I never expected to be the CFO of a cutting edge PR firm, but if thereís one thing Iíve learned from life, itís that you canít plan it out ahead of time. When I graduated with a degree in English from Columbia I had no idea what I wanted to do. I interviewed in a variety of industries Ė publishing, advertising, finance Ė and was offered jobs in all three. I finally settled on an entry level position in the investment partnership of Sanford C. Bernstein and Co. The job was challenging, the salary was adequate, and (this was crucial at the time), the company cafeteria offered free breakfast and lunch. I stayed at Bernstein for 15 years, eventually becoming a senior portfolio manager and chief operating officer of its fixed income department. I learned a great deal in my years there Ė to analyze investments and balance sheets with care and integrity, to communicate effectively with clients and treat them with the highest level of ethics, and perhaps most important of all, the great value of partnership and collaboration.
Eventually Bernstein merged with Alliance Capital to form Alliance Bernstein, an event that signaled the end of the unique culture that had formed me as an investment professional. Most of my closest friends and colleagues, many of whom Iíd worked with for 10 years or more, were leaving, and I was confronted with another unexpected opportunity. For years Iíd dreamed of being a professional singer. Iíd studied voice for many years, and had performed professionally as often as I could even as I built a career on Wall Street. I could now pursue my passion for music full time. For a time I was the executive director of the Lyric Chamber Music Society of New York, but my primary focus was on performing, which I did regularly, often appearing in concert with my wife Darcy. Eventually I created a series of musical revues for the Catskill Mountain Foundation in Hunter, NY. And thatís how I met Peter Finn.
Peter and I shared the dream of bringing first-rate performing arts to our beloved Catskill Mountains. For years we worked together on the board of the Catskill Mountain Foundation, and for a time I served as the CFO if that organization. When Peter asked me if I would help him plan the launch of a new PR firm called Finn Partners, it was yet another unexpected opportunity that was too interesting to pass up. I knew and admired the team he was working with, and had great respect for the potential for growth and success that come with a true partnership. Now, as CFO, I can help build that kind of partnership, and contribute to its success. Itís a great opportunity, and a great privilege.