Shannon has a passion for the firm’s mission statement, To Enrich Lives. It was embedded in her values and vision when she founded CFO Strategic Partners in 1999, and today is at the core of every major decision she and her team make within the firm. Shannon now brings her expertise, creative strengths, and strategic talents to the firm, serving as its CEO. She ensures that the growth of the company and its constant evolution are focused on helping owners of middle-market sized companies achieve their dreams and giving her team the opportunity to be the very best they can be.
Shannon’s background includes working with KPMG Peat Warwick in their audit team and several years in the banking realm, including commercial lending with United Heritage Bank and Colonial Bank.
Shannon is recognized by various CEO organizations as a featured speaker and has conducted educational seminars for hundreds of CEOs focusing on giving them the tools they need to run their business. Her presentation entitled “CFO Tools for the CEO, Stop Blind-Casting and Start Sight-Fishing” has received high ratings from numerous CEO groups. In addition to this topic, she has conducted seminars and educational sessions on topics including banking, cash flow, and financial analysis. She has served on dozens of panels as an expert on topics ranging from entrepreneurship, women in the workplace, emerging companies, and financial strategies; however, she is most proud of her firm receiving an award for one of Orlando’s Best Places to Work (OBJ 2016)
“I have a passion for helping the business owner achieve his or her vision for the organization and being a part of making their dreams come true,” Shannon says. “I feel blessed to be surrounded by an incredible team and to have the opportunity to do what I love every day.” -Shannon
Nick’s background includes a combination of skills as a CPA, Entrepreneur/CEO, and investment banker. Nick began his career as a CPA with KPMG. As Senior Manager, Assurance Services, he conducted audit and assurance engagements as well as mergers & acquisition engagements.
As a founding principal in of PCE Investment Bankers, a Florida-based investment banking firm, Nick represented numerous clients in mergers & acquisitions and private placements. He also spearheaded the establishment of the firm’s business valuation practice.
In addition to Nick’s financial foundation, his entrepreneurial spirit crafted and created Touch Vodka, a locally sourced, small-batch distillery where he specialized in vodka and gin. He won national recognition from the San Francisco World of Spirits Competition, earning a gold medal. In 2012, Nick successfully exited his company with a sale to a Florida-based investment group and returned to investment banking where he could help other Entrepreneurs realize their value.
Nick joined the team of CFO Strategic Partners to focus on the firm’s operations and to create internal systems and proprietary tools to ensure we maximize the value for each client. In addition, because of his investment banking roots, Nick provides direction to our team and CEOs on exit strategies, M&A, and ensures we remain focused on what truly drives corporate value.
“I believe strongly in our value proposition because our clients have access to strategic financial support at a fraction of the cost of hiring one full-time. I also love working with CEOs to determine what truly drives the value in their companies and to create plans that ensure we remain focused on maximizing shareholder return and corporate value.” – Nick
Carrie is passionate about working with growing companies. Whether it is an early stage organization looking to raise capital or a $1.5B dollar enterprise posturing for their IPO, her experience spans the organizational maturity lifecycle. Before joining CFO Strategic Partners, Carrie held the title of Director- Financial Planning & Analysis for a publicly traded global publishing company with more than $1.9B revenue and over 5,100 employees. Carrie has worked across industry verticals specializing not only in academic publishing, higher education, and scholarly fields, but also has experience in wealth management, nonprofits, and technology sectors. She worked at Federally Registered Investment Advisory (RIA) firms where she was CFO for National Advisory Services overseeing more than $1B AUM and 10 offices nationwide including 3 subsidiaries. As a Senior Tax Associate for KPMG in the early 2000s, Carrie oversaw a host of functional operations for multiple clients as a public accountant. She prepared individual, C-corporation, S-corporation, partnership, state, intangible, tangible, and nonprofit tax returns along with compiling financial statements and written responses to taxing entities.
