How can modern Chief Financial Officers drive innovation and business transformation? The CFO of cloud computing enterprise software company, ServiceNow, Gina Mastantuono, explains CFO transformation, including how she collaborates with other business leaders such as the company’s Chief Information Officer.

Aside from discussing Chief Financial Officer responsibilities, the conversation includes:

At ServiceNow, Gina Mastantuono is developing and leading world-class teams focused on driving customer success. As Chief Financial Officer, her global organization spans all aspects of Finance, including Accounting, Risk & Compliance, Payroll, Tax, Investor Relations & Treasury, Real Estate & Workplace Services, and more.

Transcript

Gina Mastantuono: We're all about making the world-of-work work better for people. My role as CFO touches really on all aspects of finance.

Michael Krigsman: Gina Mastantuono, Chief Financial Officer of ServiceNow, what does a CFO actually do? [Laughter]

Gina Mastantuono: You think about accounting, risk, compliance, FP&A, tax and treasury, investor relations, procurement, also workplace services, so everything about the workplace. I'm also responsible for driving our global impact strategy across the country. Those are the main aspects of what I'm responsible for.

Also, it's about working closely with all of my peers across the C-suite, particularly our chief strategy officer, Nick Tzitzon, on strategy and M&A, as well as our CIO, Chris Bedi, to really focus and enact digital transformation initiatives, help plan a safe return to work for our employees, and tons more, as you can imagine.

What does a Chief Financial Officer do?

Michael Krigsman: We have this image of the historical, traditional CIO as kind of like an advanced accountant bean counter, you know, with the green eyeshade. Yet, you're talking about digital transformation. I know that there is the innovation role as well. What's going on with the CIO role, and how accurate does that green eyeshade image?

Gina Mastantuono: The CFO is the image that you are talking about as the bean counter, right? It's definitely an outdated image. I'm definitely not the typical image of a CFO.

We are really no longer just bean counters with the fierce grip on the checkbook. Right now, a major growth driver for many companies is digital transformation and CFOs are playing a key role in not just enabling that transformation but driving it. Being a CFO today is all about strategy, understanding those growth levers that drive the business, and the investments that are needed to get us where we need to go.

It's also about leadership. Gone are the days when all leaders needed was a strong IQ. Today's leaders really need to have a high level of EQ as well. They need to lead with compassion and empathy. Especially in today's COVID-19 environment, leaders must ask every day how they're helping employees navigate the new normal.

What is the CFO leadership role?

Michael Krigsman: I'm slightly taken aback, in a way, to hear you talk about leadership, empathy, driving digital transformation, again because I have, in the back of my mind, the stereotype of a traditional CFO. I guess we could say your role, it's a leadership role with an emphasis on the finances and investing? Is that an accurate way to say it?

Gina Mastantuono: Absolutely. I think the leadership piece is so important and the role of the CFO really has evolved over the last five, ten years. Even in the last year, COVID-19 has really elevated the CFO role.

We're playing a pivotal role in guiding organizations through the crisis. We're essential to the strategic decisions that are going to help our companies not only survive the current climate but come out stronger on the other side.

What I think is especially interesting is that we now must have a stronger understanding of technology. This is especially apparent after COVID-19. Instead of delegating down all the technology work, CFOs are spending more time actually learning it.

If you think about all the data that we have, CFOs have to become immensely data-driven. We're using predictive analytics, for example, and machine learning to really ensure that our initiatives are driving real impact.

In fact, I was actually recently talking with our CIO, Chris Bedi, about the shifting paradigm. For so long, CIOs were told they needed to be more business savvy. But today, it's really the rest of the C-suite that needs to become more comfortable with technology because technology is becoming the business as more companies must really pivot their business models in order to continue to compete and be disruptive in the current landscape.

Michael Krigsman: We have a question from Twitter, from Arsalan Kahn, who is a regular listener. Arsalan, thank you. He always asks such great questions. He says, "How should a CFO balance between digital transformation goals and operational requirements?" He's an enterprise architect, and so he also wants to know, "Do CIOs really need to report to the CFO?"

Let's take the first question first. How do you balance digital transformation strategy against the operational needs?

Gina Mastantuono: In this day and age, it's hard to separate the two. Digital transformation is going to help drive the operations of the company.

As we are thinking about a more distributed workplace, technology is really the enabler of operations, whether it's front office or back office. I think it's hard to split the two. The CFOs who are leaning in and are understanding that, I think, are going to have the most success because I think it's all very intertwined right now.

The other question about, does a CIO have to report in to the CFO, I don't think it has to. We don't have that structure at ServiceNow. But I work very closely and partner very closely with our CIO on all aspects of digital transformation, of course.

Why is the CFO / CIO relationship important?

Michael Krigsman: Why? Why do you partner so closely with him? Why is that particular relationship so important to you?

Gina Mastantuono: I think, at the end of the day, so much of what we're doing and so much of what we're trying to lean in on digital transformation if you don't have alignment with that CIO really, really early in the process, you're not going to enable the great outcomes that I know that we need to achieve. That alignment is especially critical today more so than ever.

I'm really, really blessed and lucky that I have such an incredible CIO like Chris. We partner really from the get-go. Before we even budget for projects, we talk about what the business needs are and what business challenge we're trying to solve. Then we work together to ensure that we have the investment dollars required, that we have the bandwidth of the people because one piece of it is investment dollars; the other piece of it is making sure that you have the capacity internally to drive it.

If you're funding things and the company is not ready to manage it, then it's a waste of money. Really understanding that from the get-go. Then on the other side when we're finalizing, making sure that we're really holding the organization accountable for the ROI, for the outcomes that we talked about at the beginning of the project, working together from start to finish is really going to help that.

Michael Krigsman: You are working carefully, closely with him looking at the underlying strategy: What are we trying to achieve? Then all the way through the kind of operational planning and setup.

Gina Mastantuono: Yes. Exactly. All the way to the end to managing the outcomes and ensuring that we're getting the outcomes that we expect from these projects upfront.

Michael Krigsman: I can easily see that that would be a very successful way of working because you've got technology execution and finance in lockstep from the way the project is constructed based on the business needs all the way through to the end.

Gina Mastantuono: Exactly. The CFO and CIO, that relationship, it's the connected tissue really that helps organizations see around the curve to predict some of these issues, to understand what we need to do in the future. It drives value cross-functionally and across the different organizations within the company.

Really, we are pushing our teams to be more collaborative, right? If you're not working across the company and you're just focused on one area, you're not going to have the great outcomes that digital transformation can actually drive.

Michael Krigsman: Then a big part of this, as well, there's kind of a natural breaking down of silos by that partnership you've been describing.

Gina Mastantuono: Absolutely. Absolutely. It needs to. Those silos have to be broken down if you're really looking for successful digital transformation.

