Packed house honors winners of CFO of the Year Awards

Business News | 13 Nov |

The Arizona chapter president of Financial Executives International (FEI) honored some of Arizona’s best and brightest financial leaders at the 14th Annual CFO of the Year Awards Thursday night at Chateau Luxe.

Sponsors of the event included JPMorgan Chase, CBIZ MHM, Keyser, Lovitt and Touché, and Vaco.

“The Arizona Chapter of FEI hosts the CFO of the Year Awards to shine a spotlight on those individuals who have excelled at financial management,” said Mike Day, Arizona chapter president of FEI. “We believe this benefits Arizona by highlighting — for those who are not in the finance community— how talented and focused financial professionals can and do create better organizations. For those of us in finance, tonight gives us an opportunity to learn from their achievements to provide inspiration on how we can be better.”


EVENT PHOTOS: See photos from the CFO of the Year Awards event

READ ALSO: Here are the winners of Governor’s Celebration of Innovation


A total of 25 of the most impactful CFOs in Arizona were selected as finalists for the 2022 CFO of the Year Awards and the total revenue the finalists look after is north of $23 billion.

“It’s a difficult job,” Day said. “The CFO is not just required to be a steward of the finances and skilled in operating a highly performing finance function, but increasingly to be a strategist providing financial leadership to determine direction and serving as a catalyst to instill an empirical mindset throughout the organization.”

CFO of the Year awards were presented in five categories. Here are the winners:

Not-for-Profit: Claire Agnew, chief financial officer, Valleywise Health

REWARDING ASPECT OF JOB: “The most rewarding aspect of my job is being able to support the clinicians. I believe in our mission at Valleywise Health and my everyday job is to support them so that they can carry out the care for patients.”

SOURCE OF PASSION: “Valleywise Health serves everybody, every patient, regardless of the ability to pay. It serves the most vulnerable patients, the most vulnerable patient populations and it does it regardless of where you came from or who you are or what you do. To me, how can you not love and live off that on a daily basis. It feeds me. I think it feeds everyone who’s there. We do it because we love it. I could work anywhere inside of healthcare, but I really love working for Valleywise Health.”

Medium-size Private Company: Steve Swonger, chief financial officer, BioLab Sciences

BEING A FINANCIAL LEADER: “The most rewarding aspect of being a financial executive is being able to be involved in all of the aspects of the business and deeply understanding what’s going on in the business. What’s going on in operations? What’s going on in administration? What’s the global picture so that you can help make sure all the aspects flow together for the best outcomes for the business?”

BEST PART OF THE JOB: “The ability to interact with people, find out what their goals are within in company, and helping to mentor people to reach those goals. As a CFO, you have to touch all of the different departments and so you have to become integrated. And in order to do that you have know people, get to know the people, who they are, what they’re doing and how they’re growing, is a really a tremendous experience.”

Public Company: Megan Faust, executive vice president and chief financial officer, Amkor

BEST PART OF THE JOB: “What I enjoy most about my job is that it’s different every day. There’s never a day despite the calendaring and the scheduling that I can anticipate what might come. So, I appreciate having a lot of new challenges and unexpected events that keeps things interesting and really drives me to overcome some of those challenges.”

HOW THE ROLE OF THE CFO HAS CHANGED: “It’s really gone from being a governance and tactical financial role into more of a business and strategy role. There’s been a lot of recent events that have evolved that faster and pushed it, such as COVID and having to manage through work-from-home, especially in the semi-conductor supply chain, which is a part of the outcome of COVID, really trying to figure out how to overcome the challenges that we’re presented.”

Large-size Private Company: Linn Shaw, chief financial officer, KP Aviation

BEST PART OF THE JOB: “As CFO, I really enjoy making a difference within an organization. I feel like I always understood math, I understood numbers, even just counting coins as a kid in my parents’ car when we were driving somewhere was my hobby that I really enjoyed … That’s what I really enjoyed about going the CFO path, not just understanding the numbers, but how to create the numbers. How do the numbers change? How do they adapt? How do they thrive and where can I make a financial impact as a CFO within an organization?”

COMPANY CULTURE: “We’re female co-founded, a small organization that’s doubled in size this year. We strive to really make a footprint inside of our industry. And I think that drive to want to continuously improve and be better while having a strong culture is really what pushes me each day to be my best.”

Sponsors’ Award: Jason Berg, chief financial officer, AMERCO – U-Haul

REWARDING ASPECT OF JOB: “The most rewarding aspect of being a chief financial officer at U-Haul is my ability to help others in the organization that don’t have that same specialty. I have the background in finance and I’m able to help them do things that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do.”

BEST PART OF JOB: “The most fun thing about my job is working with our field team. We have 34,000 employees across the U.S. and Canada, and I enjoy that any city I could fly into, someone will be there to pick me up at the airport and I can have lunch with someone that’s interested in what I’ve been doing and I can help them out as well.”

Finalists for 2022 CFO of the Year Awards

Claire Agnew, Valleywise Health

Troy R. Anderson, Universal Technical Institute

Jason Berg, AMERCO (U-Haul)

Rhonda, Biddix, California Closets

Sam Blackham, eVisit

Margie Burke, Desert Botanical Garden

Michael Chesin, Helios Education Foundation

Rachael Cordova, ISSA (International Sports Sciences Association)

Randy Ek, Mercy Care

Megan Faust, Amkor Technology

Mike Fett, Southwest Behavioral & Health Services

Mitch Gens, Tomcar

Dan Gerelick, Bluum

Ross Grainger, Paradox

Kevin Hull, TYR Tactical

Susan Hunsaker, Paramount Building Solutions

Wajeh Khan, Elevation Solar

James Kohlbeck, Suncrest

Roop K. Lakkaraju, Benchmark

Frank P. Marino, UNS Energy Corporation

Connie Nelson-Askrew, Valley of the Sun YMCA

Lata Quinn, Fresh Start Women’s Foundation

Linn Shaw, KP Aviation

Jake Singleton, The Joint

Scott Swonger, BioLab Sciences

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons