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Monday, Apr 22, 2024

2022 CFO Awards Finalists



2022 cfo honoree_Phil Ahn

Phil Ahn
B. Riley Financial

Phillip (Phil) Ahn began his tenure with B. Riley Financial in 2010 as senior vice president of strategy and corporate development of its Great American Group affiliate. He was appointed CFO and COO in 2013. In 2014, B. Riley merged with Great American Group to become a publicly traded company. Since then, Ahn has played a pivotal role in a series of transformational transactions that have meaningfully enhanced the B. Riley Financial platform. What was once a 200-person boutique brokerage and specialty finance firm serving the Southern California market is today a 2000-person strong diversified financial services platform operating in over 75 corporate facilities and serving thousands of stakeholders across the U.S. and internationally. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ahn’s institutional knowledge and diligence put B. Riley in a position to make strategic acquisitions that bolstered the company’s bottom line significantly.


2022 cfo honoree_Armin Zerza

Armin Zerza
Chief Financial Officer
Activision Blizzard

Armin Zerza is chief financial officer for Activision Blizzard, one of the largest video game companies in the world. He ascended to the position in April 2021, overseeing all financial activity across the entire organization, while supporting the company’s strategy and fostering key partnerships with global corporations to enhance the company’s products and player experience. He first joined Activision Blizzard in 2015 as CFO of Blizzard Entertainment, a $2 billion business unit of the company. His work naturally led to greater operational visibility, and his thoughtful contributions led to his accession to Blizzard’s chief operating officer in 2017. He was promoted to Activision Blizzard’s chief commercial officer in 2019. Prior to Activision Blizzard, he had dedicated 20 years to Procter & Gamble, including stints as director of M&A, CFO of the company’s European baby-care division, and finally as CFO for Latin America.



2022 cfo honoree_Steve Aleman

Steve Aleman
Prime Healthcare

Steve Aleman serves as chief financial officer of Prime Healthcare, one of the nation’s leading health systems with 45 hospitals in 14 states serving over 600 communities. The organization has nearly 50,000 physicians and staff and provides 2.6 million patient visits annually. Aleman, a CPA, has leveraged his three decades of healthcare experience to help Prime successfully navigate the ever-changing US healthcare market. Aleman joined Prime Healthcare In early 2020, where his efforts have translated to the execution of organic and strategic growth opportunities and a focus on optimizing the company’s capital structure to drive future company growth for years to come. Through many years of experience, Aleman’s solutions-oriented approach proved invaluable as Prime navigated through the historic acquisition of St. Francis Medical Center in Southeast Los Angeles during a challenging time in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.


2022 cfo honoree_Cordell Sweeney

Cordell Sweeney
Chief Financial Officer
Golden West Packaging Group

Cordell Sweeney is a hands-on senior executive with over 30 years of experience in financial, strategy and operations leadership roles in the consumer products, manufacturing and distribution, technology, media and services industries including private equity backed, public, and entrepreneurial owned and operated businesses. Sweeney has a track record of creating value thanks to highlights such as building collaborative partnerships with executive leadership teams, boards, customers and suppliers; hiring, training and developing high performance teams to meet the needs of the organization, and integrating the finance, operations, IT and HR functions into the business; and providing key contributions into the strategy, operations and financial planning processes. He is also leading major financial, strategic, operations, IT and HR initiatives while defining measures that focus and motivate the organization and delivering information and analysis that provide insight into how value is being created and how progress is matched to strategic initiatives.



2022 cfo honoree_Tyler Conger

Tyler Conger
Lincoln Avenue Capital

Tyler Conger and Lincoln Avenue Capital are actively creating solutions to address America’s affordable housing shortage with a focus on delivering financial, social, and environmental returns. Conger is a part of Lincoln Avenue Capital’s senior leadership team that completed two landmark affordable and workforce housing partnerships in the past year. First, Lincoln Avenue Capital acquired a majority interest in 37 of LHP Capital’s multifamily affordable properties. Secondly, Lincoln Avenue Capital announced the acquisition of a majority stake in the Housing Partnership Equity Trust, a social purpose real estate investment fund launched in 2012. As the chief financial officer, Conger was integral to the acquisitions above as well as additional partnerships that will both positively impact the communities that LAC serves and create long-term value for the company’s stakeholders. Recently, Affordable Housing Finance ranked Lincoln Avenue Capital as the #1 company in the nation completing acquisitions of affordable housing properties.