Why is the CFO the Chief Transformation Officer?

Michael Krigsman: Gina, you have called the CFO the chief transformation officer. What did you mean by that?

Gina Mastantuono: In this new world where we see COVID, it's really elevated the role of CFO. I talk about chief transformation officer because I think we have one of the most impactful roles in really enabling that transformation both quickly and effectively.

CFOs, you talked about it earlier, right? You talked about that image of the bean counter. We used to get the reputation of instinctively saying no to new technologies, change, and new investments, really, effectively, stymieing the growth of the company.

Instead of being a roadblock or gatekeeper, CFOs are really becoming an accelerant of impactful change, which I think has been especially true during COVID. I think that we have a unique perspective and a unique ability to really help drive it as opposed to being that roadblock.

Michael Krigsman: You know it's funny to hear you describe it that way because the CIO role has also been described as the keeper of no. Is there a cultural change that has to take place for a chief financial officer to adopt this kind of innovation forward mindset that you've just been describing?

Gina Mastantuono: I think it's happening. I think it's happened already. I think that finance has been and needs to make innovation a priority. I think most CFOs have seen that. The companies that are choosing to hoard their resources and not invest, I think are the ones who are going to have a real problem coming out of this crisis stronger.

Investing in R&D, investing in these types of digital efforts, and digitization not only improves their products but also helps develop new offerings, new business models. If you think about Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, they're all companies who have achieved sustained success by making innovation an imperative. It really helps result in new products, new services, and revenue streams.

We talked about the example of Disney+ all the time. Theme parks, movie theaters, everything closed, but had they not invested prior to COVID in what they needed to do for Disney+, they'd be in a very different spot today.

The best CFOs today, I think, are really taking a focus on understanding the balance between investment in innovation and weighing that really strongly against the costs. I think it's a culture shift—to your point, Michael—that's here already.

Cross-team collaboration and the CFO

Michael Krigsman: We have another question, from LinkedIn this time, a really interesting one. This is from Simone Jo Moore. She says, "As a leader, how do you draw in collaboration across silos when teams have incentives to do their own thing and there's also just the natural propensity of some people that are not comfortable with that kind of cross-team collaboration? How do you do it?" I hope I've summarized her question correctly.

Gina Mastantuono: Building relationships within the organization (not just within your teams) just becomes more and more important, I think, as you rise as a leader. It goes back to my first point I made earlier on the EQ being as important as the IQ becoming more and more important. I think building those relationships and understanding that collaborating cross-functionally is the best way to ensure the right and the best outcomes, I think is a huge part of the future of leadership and the future of CFOs and how they think.

I think the key is to never lose sight of the bigger picture and to always know that people are coming to work to do their best job and their best work every day. And so, to put yourself in their shoes and to think about collaboration in an empathetic way as opposed to just focusing on what you need to do to get your job done but understanding that if you're helping others achieve their goals, you're going to all get to a better place in really achieving the wider company goals. Does that make sense, Michael?

Michael Krigsman: It makes perfect sense. Again, it sounds like your North Star always is the underlying business strategy, and then the pieces that fall into place (including finance) support that business strategy. You approach it from that leadership standpoint.

Gina Mastantuono: Absolutely. By the way, you have to do that because if you're not doing that, then if everything becomes a priority then nothing is a priority. We hear that all the time. If you're able to go back to the strategy and what you're trying to achieve as a company, I think that has to be the North Star for all CFOs – absolutely.

Michael Krigsman: On Twitter, Mike Sanchez says, "How can a CFO balance the pressure of enabling rapid growth without the company getting too far in front of their skis, and how does this vary by sector?"

Gina Mastantuono: I think the question is really about the balance between investment and innovation against how do you make sure, from a profitability perspective, you're not getting out in front of your skis. I think one of the keys is to never lose sight of the bigger picture. CFOs, while they're always focused on the numbers, obviously—especially reducing expenses sometimes—if they don't think about innovation, they can really miss out on opportunities by staying on the sidelines.

We are really lucky at ServiceNow. We have what we call NowX is our incubation hub for new innovation and technology that we actually anticipate will generate $100+ million in annual contract value revenue coming up.

We're introducing new verticals and new products. In 2022, we'll continue to introduce new industries.

We've built this whole NowX incubation organically. Because we've been able to innovate organically on one platform (as opposed to lots of acquisitions) it actually enables us to drive more leverage in the business and it's one of the reasons why ServiceNow has such an incredible profitability model.

Modern CFOs, I think, are really learning that they need to understand the importance of continuous innovation and really thinking about these digitization projects through the lens of maximizing value to the business. I think there's more upside to growing the pie versus saving each crumb.

We think about R&D investments in a couple of different buckets. I think it helps me to think about it this way.

We have R&D, for example, we call Horizon 1, when we expect to see ROI on those investments within a year. That's about 60% of our spend.

Then we have Horizon 2. That's emerging technologies and new products for future growth. We expect to see ROI in one to three years. That's about 30% of our spend.

Then we have this Horizon 3. It's future bets on next-generation technologies for future growth. We hope to see ROI on that in three to five years. That's about 10% of our spend.

We need to be really comfortable sometimes, as CFOs, understanding that we need to experiment and not every project is going to yield the ROI that you anticipate. You need to give the company some freedom to be able to do that.

Now, if you are collaborating cross-functionally (like I talked about earlier) and really working across the C-suite with your CIOs and your chief revenue officer and your chief product officers, you're really able to ensure that you are more comfortable making those bets and experimenting.

Balancing short-term needs vs. long-term investment

Michael Krigsman: It sounds like, in your role as CFO, you've been able to introduce a certain kind of discipline to help balance the crucial importance—especially for a technology company—of near term, mid-term, and then farther longer out innovation against the equally important requirement of financial restraint. It sounds like you've been very disciplined balancing these.

Gina Mastantuono: It's part of the job, for sure. I think that I am also super blessed to have an incredible executive leadership team who understands that balance as well.

It's also a different conversation at a high-growth technology company like ServiceNow. There's not a whole lot of tension because technology is what we sell, so we have to invest.

For CFOs at other companies, I think the tension is actually much harder. If I think about industries where I came from, my past experiences with much different profit margin type of companies—tech distribution, consumer goods, media, for example—at those companies the R&D investments don't always hit the top-line immediately. It becomes a lot about cost savings and productivity.

But as IT becomes the business more and more, regardless of what industry you're in, as every company becomes a software company, CFOs have really got to start thinking differently about the investment in R&D and technology than they even did just one and two years ago. If you think about customer and employee experience, as that becomes more and more critical, technology investments will remain more important to ensure you're protecting your top-line as well as growing it.

