712: Making an Impact One Employee at a Time | Maria Manrique, CFO, O’Reilly Media

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When Maria Manrique stepped into her first role as a CFO, she did so knowing that her finance leader mentor was still in the building—in fact, he was occupying the CEO office.

“It would be unfair of me to not say that this was critical—being able to step into the role and have someone there who could help me to bridge the gaps,” recalls Manrique, who prior to entering the CFO office at the start-up had served as vice president of FP&A.

Manrique had already occupied similar senior planning roles at multiple companies, having previously worked for Fidelity Investments, where she had lent her FP&A acumen to the financial services firm’s portfolio of venture-backed companies.

Still, at the start-up, she found herself along the front lines at the company’s board meetings—an opportunity that she had seldom been afforded at Fidelity. But along with her increased visibility came responsibility, she points out.

“I had been supporting venture capital–backed companies for a long time with strategic planning, but I had never had to make the hard decisions,” comments Manrique, who says that more challenging decisions concerning the company’s ultimate valuation and with which investors to partner suddenly became front-and-center.

Fast-forward to 2021, and Manrique is today CFO of O’Reilly Media, a 43-year-old midsize firm where as finance leader she has sought to open doors for her finance team members by exposing each member to the broader planning process and allowing them to acquire a deeper understanding of the firm’s strategy.

Notes Manrique: “I have a really hard time telling you who on my team is accounting only or controllership only or FP&A only. Everyone has a chain of activity that goes from the general ledger to our monthly operating report to our board report.”

It’s an approach to talent development, Manrique says, that is helping O’Reilly to retain talent in an highly competitive market.

“This is about giving people meaningful roles that impact the organization,” comments Manrique, who at O’Reilly also wears the hat of Chief People Officer. - Jack Sweeney

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