10 Questions for Recall Senior VP and CFO Allison Aden
Name: Allison Aden
Time with company: 5 years
Education: Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of Missouri; MBA from the University of Missouri
Company headquarters: Norcross, Georgia
Revenue: Approximately $800 million in revenue
Countries of operations: 20 countries on five continents, with more than 300 operation centers
Number of employees total: 4,800
Number of employees the CFO oversees: 9 direct reports; 190 worldwide
CFO's areas of responsibility: Finance and Accounting
About the company: Recall provides document management software, data protection services, and secure data and document destruction services. The company has about 80,000 customers globally.
1. Where did you start in finance and what experiences led you to the job you have today?
I started my career with the Boeing Corp., which at the time was McDonnell-Douglas in St. Louis, in the finance department.
As I've progressed in my career, I have held a number of diverse roles in different organizations. I thought it was particularly important to stretch my skill set to prepare for the multifaceted role of today's CFO. I gained exposure in several industries, such as financial services, health care, manufacturing and real estate.
Recall attracted me because it is a multinational corporation with strong growth potential.
2. Who was an influential boss for you and what lessons did they teach you about management and leadership?
I've been fortunate in my career to work with several gifted individuals. From each of these individuals, I have taken away skills that worked well for them and then adapted them into my own approach.
The bosses I have admired are hardworking, determined individuals who really care about advancing the organization's goals and keeping the team motivated.
3. What are the biggest challenges facing CFOs today?
Particularly, in a public-company environment, where short-term earnings are critical, it's up to the CFO to make sure the balance between tactical execution and long term strategic planning is in place.
4. What is a good day at work like for you?
It's important to me that my team is seen as being a value add to the organization. A really good day for me is when I hear from one of the field operators that someone on my team helped them to achieve a complex goal.
5. How would you characterize your management style?
I strive to hire capable individuals and then step back and let them perform at the highest level they can. However, I'm always willing to jump in if they're struggling and help get us to the goal line.
6. What strengths and qualities do you look for in job candidates?
In any business relationship I think there's nothing more important than honesty and integrity, so those are the key qualities I look for in all candidates.
I also look for strengths that will allow them to not only perform in the job they're being hired for but the next job and maybe the one after that as well. That's how really strong teams are built.
7. What are some of your favorite interview questions or techniques to elicit information to determine whether a candidate will be successful at your company? What sort of answers send up red flags for you and make you think a job candidate won't be a good fit?
I tend to ask questions that draw upon real-life examples of how the candidate has gone about solving a problem, and has gone above and beyond the requirements of their job to achieve their goals. I really listen to how the candidate explains to me the way in which they've solved a problem and how they have evolved themselves to benefit the organization.
It's also important to me that a candidate understands the organization. When I'm interviewing a candidate and it becomes clear to me that they haven't taken the time to prepare themselves and learn about the organization, that says to me that they may not truly be interested in the position or the organization.
8. What is it about your current job, at this particular company, that sets it apart from other positions?
Recall is a large multinational organization and we're constantly growing and maturing. We have a very innovative and entrepreneurial culture within the organization. Supporting our ever-growing and changing business platform, while maintaining strong corporate governance makes this job very challenging but also very rewarding.
9. What do you do to unwind from a hectic day?
I have always enjoyed gardening, and living in Atlanta lets you maintain some sort of gardening activity all year round. The joke around the neighborhood is that you can tell what kind of a week I've had by how many flowers and bushes I plant over the weekend. More stress, more planting.
10. If you weren't doing this job, what would you be doing?
In college, I really struggled between the decision to major in veterinary science or in business. Certainly the business route has been very rewarding to me and it's something that I hope to do for years to come, but at some point when I step out of Corporate America, I will probably go back to school and become a veterinarian.