I think that, again, it comes back to the overarching strategy. That discipline is always in full view of a CFO, but I actually think that more CFOs are leaning into investing more than ever before, really as a function of the challenging climate. I think it's super important that the CFO play the role in aligning the organization and the organization's culture so that it's not dominated by the efficiency experts looking for cost reductions or the innovation hogs who only want top-line. There does really need to be a balance and everyone needs to be on the same page.

At ServiceNow, we've been able to balance that growth and profitability. I think the sustained strength of our topline growth is really the result of consistent execution across the organization, from our sales teams to our engineers to our customer success teams and everyone in between. That alignment is so important.

Michael Krigsman: I will say to my many CIO friends that if your CFO has these kinds of inclinations (I'm sure you're doing this already) being friends with her or him is probably not a bad idea because that balance, striking that balance between the need for innovation and fiscal responsibility and to do it in a way that's reasonable, I mean what a great thing for the tech people, for the whole company.

Gina Mastantuono: That's why that relationship between CFO and CIO is so important. I completely agree, Michael.

Talent management, human resources, and the CFO

Michael Krigsman: We have another question from Twitter. The questions are starting to stack up now. This is from Greg Houser who asks, "What is the CFO's role in creating a culture that prioritizes talent?"

Gina Mastantuono: Talent is a huge pillar of our overarching strategy. When we talked earlier, Michael, about everything aligning to the global strategy, at ServiceNow we have five pillars.

Our people and talent are one of the five pillars. In my finance organization, I put it as the center pillar because I think it's critical.

We say, "Teamwork makes the dream work," here, and it's about not only recruiting incredible talent, but retaining, developing, and ensuring that we are developing the leaders of the future. I think it's a critical aspect of what CFOs have to be focused on today – always.

Michael Krigsman: Bhagirath Kumar Lader asks, "Should RPA initiatives start with a center of excellence or should we just start with individual use cases?" I think it doesn't have to be just RPA. Any kind of technology, do you start by building the center of excellence and building up that talent, or do you try sort of ad hoc use cases? What's the best approach?

Gina Mastantuono: It depends on the organization, right? I can tell you that, at my prior employer, we started out with use cases but then were building up a small center of excellence to manage it. If you don't do that, then you're going to be reliant on consultants. While I love my consultants – don't get me wrong – when you're really thinking about digital transformation and automation, you want to be able to manage that internally.

I think that how I've done it in the past is specific use cases to start. Make sure it makes sense. But then build up a small (not enormous, but small) center of excellence.

Every company is different and every culture is different. I think it really depends. But that's worked for me in the past.

Michael Krigsman: Arsalan Khan says, "If people are as productive at home as they are in the office, then why is there a push to go back to the office?" He says, "Is this a CapEx issue? For example, real estate. Is it something else? Why aren't companies thinking more about remote and cloud-first as we transition back to this next economy?"

Gina Mastantuono: Most companies are thinking about this. I know at ServiceNow it's something that we think about and talk about every day.

I don't think it's a real estate issue. I think the issue is productivity and culture, maintaining the culture. It's ensuring that the early career folks are able to continue to develop and learn. I know when I learned (coming up through the ranks), a lot of it was the in-person interaction that I had with leaders.

I think there's a huge debate, and I actually think that the future of work is going to be much more hybrid than ever before. I don't know that it's going to be 100% remote. I think that there are roles where 100% remote makes a lot of sense. But I do think—and I certainly see this at ServiceNow—that a lot of people are missing that interaction of being in the office and those conversations that happened as you were passing each other in the hallway. That piece is missing.

We're experimenting with many different ways of working. We are absolutely talking about return to work because, by the way, there are a lot of employees that want to come back to the office. They feel more productive in the office. We're thinking about how to make everyone more productive.

We want to give people the option of returning to the office, being hybrid, working remote, but I absolutely think that the future of work is going to be much more of a hybrid model, a distributed workforce. If that's the case, digital transformation becomes even more important than ever.

How do we ensure productivity and collaboration? How do we ensure that culture remains intact? We're going to have to have these incredible digital tools help us through that. I think more companies than you think of are actually thinking about how to do things differently.

Even at ServiceNow, functionally, they'll be different. Engineers who have to whiteboard and create products and get in rooms together to really think about things, I think they'll be in the office more than maybe some of the back-office functions that can be in the office only a day or two a week.

We're talking about it internally and talking about experimenting with new ways of working without coming up with one. But it'll be a push-pull with the employees to see what makes sense. I absolutely think that there is going to be a shift and a distributed workforce is going to be more and more relevant in the future, for sure.

Michael Krigsman: I recently was part of a Webinar for Slack. One of the issues that came up was the difficulty in figuring out how do you establish this kind of informal sense of communication or community, as you were just alluding to. I've had this question come up a number of times. Do you have any quick thoughts or advice on that, on how to do that?

Gina Mastantuono: It's interesting. I think, in this increasingly distributed and hybrid world that we're going to be looking at, we've got to focus. Companies are going to focus on creating these frictionless experiences. How do we ensure that people are collaborating effectively and being productive but, at the same time, coming together for moments that matter for a cultural perspective?

We take culture really seriously at ServiceNow. It's one of the reasons why I love this company so much because the culture is amazing. It's a very hungry and humble culture. I think that thinking about ensuring that collaboration, ensuring that we're able to be together for the moments that matter, that we can still drive that same feeling of culture and that same feeling of collaboration and working together is going to be really important.

I don't have the answers right now at all. What I can tell you is that we are really focused on ensuring that we are taking a progressive approach to the future of work because we are a cloud-first digital company.

We use our tools. We're customer zero for everything. When we shifted 100% remote in 24 hours, we did it seamlessly, which is incredible.

I just think that we've got to continue to think about digital investments that will ensure that level of productivity, that level of collaboration. Employee experience just becomes more and more important, especially because great employee experience drives great customer experience.

If you think about the employee workplace, safety also is top of mind. I just feel like the future of work and digital investments are going to go hand-in-hand to ensure that collaboration is happening effectively.

Michael Krigsman: You mentioned employee experience and customer experience. When I talk with CIOs, customer experience has really become one of the important topics. I wonder. Can you share any thoughts from a CFO perspective on customer experience?

Gina Mastantuono: ServiceNow is in the business of providing digital tools to help drive fierce customer loyalty and incredible customer experience. I think, now more than ever, customer experience is so important. I think that that will continue to be a huge priority for many companies, but I would also posit that employee experience.

We've been talking about customer experience for a long, long time now. But employee experience, I think, is becoming more important of a talk track in the vein and in the sense of great employee experiences help drive great customer experiences.

When your employees are happy, when your employees love what they're doing, when the employees feel empowered and feel productive, they're going to drive fierce customer loyalty and fierce customer experience. I think, more than ever, companies are realizing that they are interlocked. Driving incredible employee experiences are really going to help drive great customer experiences, drive strong NPS scores, and so I think you're going to see more digital investments on the employee side, as well as the customer side, in the future.

