top of page
  • Writer's pictureGayle Draper ICHR

The Journey to CFO Private Equity

Navigating a Career Change through Professional Consulting and

Securing a CFO Role in Private Equity

He is a seasoned Accountant with experience as an owner and as a partner in the professional services industry.

As a Fractional CFO, he also has abundant people skills and is a natural at teaching and mentoring. He felt unsuccessful in his last role, feeling adrift and unsure of his abilities. He needed a strategy to find out how to move forward with confidence.

The Challenge from his Perspective

What could work look like for me in my late fifties? Should I secure work as a Fractional CFO or create a business? How do I better manage relationships with fellow senior executives and decision-makers? How do I find balance for my family and myself? Should I be transitioning into retirement?

Intentional Career and Coaching Conversations

We began with a DISC Leadership assessment and uncovered his high IC style, which comes with a bevy of people skills valuable to almost any occupation. As his technical expertise was supported by his CPA designation, we had plenty of strengths to focus on.

We referred to the DISC content often as plenty of “aha” moments erupted, shining a spotlight on what was a challenging relationship in his previous role, and what he could have done differently.

Armed with these new insights surrounding how he could better leverage his people skills, he decided to steer himself towards consulting rather than a job search. Previously, he had an ownership role in a larger accounting firm, however, ownership and consulting require different approaches.

Using Intentional Careers HR’s Open For Business Checklist as well as our Entrepreneurial Assessment, we worked with his strengths and determined which areas to outsource to develop a successful business strategy.

Exploring the Labour Market and Informational Interviews

We had initially begun a job search plan, but after deciding that he wanted to launch a consulting business offering Fractional CFO services in the construction management industry, we needed to adjust our strategy. Luckily, our existing research was relevant and valuable to his marketing program for his business plan.

The Learning Plan

We pivoted our learning plan from job searching into start-up mode with a powerful networking strategy. Educated as a Chartered Professional Accountant and being a member of key organizations, he excelled at reigniting his existing network which helped him engage his customer avatar: a medium-sized business in the construction industry.

Branding for the Career Niche

After writing the business plan, we built the marketing tools for his business:

  • 1 page marketing resume

  • Professional biography

  • Dynamic LinkedIn profile

  • Targeted LinkedIn company page

The Pandemic Affect

The pandemic put many industries on hold, and securing contracts was a new challenge in uncertain times. However, Zoom was an invaluable resource. Guest speaking opportunities as a subject matter expert in his targeted industry offered another platform to market his brand and his services.

Being a natural networker with exceptional contacts in the finance industry, he soon began meeting with potential clients.

With his newly built website, bio, resume, and foundational business documents, he was able to market his business and respond with professional service proposals.

The Next Chapter

His consulting business secured a short-term contract with a private equity company that needed his expertise.

He delivered with excellence and received a full-time job offer! He found that he enjoyed building his department and the people within it. His desk is dynamic with multiple projects, and he has hit his stride.

His Reflections

While we were reviewing his journey, I asked him to think about what made the biggest impact:

  • The consistent motivation and accountability provided by a coach and a plan are important to his DISC style.

  • Development of a job search strategy to ground him.

  • Interview coaching to target and streamline my responses.

  • Walking beside me throughout the journey from looking at employment to building a successful consulting business, to bringing the two together with a full-time job offer.

  • Trust, sincerity, and a “gosh you get me, Gayle” approach.

  • Continued weekly coaching to implement a DISC approach to workplace relationships and leadership skill development.

The Road Trip

When I begin coaching relationships, I define it as a road trip. The people I work with choose the direction and we drive momentum forward together but I am always in the passenger seat with options and suggestions for consideration.

They choose the pace and learn how to navigate as I coach them through a unique career transition.

My role as their Career Transition Coach is to challenge them, cheer for them, and sometimes catch them before a stumble. Some people have never driven their career or realized they could. They have idled in the back seat or trunk waiting for a solution to happen without striving for it. My goal is to give driving lessons during our road trip and define a continued career path that is anchored in confidence for the future journey.


Career Stories - A summer series of inspirational career transitions |

My goal is to inspire our readers. If you found this helpful, please share it with others.


bottom of page