2022 cfo honoree_ Lusine Yeghiazaryan

Lusine Yeghiazaryan
Chief Financial Officer

As CFO at SADA, Lusine Yeghiazaryan is responsible for all aspects of finance strategy and financial reporting, revenue and sales operations, global accounting, and financial management. Yeghiazaryan has expertise and extensive experience in technology and biotechnology industries including corporate strategy, finance transformation, M&A, IPO readiness, audit and assurance, design and optimization of financial processes and controls, and enterprise risk management. Prior to joining SADA in her capacity as CFO, she served on SADA’s board of directors as the company’s first independent director and supported SADA’s growth and transformation over that time period. Prior to SADA, Yeghiazaryan was VP finance, IA and internal controls at GoPro, Inc., leading the pre-IPO ICFR readiness and post-IPO financial reporting processes, internal controls, and enterprise risk management. She has held financial advisory management roles with Deloitte & Touche, where she was responsible for delivering highly visible projects to technology, retail, and biotech clients.



2022 cfo honoree_ Donna Bateman

Donna Bateman
KROST CPAs & Consultants

Donna Bateman is the chief financial officer for KROST. Not only has she dedicated her career to KROST with over 30 years at the firm, but she exhibits professionalism and spreads positivity, making her a prominent role model in our organization. She leads by example and fosters a collaborative environment with her involvement at the firm. With her extensive experience working in public accounting, Bateman’s professional experience includes auditing, accounting, and payroll. She was responsible for a variety of different services that included compilations, tax returns, business consulting, tip reporting, and bookkeeper training. Her impact on the organization has allowed her to rise within the ranks to eventually become CFO. As the firm expanded from one office to seven offices, with an overall combined firm growth of now 320 employees, the firm’s revenue went from $8 million in 2012 to $66 million.


2022 cfo honoree_ Rob Clarke

Robert A. Clarke
Chief Financial Officer
National Notary Association

Robert A. Clarke is the CFO of the National Notary Association (NNA), the nation’s foremost authority on the American Notary Office, dedicated to imparting knowledge, understanding, and unity amongst all notaries. Since Clarke joined the NNA in 2013 as the CFO/VP finance, he has led the team through a growth of over 2.5 times in revenues and five times in earnings. Additionally, he has led the team to grow three times, from 100 employees to over 300 employees. Through the pandemic, a particularly challenging couple of years, Clarke’s leadership has been nothing short of transformational, and he has increased the gross revenue of NNA significantly. His career in finance has always been driven by one singular goal and vision: the finance department should always see itself as a service department, first and foremost, to both the company’s external customers and internally to all the other functional departments in the business.



2022 cfo honoree_V ncent Chan

Vincent Chan

Vincent Chan was initially hired as the CFO to streamline and modernize the financial systems and infrastructure to support the growth of Christina’s real estate portfolio and investor base. Chan’s responsibilities increased as the firm invested in various branding and marketing initiatives that embodied the founder’s unique philosophy and real estate strategies. Christina successfully raised nearly $45 million, doubled its investors base, and grew its asset under management despite a reduction in headcount under Chan’s leadership during the pandemic. Christina will be facing more headwinds as it continues to raise more money during turbulent times. Chan is an alumnus of the California State University System and has children in the Los Angeles Unified School District. He has served as treasurer of a parent-led non-profit that raises funds and awareness of language immersion programs in the Westside Region of Los Angeles.


2022 cfo honoree_Sean Cunningham

Sean Cunningham
Integrated Capital Management

Sean Cunningham is a highly accomplished CFO with more than three decades of financial management experience in the real estate investment, development and property management industry. Cunningham serves as chief financial officer for Integrated Capital Management, a company that is privileged to invest a commercial real estate allocation of Disney and several other family offices around the country, as well as multiple registered investment advisors, high net worth individuals and foreign capital sources. As CFO, Cunningham oversees all aspects of the firm’s financial functions including fund accounting and control, investor back office, reporting, SEC and FINRA compliance, audit and tax matters, and corporate finance activities. He is part of Integrated Capital Management’s leadership team and played an instrumental role in the launch of the company’s debut private equity real estate fund, which was oversubscribed with more than $30 million in equity commitments.