Advice to Chief Information Officers

Michael Krigsman: We have another question from LinkedIn. This is from Lateef Ashekun. He's a CIO. He asks this. He says, "What advice can you give from the CFO perspective to CIOs that need to transform, to modernize their ERP stack, and what should the CIO do if the chief financial officer has not really bought into the "much-needed change"?"

Gina Mastantuono: First of all, I think talking to the CFO in ways and terms that they understand is really critical and important. Return on investment is always going to be where I start.

So, you want to spend all this money. Okay. What's the benefit? What's the return on investment that we're going to get?

It needs to be a rational and reasonable return on investment. There needs to be solid business case behind it. I would try to turn operational type of metrics into dollars and cents.

What do I mean by that? If you're looking to put in an onboarding or offboarding system in HR that's going to really help drive lower attrition or whatever operational metrics you're looking at, how do you turn that into, "Well, if my attrition levels change or go down by 10%, recruiting costs go down"? Turn that into dollars and cents. That always really helps.

I think making sure that they're involved early, and so they're not blindsided by a huge investment ask that hasn't been planned for. Long-term, strategic, two-, three-year planning horizons and what you need to do over that period of time so there are no big surprises and so they can plan for it, that's always going to help a CFO get them buy-in.

Then just really understanding what the overarching impact is to the business and articulating that well, I think, are what I would say is my top advice there.

Michael Krigsman: Let me ask you one more audience question. This is from Lisbeth Shaw who says, "How do you determine how much to invest for each innovation initiative given that not everything will succeed, and how do you tolerate the loss?" It's a complex question, but I'll ask you just to do it really fast.

Gina Mastantuono: I go back to what I talked about earlier about those three horizons. How we do it ServiceNow is 60% is innovation that we know we need. It's commitments that we've made to customers. There's security, keep the lights, you have to do it.

Then we do 30% of those emerging technologies that we expect to see innovation and ROI in two to three years. Then the last 10% is kind of those bigger bets that you're not 100% sure are going to pay off.

I think it's really important to build those relationships with the CIOs, making sure that you are in an understanding what technology investments you're making, what the outcomes are expected, and the CFO's role is really to hold people accountable. Not everything is going to pay off.

You need to know when to shut things down, also. You need to know when to say, "You know what? That's not going to work. Let me cut my losses sooner rather than later."

I like to bucket it and those 60/30/10 is how we do it at ServiceNow.

Women in technology and business

Michael Krigsman: You are a female C-level executive. What do we need to do to encourage other women and companies to accept women as board members, as members of the C-suite, and to just create that kind of diversity?

Gina Mastantuono: That's two questions. Advice for the female leaders who aspire to be corporate leaders, I think is one question. I'll talk there.

When I first started out in finance – and I talk about this a lot – my dream was not to be a CFO. I never even contemplated that. I never thought it was possible.

It might sound shortsighted now, but when I graduated university, there weren't female CFO role models out there. There weren't female CEO role models out there.

What I did know is I wanted to be in business and I wanted job security. So, the way I saw it, regardless of what's going on in the world, accountants are always needed, so I majored in accounting.

After graduation, I headed straight to Ernst & Young. The education I got there was instrumental in getting me where I am now. Since then, my career trajectory has not been the normal kind of upward. It's kind of taken a weird zigzag at times.

For me, it's been about growth and taking risks. The advice I give people is to encourage women to lean into opportunities and take on roles that stretch them and not be afraid to move out of your comfort zone and to be out of your comfort zone.

I can give an example. I joined Revlon. When I joined Revlon, their stock was at an all-time low. I think it was a dollar at the time.

They were going through a massive transition and evolution, but I knew it was going to be a meaty role that would allow me to grow and do things differently. It was this international CFO role. I had never worked internationally before, and I was only in accounting.

It was a big risk, but they took a risk on me. I took a risk on them. That journey ended up being amazing.

I would just say, put yourself outside your comfort zone. Don't be afraid to take risks and have a career that is a little bit of a zigzag if those opportunities arise. If they don't arise, then make them happen. Put yourself out there. Raise your hand for those stretch opportunities or those jobs that no one wants because when you're successful in them, it really helps.

Advice for women on joining boards of directors

Michael Krigsman: What about getting more women on boards? You joined the board of directors of Roblox. What about that?

Gina Mastantuono: Joining Roblox, that just happened in April. It's a great honor, and I'm so excited to help them achieve their vision of really enabling these shared experiences across online and virtual worlds. It's an industry that I don't have a whole lot of experience in, so I'm really excited to learn and to help give my expertise there.

I think it's really important. At ServiceNow, we hold strong to our diversity, inclusion, and belonging values. Diverse, inclusive teams are where everyone belongs and contributes. It's really essential to the success of a company.

I think we need to bring this approach in thinking much more wholeheartedly when it comes to board diversification. I'm really proud that ServiceNow our board is actually comprised of 40% diverse members, and our board makes that a priority. When you make it a priority, you can see the results.

I also think there's a much larger candidate pool if boards changed their strategy when it comes to adding new board members. What happens usually is a board member is going to retire and then they look to the other board members and look into their network to see who they think would be a good add.

If we don't just look at the network of the current board members and look further afield and extend a broader net, I think it really will help drive more diversity.

Does it really have to be someone who was or is a current or former CEO or CFO? Can you extend it to a level below the C-suite? If you do that, you can get access to some really incredible talent.

I think you just have to be open to thinking of candidates and the candidate pool in a different way, but the board has to make it a priority. I'm really proud that the ServiceNow board is doing that. I think Roblox is a great example as well. More and more, hopefully, you'll see more women and underrepresented minorities on boards in the future.

Michael Krigsman: What advice do you have for women who are listening who want to join boards and they're feeling that kind of glass ceiling a little bit?

Gina Mastantuono: As CFO, I was working with some of my investment banks. They kind of know what's going on in the boardroom.

I put myself out there. I let people know that I was interested and looking for boards. There are more and more really incredible organizations that are focused on getting women on boards, so I did my research. Just let everyone in your network know that that's something that is interesting.

I would just be open to different industries. Be open to different types of boards. You can always start on non-for-profit boards and understand how they work. I did that. I was on the board of Susan G. Komen Orange County for a while, so you can start at non-for-profits.

I think it's just getting yourself out there, letting people know that you're interested, and ask around. Put it out there. Your bankers, your lawyer friends, the folks that actually know what's going on in the boardroom can really help you.

Michael Krigsman: All right, well, that's been a fast conversation but, unfortunately, we are out of time. Gina Mastantuono, thank you so much for taking your time to be with us today.

Gina Mastantuono: Thank you so much, Michael. It's been fantastic. I really appreciate you.