Carrie earned a master’s degree in taxation after graduating summa cum laude from the University of Central Florida with a BS in accounting. Carrie is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) as well as a Certified Global Management Accountant (CGMA). She is a member of the AICPA and FICPA and volunteers her time at several local nonprofit charities. Primarily, Carrie’s expertise focuses on Mergers & Acquisitions, Profitability Improvement, Negotiations, Business Development and Improvement, and Regulatory Compliance.
“So you can focus on your company’s goals … I will focus on your financials.”
Cinda Keegan has over twenty years of experience in accounting and financial leadership.
She began her career with a rapidly growing, grant funded biotechnology company. She coordinated and managed the financial functions for this growing manufacturer in molecular solutions for DNA and RNA analysis to clinical, research, and agricultural customers. She oversaw financial reporting, accounts payable, accounts receivable, fixed asset management, and payroll. She spearheaded the ERP implementation as the company transitioned from research and development to production while assisting with several rounds of private equity offerings totaling over $100 million. She ensured timely regulatory filings and maintained investor relations.
In addition, she directed the day to day fiscal operations for a provider of design/build construction for the development of large-scale water entertainment attractions and manufacturer of ultraviolet water disinfection units. She carried out leadership responsibilities associated with accounting financial reporting, budget and planning, tax, treasury, information systems, asset/risk management, and human resources. She has performed due diligence for proposed transactions, arranging, negotiating, managing, and closing all financial agreements. She has fostered a solid working relationship with principals, senior management, lending partners, outside auditors, and legal counsel.
She has also held executive level financial positions in the construction, service, manufacturing, and distributions industries. She is adept at overseeing accounting, finance, foreign transactions, risk management/legal requirements, and implementation of fully integrated software systems. She has been responsible for all aspects of the general ledger as well as analyzing and preparing financial statements. She is skilled with managing external audits and ensuring her team meets required reporting deadlines.
She is a hands-on, “lead by example” manager that has experience with both large and small organizations in times of rapid growth/expansion or transition/process improvement. She leads her accounting teams to ensure efficiencies are maximized, financial and reporting systems are maintained with integrity and consistency, and the organization meets its compliance requirements. She recognizes the need to modify processes and procedures at various stages of an organization’s life cycle.
She has also served as a valued thought partner and member of the executive team to ensure the organization is able to achieve its goals while ensuring the financial and reporting systems remain intact, cash flow is managed, budgets are produced timely, improvements to software are made proactively, and financial reporting to management teams/Board of Directors occurs timely. In one of the more recent experiences, she led the due diligence for a private equity purchase and transition valued over $500 million.
“I am passionate about creating accounting systems and financial strategies which help the organization achieve its goals. I am always excited to implement policies/procedures that benefit the entire organization.”
Davina is passionate about applying her experience and knowledge to organizations, to help them achieve their goals while improving the bottom line. As a results oriented professional, she brings vast experience across a multitude of industries.
Davina received her Bachelor of Business Administration and her Master of Accountancy degrees from Stetson University. While working on her Master’s degree, she was employed as a Forensic Accountant for Campos and Stratus. She took a leading role in claims investigations including fraud, catastrophic damage and lost earnings determination.
Davina obtained her CPA in 1998 and began her career as an Auditor for KPMG Peat Marwick in Orlando. After working for both public and private companies across various industries, she moved into the private sector. As Vice President of a mortgage bank, she was responsible for supervising the accounting department and overseeing all financial reporting, as well as meeting compliance requirements for external regulatory agencies. She further developed her skills in creating and implementing process improvement strategies that lead to dramatic drops in overtime, increased productivity, and an increase in overall department morale. Davina was also instrumental in assisting the Human Resource department, working as a liaison between company departments to facilitate and implement policies and procedures and provide employee training.
