Listen & Learn from Veteran VC CFOs/COOs

NVCA successfully hosted its sixth annual Strategic Operations and Policy Summit in Washington, D.C., earlier this month. The 1.5-day conference, developed in collaboration with NVCA’s CFO Taskforce, attracted 110+ senior operators from North American venture firms.

The big picture: According to Jim Stewart, CFO of True Ventures, the event is “unparalleled in terms of its focus on technical topics, best practices, and industry-related policy updates” for this unique stakeholder group.

The program culminated with a veteran CFO and COO panel moderated by Pacific Western Bank’s Kay Parry. The discussion focused on giving senior operators impactful advice to enhance their partnerships.

Three takeaways:

  • Keep your ears to the ground: Kristen Laguerre of Boston-based MPM Ventures gets her best intel from the “lunch line.” She utilizes skills in communication to develop empathy for her colleagues by asking questions and actively listening. She finds this to be more impactful than getting information from ubiquitous email memos.
  • Don’t know everything: Blake Koriath excels in his role as CFO at High Alpha because he hasn’t mastered 100%. New challenges arise on a daily basis, and the unknown motivates him to continue to learn, grow, and add value to his partnership.
  • Leave your ego at the door: Sue Biglieri of Kleiner Perkins has been in the industry for decades and reminded the attendees to remain grounded.

Why it matters: These lessons play a helpful role for senior operators of varying skill sets. We hope the 110+ senior operations professionals at the event all left Washington feeling inspired with new skills, best practices, and ideas to bring back to their venture firms.

What’s next: Stay tuned for more information on our next program iteration, tentatively scheduled for Q4 2023.

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Robin serves as the Communications Manager at the National Venture Capital Association, where she enhances day-to-day external and internal relations for NVCA while utilizing her expertise in content creation, storytelling, and data to elevate NVCA’s long-term communications strategy. As a conscientious leader, Robin is integral to the forward-looking investments NVCA makes in the greater venture capital and startup communities.