Michael Krigsman: Everybody, thank you for watching, especially the folks who asked questions. Your questions were great. Before you go, please subscribe to our YouTube channel, hit the subscribe button at the top of our website so we can send you our newsletter, tell a friend, and check out COXTalk.com. Thank you so much, everybody. Take care. Bye-bye.

Gina Mastantuono: We're all about making the world-of-work work better for people. My role as CFO touches really on all aspects of finance.

Michael Krigsman: Gina Mastantuono, Chief Financial Officer of ServiceNow, what does a CFO actually do? [Laughter]

Gina Mastantuono: You think about accounting, risk, compliance, FP&A, tax and treasury, investor relations, procurement, also workplace services, so everything about the workplace. I'm also responsible for driving our global impact strategy across the country. Those are the main aspects of what I'm responsible for.

Also, it's about working closely with all of my peers across the C-suite, particularly our chief strategy officer, Nick Tzitzon, on strategy and M&A, as well as our CIO, Chris Bedi, to really focus and enact digital transformation initiatives, help plan a safe return to work for our employees, and tons more, as you can imagine.

What does a Chief Financial Officer do?

Michael Krigsman: We have this image of the historical, traditional CIO as kind of like an advanced accountant bean counter, you know, with the green eyeshade. Yet, you're talking about digital transformation. I know that there is the innovation role as well. What's going on with the CIO role, and how accurate does that green eyeshade image?

Gina Mastantuono: The CFO is the image that you are talking about as the bean counter, right? It's definitely an outdated image. I'm definitely not the typical image of a CFO.

We are really no longer just bean counters with the fierce grip on the checkbook. Right now, a major growth driver for many companies is digital transformation and CFOs are playing a key role in not just enabling that transformation but driving it. Being a CFO today is all about strategy, understanding those growth levers that drive the business, and the investments that are needed to get us where we need to go.

It's also about leadership. Gone are the days when all leaders needed was a strong IQ. Today's leaders really need to have a high level of EQ as well. They need to lead with compassion and empathy. Especially in today's COVID-19 environment, leaders must ask every day how they're helping employees navigate the new normal.

What is the CFO leadership role?

Michael Krigsman: I'm slightly taken aback, in a way, to hear you talk about leadership, empathy, driving digital transformation, again because I have, in the back of my mind, the stereotype of a traditional CFO. I guess we could say your role, it's a leadership role with an emphasis on the finances and investing? Is that an accurate way to say it?

Gina Mastantuono: Absolutely. I think the leadership piece is so important and the role of the CFO really has evolved over the last five, ten years. Even in the last year, COVID-19 has really elevated the CFO role.

We're playing a pivotal role in guiding organizations through the crisis. We're essential to the strategic decisions that are going to help our companies not only survive the current climate but come out stronger on the other side.

What I think is especially interesting is that we now must have a stronger understanding of technology. This is especially apparent after COVID-19. Instead of delegating down all the technology work, CFOs are spending more time actually learning it.

If you think about all the data that we have, CFOs have to become immensely data-driven. We're using predictive analytics, for example, and machine learning to really ensure that our initiatives are driving real impact.

In fact, I was actually recently talking with our CIO, Chris Bedi, about the shifting paradigm. For so long, CIOs were told they needed to be more business savvy. But today, it's really the rest of the C-suite that needs to become more comfortable with technology because technology is becoming the business as more companies must really pivot their business models in order to continue to compete and be disruptive in the current landscape.

Michael Krigsman: We have a question from Twitter, from Arsalan Kahn, who is a regular listener. Arsalan, thank you. He always asks such great questions. He says, "How should a CFO balance between digital transformation goals and operational requirements?" He's an enterprise architect, and so he also wants to know, "Do CIOs really need to report to the CFO?"

Let's take the first question first. How do you balance digital transformation strategy against the operational needs?

Gina Mastantuono: In this day and age, it's hard to separate the two. Digital transformation is going to help drive the operations of the company.

As we are thinking about a more distributed workplace, technology is really the enabler of operations, whether it's front office or back office. I think it's hard to split the two. The CFOs who are leaning in and are understanding that, I think, are going to have the most success because I think it's all very intertwined right now.

The other question about, does a CIO have to report in to the CFO, I don't think it has to. We don't have that structure at ServiceNow. But I work very closely and partner very closely with our CIO on all aspects of digital transformation, of course.

Why is the CFO / CIO relationship important?

Michael Krigsman: Why? Why do you partner so closely with him? Why is that particular relationship so important to you?

Gina Mastantuono: I think, at the end of the day, so much of what we're doing and so much of what we're trying to lean in on digital transformation if you don't have alignment with that CIO really, really early in the process, you're not going to enable the great outcomes that I know that we need to achieve. That alignment is especially critical today more so than ever.

I'm really, really blessed and lucky that I have such an incredible CIO like Chris. We partner really from the get-go. Before we even budget for projects, we talk about what the business needs are and what business challenge we're trying to solve. Then we work together to ensure that we have the investment dollars required, that we have the bandwidth of the people because one piece of it is investment dollars; the other piece of it is making sure that you have the capacity internally to drive it.

If you're funding things and the company is not ready to manage it, then it's a waste of money. Really understanding that from the get-go. Then on the other side when we're finalizing, making sure that we're really holding the organization accountable for the ROI, for the outcomes that we talked about at the beginning of the project, working together from start to finish is really going to help that.

Michael Krigsman: You are working carefully, closely with him looking at the underlying strategy: What are we trying to achieve? Then all the way through the kind of operational planning and setup.

Gina Mastantuono: Yes. Exactly. All the way to the end to managing the outcomes and ensuring that we're getting the outcomes that we expect from these projects upfront.

Michael Krigsman: I can easily see that that would be a very successful way of working because you've got technology execution and finance in lockstep from the way the project is constructed based on the business needs all the way through to the end.

Gina Mastantuono: Exactly. The CFO and CIO, that relationship, it's the connected tissue really that helps organizations see around the curve to predict some of these issues, to understand what we need to do in the future. It drives value cross-functionally and across the different organizations within the company.

Really, we are pushing our teams to be more collaborative, right? If you're not working across the company and you're just focused on one area, you're not going to have the great outcomes that digital transformation can actually drive.

Michael Krigsman: Then a big part of this, as well, there's kind of a natural breaking down of silos by that partnership you've been describing.

Gina Mastantuono: Absolutely. Absolutely. It needs to. Those silos have to be broken down if you're really looking for successful digital transformation.

Why is the CFO the Chief Transformation Officer?

Michael Krigsman: Gina, you have called the CFO the chief transformation officer. What did you mean by that?

Gina Mastantuono: In this new world where we see COVID, it's really elevated the role of CFO. I talk about chief transformation officer because I think we have one of the most impactful roles in really enabling that transformation both quickly and effectively.