As part of her career path, Davina moved to project based opportunities whereby she developed her expertise in identifying operational inefficiencies, accounting gaps, and work-process overlaps. By developing effective solutions, and providing a clear scope of work and timeline, she was able to streamline processes that led to quantifiable bottom line results. Through ongoing communication with Executive management, her systematic methodologies provided “real time” feedback as the milestones were met. This process proved to mitigate any major surprises while remaining flexible for the unforeseen throughout the implementation process.
Some of her roles, in addition to the above, has been to provide due diligence for Mergers and Acquisitions, Adjunct Accounting Professor, Grant researcher, and Volunteer for various Not-for-profit entities.
“I am passionate about going that extra mile, providing bottom line results, and empowering others to reach their full potential along the way.”
Gail Lacey joined the CFO Strategic Partners team in January 2012. She graduated from the University of Alabama in Birmingham with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Gail began her accounting career with Lehmann Ullman & Barclay, a regional CPA firm in Birmingham, Alabama. After working in public accounting for five years, she left to become the controller for H&M Plumbing Company and Affiliates, a construction company specializing in commercial and multi-family construction. Most recently, Gail was the director of finance and accounting for Glatting Jackson Kercher Anglin, Inc., a community planning firm in Orlando. The firm was a privately held company that provided planning and design services for private land development, public spaces and the transportation industry. She was with the company for 16 years and left in 2011 after the company was acquired. She has extensive experience with project costing, financial analysis, budgeting and cash management.
“Working with the client’s management team and contributing to the company’s success are the most satisfying aspects of being a CFO.”
Jessica joined the CFO Strategic Partners team in 2015 with over ten years of experience as an accounting professional. Her passion for helping clients achieve their milestones, was a natural fit for CFOSP, and her creative approach to complex issues is an asset. She began her career with James Moore & Co. as an audit and tax accountant, servicing a wide variety of clients including travel and tourism, hospitality, recreation and leisure, and state government. Since that time, Jessica has worked with multiple private equity groups, helping to position the companies for a strategic sale, while navigating the accounting department and management team successfully through the requirements of diligence, post-sale accounting, and the integration or elimination process, within each department.
Jessica’s experience overseeing human resource management, coupled with her passion and knowledge of information technology systems and integrations, has catapulted her career allowing her to lend her expertise to establishing internal controls, developing and implementing critical security initiatives, and ensuring policy and compliance requirements are met.
Jessica has been a licensed Certified Public Accountant in Florida since 2010, receiving her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Barry University. Jessica has a Master of Science in accountancy from Stetson University and enjoys Découpe, writing and traveling in her free time.
“My specialty lies in business process reengineering. I help your team work smarter, more efficiently, and have time to enjoy life by improving business processes and implementing technology to save your business time and money.”
Karen joined CFO Strategic Partners with over twenty five years of experience in accounting and finance. She is a results-oriented CPA with a track record of leading the accounting, treasury, and financial management for corporations, nonprofits, and family offices. Her hands-on management style in the development and implementation of strategic plans has ensured increases in profitability and net worth for various entities and family shareholders.
During her 23-year career with CNL Financial Group, Inc., Karen led the accounting functions for numerous corporations, partnerships, trusts, foundations, and high-net-worth individuals. In her various roles, she was responsible for banking relationships, loan negotiations, and treasury management for CNL Financial Group, Inc., high-net-worth individuals, and numerous affiliates. Karen has also worked with nonprofits, assisting them with complex real estate transactions and improving their financial process for greater efficiency and accuracy.
Karen has significant experience developing highly skilled accounting and financial management teams. She has worked with owners, top management, and outside third parties concerning financial forecasting and reporting, estate planning, and various other financial and strategic matters. She enjoys working in the financial and real estate industries and excels at contract negotiations.
“It’s very rewarding for me to work with the leaders of family-owned businesses to help them achieve success both in their personal and business financial affairs. When the business owners are confident that their financial affairs are all being properly handled, they can concentrate their efforts on the business’ operations and increasing its success.”
