Margaret Thatcher is her hero, but Portia Kersten did not get to be the Skout’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) as any kind of groupie. For many years now Kersten has learned from some of the best on how to move a company to maximum growth by raising capital, scaling internal operations up, and planning successful exit strategies. She has turned her Columbia University MBA into a tool for her leadership at Skout.
Kersten came from humble roots, but still had a voracious reading habit that added fuel to her already fiery imagination. She compares herself to scrappy Charles Dickens characters. Even Portia, Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’ character became a role model for her. She has worked for many different sizes of companies and styles of business, such as General Electric (GE) and a series of start-up companies. Each company has brought challenges to her. Kersten thinks her prowess with applications of pattern recognition is a major key to her success. She applies herself without too much careful planning for hitting the right balance, both in her private and professional life. Her favorite saying is: “efficiency in all things.”
She enjoys working with Skout’s funding firm, Andreessen Horowitz, and is impressed with Skout’s talented and intelligent staff members. She says everyone at Skout is dedicated to making the company become: ‘built to last.’ Her advice to other women who want to become a CFO: you must embrace versatility, that is, be a business person whose secondary responsibility is in finance. You must have patience, do not be a follower, and always challenge the status quo. If someone dismisses your leadership, gravitate towards those who do not. Much of this information is from an interview on the Huffington Post.
Skout produces the very popular Skout application. It is designed to connect people and events via social media. It is available in 180 countries with support for 16 languages of the world. It assists anyone in finding entertainment venues and connecting with other like-minded people. Founded in 2007, the Skout app now runs on iOS, Windows, and Android devices of various types.
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