CFOs, you talked about it earlier, right? You talked about that image of the bean counter. We used to get the reputation of instinctively saying no to new technologies, change, and new investments, really, effectively, stymieing the growth of the company.

Instead of being a roadblock or gatekeeper, CFOs are really becoming an accelerant of impactful change, which I think has been especially true during COVID. I think that we have a unique perspective and a unique ability to really help drive it as opposed to being that roadblock.

Michael Krigsman: You know it's funny to hear you describe it that way because the CIO role has also been described as the keeper of no. Is there a cultural change that has to take place for a chief financial officer to adopt this kind of innovation forward mindset that you've just been describing?

Gina Mastantuono: I think it's happening. I think it's happened already. I think that finance has been and needs to make innovation a priority. I think most CFOs have seen that. The companies that are choosing to hoard their resources and not invest, I think are the ones who are going to have a real problem coming out of this crisis stronger.

Investing in R&D, investing in these types of digital efforts, and digitization not only improves their products but also helps develop new offerings, new business models. If you think about Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, they're all companies who have achieved sustained success by making innovation an imperative. It really helps result in new products, new services, and revenue streams.

We talked about the example of Disney+ all the time. Theme parks, movie theaters, everything closed, but had they not invested prior to COVID in what they needed to do for Disney+, they'd be in a very different spot today.

The best CFOs today, I think, are really taking a focus on understanding the balance between investment in innovation and weighing that really strongly against the costs. I think it's a culture shift—to your point, Michael—that's here already.

Cross-team collaboration and the CFO

Michael Krigsman: We have another question, from LinkedIn this time, a really interesting one. This is from Simone Jo Moore. She says, "As a leader, how do you draw in collaboration across silos when teams have incentives to do their own thing and there's also just the natural propensity of some people that are not comfortable with that kind of cross-team collaboration? How do you do it?" I hope I've summarized her question correctly.

Gina Mastantuono: Building relationships within the organization (not just within your teams) just becomes more and more important, I think, as you rise as a leader. It goes back to my first point I made earlier on the EQ being as important as the IQ becoming more and more important. I think building those relationships and understanding that collaborating cross-functionally is the best way to ensure the right and the best outcomes, I think is a huge part of the future of leadership and the future of CFOs and how they think.

I think the key is to never lose sight of the bigger picture and to always know that people are coming to work to do their best job and their best work every day. And so, to put yourself in their shoes and to think about collaboration in an empathetic way as opposed to just focusing on what you need to do to get your job done but understanding that if you're helping others achieve their goals, you're going to all get to a better place in really achieving the wider company goals. Does that make sense, Michael?

Michael Krigsman: It makes perfect sense. Again, it sounds like your North Star always is the underlying business strategy, and then the pieces that fall into place (including finance) support that business strategy. You approach it from that leadership standpoint.

Gina Mastantuono: Absolutely. By the way, you have to do that because if you're not doing that, then if everything becomes a priority then nothing is a priority. We hear that all the time. If you're able to go back to the strategy and what you're trying to achieve as a company, I think that has to be the North Star for all CFOs – absolutely.

Michael Krigsman: On Twitter, Mike Sanchez says, "How can a CFO balance the pressure of enabling rapid growth without the company getting too far in front of their skis, and how does this vary by sector?"

Gina Mastantuono: I think the question is really about the balance between investment and innovation against how do you make sure, from a profitability perspective, you're not getting out in front of your skis. I think one of the keys is to never lose sight of the bigger picture. CFOs, while they're always focused on the numbers, obviously—especially reducing expenses sometimes—if they don't think about innovation, they can really miss out on opportunities by staying on the sidelines.

We are really lucky at ServiceNow. We have what we call NowX is our incubation hub for new innovation and technology that we actually anticipate will generate $100+ million in annual contract value revenue coming up.

We're introducing new verticals and new products. In 2022, we'll continue to introduce new industries.

We've built this whole NowX incubation organically. Because we've been able to innovate organically on one platform (as opposed to lots of acquisitions) it actually enables us to drive more leverage in the business and it's one of the reasons why ServiceNow has such an incredible profitability model.

Modern CFOs, I think, are really learning that they need to understand the importance of continuous innovation and really thinking about these digitization projects through the lens of maximizing value to the business. I think there's more upside to growing the pie versus saving each crumb.

We think about R&D investments in a couple of different buckets. I think it helps me to think about it this way.

We have R&D, for example, we call Horizon 1, when we expect to see ROI on those investments within a year. That's about 60% of our spend.

Then we have Horizon 2. That's emerging technologies and new products for future growth. We expect to see ROI in one to three years. That's about 30% of our spend.

Then we have this Horizon 3. It's future bets on next-generation technologies for future growth. We hope to see ROI on that in three to five years. That's about 10% of our spend.

We need to be really comfortable sometimes, as CFOs, understanding that we need to experiment and not every project is going to yield the ROI that you anticipate. You need to give the company some freedom to be able to do that.

Now, if you are collaborating cross-functionally (like I talked about earlier) and really working across the C-suite with your CIOs and your chief revenue officer and your chief product officers, you're really able to ensure that you are more comfortable making those bets and experimenting.

Balancing short-term needs vs. long-term investment

Michael Krigsman: It sounds like, in your role as CFO, you've been able to introduce a certain kind of discipline to help balance the crucial importance—especially for a technology company—of near term, mid-term, and then farther longer out innovation against the equally important requirement of financial restraint. It sounds like you've been very disciplined balancing these.

Gina Mastantuono: It's part of the job, for sure. I think that I am also super blessed to have an incredible executive leadership team who understands that balance as well.

It's also a different conversation at a high-growth technology company like ServiceNow. There's not a whole lot of tension because technology is what we sell, so we have to invest.

For CFOs at other companies, I think the tension is actually much harder. If I think about industries where I came from, my past experiences with much different profit margin type of companies—tech distribution, consumer goods, media, for example—at those companies the R&D investments don't always hit the top-line immediately. It becomes a lot about cost savings and productivity.

But as IT becomes the business more and more, regardless of what industry you're in, as every company becomes a software company, CFOs have really got to start thinking differently about the investment in R&D and technology than they even did just one and two years ago. If you think about customer and employee experience, as that becomes more and more critical, technology investments will remain more important to ensure you're protecting your top-line as well as growing it.

I think that, again, it comes back to the overarching strategy. That discipline is always in full view of a CFO, but I actually think that more CFOs are leaning into investing more than ever before, really as a function of the challenging climate. I think it's super important that the CFO play the role in aligning the organization and the organization's culture so that it's not dominated by the efficiency experts looking for cost reductions or the innovation hogs who only want top-line. There does really need to be a balance and everyone needs to be on the same page.

