501: Why the Message Matters | Steven Gaven, CFO, Boston Private

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Many CFOs have told us that storytelling is a big part of being a successful CFO today. However, quite a few finance leaders have told us that this did not come naturally to them and that in fact it was only by virtue of an “A-ha!” moment that they did finally lock on to the notion that as a CFO they had better be able to tell the story in a compelling and engaging manner.

When it came to the importance of finance telling the story, Steve Gaven, unlike quite a few of his peers, did not require an “A-ha!” moment. Instead, Gaven arrived inside the CFO office at Boston Private well schooled in communicating both good and at times not-so-good news to investors and analysts. This involved a skill set that he had begun acquiring during the earliest days of his finance career, when he worked for a boutique consulting firm that specialized in helping publicly traded firms craft their messaging to help better drive their capital planning strategies.

Along the way, Gaven joined the ranks of equity research analysts, a role that led him to accept a position with Boston Private, where his communications and messaging skills made him an obvious candidate to head up the firm’s investor relations function (as well as serve as VP of finance). So, at this time when other senior finance executives are beginning to flex their storytelling muscles for the first time, Gaven is already fluent and has mastered the combination of relationship-building and easy rapport that finance leaders are frequently left scrambling to develop. Or thus explains Gaven, while using the very skills that undoubtedly distinguish his leadership today. - Jack Sweeney

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