader that forces you to either grow and find ways to make things work or suffer the consequences.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader of an SME so far?
I had a team member in my F&A department send me a lengthy note of thanks last holiday season. She thanked me for always sending handwritten holiday cards to each of my team members each year and for always acknowledging her birthday. She said it meant the world to her and is just one of the many reasons she stays here even though she has had some opportunities to leave. The takeaway is, pay attention to your people and treat them like they matter. Human capitol is the most important asset in a SME and you need to safeguard it. That is often the special success factor.