At ServiceNow, we've been able to balance that growth and profitability. I think the sustained strength of our topline growth is really the result of consistent execution across the organization, from our sales teams to our engineers to our customer success teams and everyone in between. That alignment is so important.

Michael Krigsman: I will say to my many CIO friends that if your CFO has these kinds of inclinations (I'm sure you're doing this already) being friends with her or him is probably not a bad idea because that balance, striking that balance between the need for innovation and fiscal responsibility and to do it in a way that's reasonable, I mean what a great thing for the tech people, for the whole company.

Gina Mastantuono: That's why that relationship between CFO and CIO is so important. I completely agree, Michael.

Talent management, human resources, and the CFO

Michael Krigsman: We have another question from Twitter. The questions are starting to stack up now. This is from Greg Houser who asks, "What is the CFO's role in creating a culture that prioritizes talent?"

Gina Mastantuono: Talent is a huge pillar of our overarching strategy. When we talked earlier, Michael, about everything aligning to the global strategy, at ServiceNow we have five pillars.

Our people and talent are one of the five pillars. In my finance organization, I put it as the center pillar because I think it's critical.

We say, "Teamwork makes the dream work," here, and it's about not only recruiting incredible talent, but retaining, developing, and ensuring that we are developing the leaders of the future. I think it's a critical aspect of what CFOs have to be focused on today – always.

Michael Krigsman: Bhagirath Kumar Lader asks, "Should RPA initiatives start with a center of excellence or should we just start with individual use cases?" I think it doesn't have to be just RPA. Any kind of technology, do you start by building the center of excellence and building up that talent, or do you try sort of ad hoc use cases? What's the best approach?

Gina Mastantuono: It depends on the organization, right? I can tell you that, at my prior employer, we started out with use cases but then were building up a small center of excellence to manage it. If you don't do that, then you're going to be reliant on consultants. While I love my consultants – don't get me wrong – when you're really thinking about digital transformation and automation, you want to be able to manage that internally.

I think that how I've done it in the past is specific use cases to start. Make sure it makes sense. But then build up a small (not enormous, but small) center of excellence.

Every company is different and every culture is different. I think it really depends. But that's worked for me in the past.

Michael Krigsman: Arsalan Khan says, "If people are as productive at home as they are in the office, then why is there a push to go back to the office?" He says, "Is this a CapEx issue? For example, real estate. Is it something else? Why aren't companies thinking more about remote and cloud-first as we transition back to this next economy?"

Gina Mastantuono: Most companies are thinking about this. I know at ServiceNow it's something that we think about and talk about every day.

I don't think it's a real estate issue. I think the issue is productivity and culture, maintaining the culture. It's ensuring that the early career folks are able to continue to develop and learn. I know when I learned (coming up through the ranks), a lot of it was the in-person interaction that I had with leaders.

I think there's a huge debate, and I actually think that the future of work is going to be much more hybrid than ever before. I don't know that it's going to be 100% remote. I think that there are roles where 100% remote makes a lot of sense. But I do think—and I certainly see this at ServiceNow—that a lot of people are missing that interaction of being in the office and those conversations that happened as you were passing each other in the hallway. That piece is missing.

We're experimenting with many different ways of working. We are absolutely talking about return to work because, by the way, there are a lot of employees that want to come back to the office. They feel more productive in the office. We're thinking about how to make everyone more productive.

We want to give people the option of returning to the office, being hybrid, working remote, but I absolutely think that the future of work is going to be much more of a hybrid model, a distributed workforce. If that's the case, digital transformation becomes even more important than ever.

How do we ensure productivity and collaboration? How do we ensure that culture remains intact? We're going to have to have these incredible digital tools help us through that. I think more companies than you think of are actually thinking about how to do things differently.

Even at ServiceNow, functionally, they'll be different. Engineers who have to whiteboard and create products and get in rooms together to really think about things, I think they'll be in the office more than maybe some of the back-office functions that can be in the office only a day or two a week.

We're talking about it internally and talking about experimenting with new ways of working without coming up with one. But it'll be a push-pull with the employees to see what makes sense. I absolutely think that there is going to be a shift and a distributed workforce is going to be more and more relevant in the future, for sure.

Michael Krigsman: I recently was part of a Webinar for Slack. One of the issues that came up was the difficulty in figuring out how do you establish this kind of informal sense of communication or community, as you were just alluding to. I've had this question come up a number of times. Do you have any quick thoughts or advice on that, on how to do that?

Gina Mastantuono: It's interesting. I think, in this increasingly distributed and hybrid world that we're going to be looking at, we've got to focus. Companies are going to focus on creating these frictionless experiences. How do we ensure that people are collaborating effectively and being productive but, at the same time, coming together for moments that matter for a cultural perspective?

We take culture really seriously at ServiceNow. It's one of the reasons why I love this company so much because the culture is amazing. It's a very hungry and humble culture. I think that thinking about ensuring that collaboration, ensuring that we're able to be together for the moments that matter, that we can still drive that same feeling of culture and that same feeling of collaboration and working together is going to be really important.

I don't have the answers right now at all. What I can tell you is that we are really focused on ensuring that we are taking a progressive approach to the future of work because we are a cloud-first digital company.

We use our tools. We're customer zero for everything. When we shifted 100% remote in 24 hours, we did it seamlessly, which is incredible.

I just think that we've got to continue to think about digital investments that will ensure that level of productivity, that level of collaboration. Employee experience just becomes more and more important, especially because great employee experience drives great customer experience.

If you think about the employee workplace, safety also is top of mind. I just feel like the future of work and digital investments are going to go hand-in-hand to ensure that collaboration is happening effectively.

Michael Krigsman: You mentioned employee experience and customer experience. When I talk with CIOs, customer experience has really become one of the important topics. I wonder. Can you share any thoughts from a CFO perspective on customer experience?

Gina Mastantuono: ServiceNow is in the business of providing digital tools to help drive fierce customer loyalty and incredible customer experience. I think, now more than ever, customer experience is so important. I think that that will continue to be a huge priority for many companies, but I would also posit that employee experience.

We've been talking about customer experience for a long, long time now. But employee experience, I think, is becoming more important of a talk track in the vein and in the sense of great employee experiences help drive great customer experiences.

When your employees are happy, when your employees love what they're doing, when the employees feel empowered and feel productive, they're going to drive fierce customer loyalty and fierce customer experience. I think, more than ever, companies are realizing that they are interlocked. Driving incredible employee experiences are really going to help drive great customer experiences, drive strong NPS scores, and so I think you're going to see more digital investments on the employee side, as well as the customer side, in the future.

Advice to Chief Information Officers

Michael Krigsman: We have another question from LinkedIn. This is from Lateef Ashekun. He's a CIO. He asks this. He says, "What advice can you give from the CFO perspective to CIOs that need to transform, to modernize their ERP stack, and what should the CIO do if the chief financial officer has not really bought into the "much-needed change"?"

