Ep. 11 – Jennifer Elder: President At the Sustainable CFO

I’m excited to have my long-time friend and colleague, Jennifer Elder of SustainableCFO.com, joining me today. With her on the show, you’re guaranteed to walk away with many nuggets of wisdom.

At the Sustainable CFO, Jennifer works with smart business leaders who are interested in developing strategies to ensure their businesses are around for the long haul. Today’s CFO’s and CEO’s can get so overwhelmed with putting out day to day fires that they don’t think about what’s coming in the future.

Jennifer’s role as a coach to CEO’s and CFO’s is two-fold:

  1. Supporter and confidence builder – With Jennifer in their corner, they don’t have to go it alone. She aids them as a confidant and sounding board for ideas that they can’t bring up to their teams in the workplace. It helps to know that Jennifer has “been there, done that” with anything that might be causing problems.
  2. She offers a different perspective – she doesn’t see things the way the others in the organization do, she has an experienced outsider’s perspective. She can use this to point out blind spots that her clients are missing.

With so many millennials in the workplace nowadays, Jennifer has some great advice to help them move up from middle-management. “You’re not there just to do a job, you’re there to make your boss look good.” Millennials are in the perfect spot to ask their bosses, “What is it that you hate to do? If you could delegate something, what would that be?” Once you find this out, ask to take this task over then deliver on it the way your boss would like. This will elevate you in the organization’s eyes and make you an indispensable employee.

Middle managers can also look at their department or organization as a whole, figure out where their contributions and skills can make it stronger, then set about doing just that. Utilize your strengths over fixing your weaknesses.

Jennifer learned an important lesson from her father when she first entered the workforce, “The definition of a professional is someone who does their best work when they don’t want to.” We all need to realize that every day at work is an interview, and even when you don’t want to be there, you’re still being interviewed.

One thing she can hear from clients is that they don’t understand people. Well, this is a people business we’re in. We’ve got a big variety of people in the workplace now, from millennials to baby-boomers, and the most effective leaders are able to adjust, improvise and think on their feet to be able to make better connections with somebody. People are more likely to hear what you have to say if you approach it from their perspective. “If you want to be heard, you have to adapt your style to theirs.”

I had a really great talk and I can’t thank Jennifer enough for her time today. She exceeded all expectations and I’m sure we’ll have her back on the show again soon.




  • How Jennifer supports her clients
  • How having an outside perspective can illuminate opportunities never realized from those within
  • How focusing on strengths over weaknesses can lead to success within an organization
  • Why it’s important to understand the different generations working in today’s world
  • Plus much more…