During a “Ted Talks”–style featured session called “CBO Speaks,” senior business officers shared lessons they have learned about the tactics and temperament needed to be a successful CBO. Among those reflections:
Building and maintaining relationships is a huge part of a CBO’s role, whether it’s with the people whom you lead; your president; cabinet members; members of your board; or community leaders, legislators, and politicians. For me the trickiest relationships to form have been with state and local political leaders, but these are vital relationships to nurture, because these folks need to understand how your institution is directly serving your community.
—Sue Perkins, vice president, finance and administration, Middlesex County College, Edison, N.J.
A CBO must be a good multitasker because you have to keep so many balls in the air simultaneously. And yet, no matter how gifted you may think you are as a multi-tasker, you also must realize that you cannot do it all on your own. Surround yourself with people who are knowledgeable in every area for which you are responsible.
—Betty Roberts, vice president, finance and administration, The College of New Rochelle, New Rochelle, N.Y.
Turning 50 and becoming a grandfather led me to rethink my work/life balance, including what it takes to become a successful CBO versus what it takes to sustain being a successful CBO. With the mounting pressures and responsibilities of this job, I am convinced that you are unlikely to have a long run in this career if you don’t learn how to invest in yourself and in your mind-body-soul wellness for the long haul.
—Brian Gutierrez, vice chancellor, finance and administration, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth
With more coming into the role of the chief business officer from a variety of career pathways, it is unlikely that you will enter this role possessing the full capacity of what the job requires. Be honest and transparent about that. There is nothing wrong with saying what you don’t know or haven’t done.
—Gregg Goldman, senior vice president, business affairs and chief financial officer, University of Arizona, Tucson