Gina Mastantuono: First of all, I think talking to the CFO in ways and terms that they understand is really critical and important. Return on investment is always going to be where I start.

So, you want to spend all this money. Okay. What's the benefit? What's the return on investment that we're going to get?

It needs to be a rational and reasonable return on investment. There needs to be solid business case behind it. I would try to turn operational type of metrics into dollars and cents.

What do I mean by that? If you're looking to put in an onboarding or offboarding system in HR that's going to really help drive lower attrition or whatever operational metrics you're looking at, how do you turn that into, "Well, if my attrition levels change or go down by 10%, recruiting costs go down"? Turn that into dollars and cents. That always really helps.

I think making sure that they're involved early, and so they're not blindsided by a huge investment ask that hasn't been planned for. Long-term, strategic, two-, three-year planning horizons and what you need to do over that period of time so there are no big surprises and so they can plan for it, that's always going to help a CFO get them buy-in.

Then just really understanding what the overarching impact is to the business and articulating that well, I think, are what I would say is my top advice there.

Michael Krigsman: Let me ask you one more audience question. This is from Lisbeth Shaw who says, "How do you determine how much to invest for each innovation initiative given that not everything will succeed, and how do you tolerate the loss?" It's a complex question, but I'll ask you just to do it really fast.

Gina Mastantuono: I go back to what I talked about earlier about those three horizons. How we do it ServiceNow is 60% is innovation that we know we need. It's commitments that we've made to customers. There's security, keep the lights, you have to do it.

Then we do 30% of those emerging technologies that we expect to see innovation and ROI in two to three years. Then the last 10% is kind of those bigger bets that you're not 100% sure are going to pay off.

I think it's really important to build those relationships with the CIOs, making sure that you are in an understanding what technology investments you're making, what the outcomes are expected, and the CFO's role is really to hold people accountable. Not everything is going to pay off.

You need to know when to shut things down, also. You need to know when to say, "You know what? That's not going to work. Let me cut my losses sooner rather than later."

I like to bucket it and those 60/30/10 is how we do it at ServiceNow.

Women in technology and business

Michael Krigsman: You are a female C-level executive. What do we need to do to encourage other women and companies to accept women as board members, as members of the C-suite, and to just create that kind of diversity?

Gina Mastantuono: That's two questions. Advice for the female leaders who aspire to be corporate leaders, I think is one question. I'll talk there.

When I first started out in finance – and I talk about this a lot – my dream was not to be a CFO. I never even contemplated that. I never thought it was possible.

It might sound shortsighted now, but when I graduated university, there weren't female CFO role models out there. There weren't female CEO role models out there.

What I did know is I wanted to be in business and I wanted job security. So, the way I saw it, regardless of what's going on in the world, accountants are always needed, so I majored in accounting.

After graduation, I headed straight to Ernst & Young. The education I got there was instrumental in getting me where I am now. Since then, my career trajectory has not been the normal kind of upward. It's kind of taken a weird zigzag at times.

For me, it's been about growth and taking risks. The advice I give people is to encourage women to lean into opportunities and take on roles that stretch them and not be afraid to move out of your comfort zone and to be out of your comfort zone.

I can give an example. I joined Revlon. When I joined Revlon, their stock was at an all-time low. I think it was a dollar at the time.

They were going through a massive transition and evolution, but I knew it was going to be a meaty role that would allow me to grow and do things differently. It was this international CFO role. I had never worked internationally before, and I was only in accounting.

It was a big risk, but they took a risk on me. I took a risk on them. That journey ended up being amazing.

I would just say, put yourself outside your comfort zone. Don't be afraid to take risks and have a career that is a little bit of a zigzag if those opportunities arise. If they don't arise, then make them happen. Put yourself out there. Raise your hand for those stretch opportunities or those jobs that no one wants because when you're successful in them, it really helps.

Advice for women on joining boards of directors

Michael Krigsman: What about getting more women on boards? You joined the board of directors of Roblox. What about that?

Gina Mastantuono: Joining Roblox, that just happened in April. It's a great honor, and I'm so excited to help them achieve their vision of really enabling these shared experiences across online and virtual worlds. It's an industry that I don't have a whole lot of experience in, so I'm really excited to learn and to help give my expertise there.

I think it's really important. At ServiceNow, we hold strong to our diversity, inclusion, and belonging values. Diverse, inclusive teams are where everyone belongs and contributes. It's really essential to the success of a company.

I think we need to bring this approach in thinking much more wholeheartedly when it comes to board diversification. I'm really proud that ServiceNow our board is actually comprised of 40% diverse members, and our board makes that a priority. When you make it a priority, you can see the results.

I also think there's a much larger candidate pool if boards changed their strategy when it comes to adding new board members. What happens usually is a board member is going to retire and then they look to the other board members and look into their network to see who they think would be a good add.

If we don't just look at the network of the current board members and look further afield and extend a broader net, I think it really will help drive more diversity.

Does it really have to be someone who was or is a current or former CEO or CFO? Can you extend it to a level below the C-suite? If you do that, you can get access to some really incredible talent.

I think you just have to be open to thinking of candidates and the candidate pool in a different way, but the board has to make it a priority. I'm really proud that the ServiceNow board is doing that. I think Roblox is a great example as well. More and more, hopefully, you'll see more women and underrepresented minorities on boards in the future.

Michael Krigsman: What advice do you have for women who are listening who want to join boards and they're feeling that kind of glass ceiling a little bit?

Gina Mastantuono: As CFO, I was working with some of my investment banks. They kind of know what's going on in the boardroom.

I put myself out there. I let people know that I was interested and looking for boards. There are more and more really incredible organizations that are focused on getting women on boards, so I did my research. Just let everyone in your network know that that's something that is interesting.

I would just be open to different industries. Be open to different types of boards. You can always start on non-for-profit boards and understand how they work. I did that. I was on the board of Susan G. Komen Orange County for a while, so you can start at non-for-profits.

I think it's just getting yourself out there, letting people know that you're interested, and ask around. Put it out there. Your bankers, your lawyer friends, the folks that actually know what's going on in the boardroom can really help you.

Michael Krigsman: All right, well, that's been a fast conversation but, unfortunately, we are out of time. Gina Mastantuono, thank you so much for taking your time to be with us today.

Gina Mastantuono: Thank you so much, Michael. It's been fantastic. I really appreciate you.

Michael Krigsman: Everybody, thank you for watching, especially the folks who asked questions. Your questions were great. Before you go, please subscribe to our YouTube channel, hit the subscribe button at the top of our website so we can send you our newsletter, tell a friend, and check out COXTalk.com. Thank you so much, everybody. Take care. Bye-bye.