2022 cfo honoree_Tarik Rahmani

Tarik Rahmani
Finance Director
City of Carson

Tarik Rahmani is Carson’s finance director with the primary purpose of financial stewardship of public funds. He provides leadership and support to the elected officials in developing policies that are for the benefit of the Carson community. These policies are critical to the city’s financial stability as well as the city’s ability to consistently deliver high-quality municipal services to the residents and businesses. Rahmani’s background includes leadership in budget development, revenue forecasts, financial stewardship of pension & benefits administration, long-term financial planning, leading process improvement initiatives, directing the operations of the comprehensive Finance Department, and oversight of the Measure C Committee. Rahmani is also the elected VP of League of California City fiscal operations department. He volunteers his time to provide guidance to local government organizations statewide. Rahmani helps develop comprehensive programs that allow officials to learn about developments in their field while exchanging ideas on solutions to challenges.


2022 cfo honoree_Patricia Smith

Patricia Smith
Chief Financial Officer
Los Angeles County Office of Education

Patricia Smith has been a highly respected chief financial officer, lauded fiscal advisor, and strong advocate of a quality education for all students, responsible for supporting school districts across the county and offering guidance and mentorship of countless business services advisors and public-school leaders. Known for being a woman of wisdom burnished by experience and a protector who nurtures, sees talent, creates opportunity, and lets her team rise, she has mentored countless LACOE employees, inspiring them to excel, and support one another. Her commitment and contributions to the Los Angeles County educational system, most notably, students, families, school leaders and educational partners has greatly contributed to the vast legacy and tremendous impact of public schools. Smith is giving back to the LA community by providing fiscal and operational support for the 80 school districts that provide a public education to approximately two million students in the county.



2022 cfo honoree_Melissa Mendolera

Melissa Mendolera
Chief Financial Officer
Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs

Melissa Mendolera joined Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs (SEE) as the CFO and has far exceeded all expectations. She is embracing a leadership position and transforming the organization’s fiscal sponsor nonprofit, taking our team to new heights. She has sparked changes and cultivated growth that has rippled through every aspect of our organization and other fiscal sponsors, proving herself to be a model for all finance directors in the nonprofit and public service world. SEE is an industry-leading fiscal sponsor nonprofit, providing support services to start-up nonprofit projects. Once Mendolera joined the team, the organization was able to expand its resources to projects exponentially. It was on a trajectory to double in revenue from 2020 to 2021 and because of Mendolera’s vast experience in managing large-scale budgets, she enabled SEE to absorb the growth in stride.


2022 cfo honoree_Sandy Oluwek

Sandy Oluwek
PATH (People Assisting the Homeless)

As the CFO of PATH since 2011, Sandy Oluwek has overseen all financial functions, primarily managing a department of 25, monitoring financial performance and keeping the CEO and board informed, tracking and forecasting budgets and cash flow, analyzing the financial implications of new opportunities, and managing external financial relationships. She has over 30 years of accounting and finance experience in both the non-profit and for-profit worlds and is a former Certified Public Accountant. Prior to joining PATH, Oluwek was president of her own company, The Finance Oasis, Inc., which trained companies to understand their financial information and use it to improve their cash flow and profitability. Since she has been at PATH, the organization has grown sixteen-fold from revenues of $8 million to $130 million with the finance department quadrupling in size.



2022 cfo honoree_Jeanelle Arias

Jeanelle Arias
Goodwill Southern California

Jeanelle Arias joined the Goodwill SoCal (GWSC) in June, 2021, with more than 19 years of accounting and financial management experience. Since her arrival at GWSC, Arias has been a critical leader supporting the organization’s recovery from the pandemic. Leveraging her operational experience, she has been streamlining the company’s financial structure and has been working with her board of directors to reduce the organizations debt load and debt service. After shutting down all of their stores for several months early in the pandemic, the majority of their 82 stores in SoCal were at negative EBITDA by the end of fiscal year 2020 and total EBITDA of negative ($23.2 million). Arias and her colleagues mounted an impressive turnaround effort with 80 out of the 82 stores and positive EBITDA of $23.4 million by the end of 2021, exceeding 2019 EBITDA of $231,000.


2022 cfo honoree_Gladys Fung

Gladys Fung
Spinn, Inc.

Spinn, Inc. CFO Gladys Fung was the CFO and vice chair of the board of directors at the non-profit organization Family Promise of San Gabriel Valley, with a mission to assist families in regaining stable housing after experiencing homelessness. She is also a director of the Spinn board. Fung raised considerable venture debt from SVB and TPG, has been instrumental in developing Spinn’s business model, accounting and controlling. She is proactively analytical, builds on data and is expertly driving for KPIs. She has a small team that moves mountains, from the regular accounting jobs to implementing the right tools to get the job done. Spinn works with international teams and Fung is always eager to provide the right support with tremendous drive and relentless energy. She brings the ideal background with a blend of technical knowhow, hands-on execution skills and leadership.



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