Kevin Lowdermilk has over 20 years of experience within finance and accounting including serving as the Vice President of Finance for a multinational business unit of Rolls-Royce. Kevin formerly served as the Chief Executive Officer and President of ISO Group, Inc – a venture capital-backed engineering, defense and aerospace company. During this time, he grew the company from $15M to $25M by markedly changing the financial direction and most importantly, significantly increasing profitability. As Chief Executive Officer and President of Exostar LLC, a global technology group, Kevin’s entrepreneurial experience, coupled with his dynamic financial expertise, keeps his schedule busy with client demands. He has been on the Board for a number of private companies across a variety of industries, including healthcare and aerospace and defense as well as manufacturing. Kevin has a BA degree in economics from Western Kentucky University and has an MBA from Ball State University in Indiana.
Kirsten joined CFO Strategic Partners with over twenty years of experience in accounting and financing. Her interest was sparked at an early age by her role as a bookkeeper for an automotive parts company during high school. This led her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
She began her career with Ernst & Young, LLP as an auditor in their New Orleans office. She then served as audit senior in their Long Island office and audit manager in the Orlando office, servicing both publicly and privately held companies with the entrepreneurial services group. Kirsten left Ernst & Young to serve as controller for SunStar Healthcare, Inc. where she helped them to achieve rapid growth and secure multiple rounds of investor financing, while overseeing the accounting department to meet SEC and Insurance industry financial reporting and regulatory requirements. Kirsten then returned to public accounting where she oversaw the audit and accounting department as senior audit manager for Keith Altizer and Company, P.A. for over fourteen years. In that role, she not only provided financial statement assurance services to small- to medium-sized businesses, but was also able to work closely with business owners to resolve issues they were facing and achieve their goals.
Kirsten has significant experience and enjoys working in a variety of industries, including real estate, construction/contracting, distributors, nonprofit, ecommerce, professional services, insurance and automotive dealerships.
“It’s very important to me to provide value as a member of my client’s management team. I truly enjoy working closely with entrepreneurs to help them achieve their growth and success goals.”
Maria is a results-driven professional with experience in all areas of management including strategic and financial planning, accounting, and operational oversight. She began her career as an auditor with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, serving a wide range of clients including private and publicly-held entities, and diverse industries including manufacturing, banking, real estate, entertainment, and nonprofit organizations. She later joined Skandia Insurance Company Ltd, Sweden, an international property/casualty and long-term savings and investments group, subsequently acquired by Old Mutual Group, U.K. Over her 20-year career at Skandia and Old Mutual, her responsibilities ranged from Controller and CFO of various operating units, to COO of the Group’s emerging operations in Southern Europe and Latin America. Maria is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Financial Planner and Chartered Financial Analyst.
For the past four years, Maria has served as volunteer mentor at the Orlando Chapter of SCORE, a national volunteer nonprofit organization dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and small businesses succeed, and was elected Chapter Chair in 2012. She is also First Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of Community Health Centers, Inc., a Federal Qualified Health Center (FQHCs) that provides medical and dental care for traditionally underserved communities in Central Florida.
“Working directly with entrepreneurs and small- and medium-sized businesses has given me a much greater appreciation for the obstacles they face, and an immense admiration for their tenacity and dedication. My goal is to become a trusted advisor in every aspect of the client’s business.”
Susan Bounds graduated from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. She began her career with Arthur Andersen (Andersen) in the Orlando office in the audit division and worked on both public and private clients. She served clients in many different industries including transportation, hospitality and food services, real estate, and retail. As an experienced manager with Andersen, Susan led a client service team of 40 people for a growing multinational public company. During her time with that client, Susan assisted with or managed SEC filings including current filings such as 10K and 10Q, as well as periodic filings such as S-1, S-3, S-4, and S-8. She also interacted with investment bankers, attorneys and others as she helped her client with numerous debt and stock transactions. Susan joined the CFO Strategic Partners team in October 2005. Since joining the team, she has worked in a variety of industries including insurance, lobbying and retail. In addition, she has performed project work including the preparation of pro forma financial statements for a public offering, and an analysis of distributions for a family-owned company. She is married with two children, and enjoys traveling and volunteering at her children’s school.
Tonja Pektas graduated from Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1993 where she was in the Honors and Scholars Programs, Leadership Fellows Program, and Southern Scholarship Foundation Alumni of the Year. Tonja then received her master’s degree from the University of Central Florida in 2002. She started her career at Arthur Andersen as an Auditor in 1993 where she gained experience in numerous industries including construction, hospitality, manufacturing, banking and non-profit. Tonja was asked to join a start-up company, Coast to Coast Renovations, in 1996 as a Controller to build their accounting department from the ground up. She implemented software, created policies and procedures, worked with underwriters to secure lending, and was in charge of hiring a complete staff. In 1997 she joined McCree, Inc. as a CFO in which she was responsible for the selection and implementation of new accounting software, overseeing staff, and preparing monthly financial reporting packages for the Board of Directors. Tonja also managed communication with estimators, architects, permitting, engineers, project managers, IT, and Human Resources. In 2000, Tonja began offering private consulting services, including assisting clients with their accounting processes as well as policies and procedures, developing budgeting processes, and implementation of set-up accounting for new divisions within organizations. Tonja has been involved with several organizations throughout the years including Junior Achievement and The United Way, and she is currently the Creative Director at her church. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, dancing, and spending time with her friends and family, especially her husband and five children.
“I get excited when I can see charted upticks in financial performance that are the result of specifically focused areas or when a client reaches out about a current issue because they trust the value I can add.”
Kristin is an administrative assistant who works with CFO Strategic Partners. She embodies the organization’s mission and values and works to contribute to their continued success.
Kristin was born and raised in Orlando, Florida. She brings with her 6 years of health care administrative experience, in addition to more than a decade of experience in the customer service industry.
Throughout her career, Kristin’s roles and responsibilities embody a consistent focus on customer satisfaction, marketing and sales, with a strong emphasis on individual and team working experience.
In the past few years, not only has Kristin exceled in the customer service arena, but she has created long-standing relationships with office colleagues, vendors and partners. Additionally, her most recent position provided her with the opportunity to experience and take charge of all marketing strategies, research and production decision-making with results to increase office productivity and workplace efficiency.
Kristin’s past studies include certifications from the Florida College of Natural Health and the Greater Orlando Dental Assisting School. Currently, she is continuing her education with Valencia College with a major in business administration.
In her spare time, Kristin enjoys volunteering and has relationships with non- profit organizations throughout Central Florida, including CFF (Cystic Fibrosis Foundation), 100 Woman Strong, and Cents of Relief.
“Go the extra mile, it’s never crowded”
Eddy Simon is a CPA and MBA with over 20 years of accounting experience. He has a strong background in corporate, private, and family office accounting. Eddy has a Bachelors in Accounting and started his career as a small business full-charge Bookkeeper with payroll, A/R, and A/P duties. The bulk of his career was spent at CNL Financial Group as an Accounting Supervisor where he was responsible for financial reporting, tax returns, preparing budget and variance analysis reports, stock portfolio reporting and analysis, and Treasury cash flow reporting. He has a wide variety of software skills and is a great asset to our internal CFO team.
“Our organization was navigating an intense transition involving our government funding partners and public officials. Without the help of CFOSP, we would have experienced severe financial impacts and certainly lost donor confidence.”
CEO Central Florida Historical Society
“I applaud the stellar support provided by our CFO in embracing and understanding our budget priorities and operations that entail hundreds of financial transactions each month and several millions of dollars in expenditures annually. The nature of our business is very complex, yet your firm did not shy away from the challenge of establishing accounting processes and procedures that will sustain us well into the future.”
Kissimmee Chamber of Commerce, Experience Kissimmee
“…The services they have provided have tripled my bottom line, giving us serious profit levels that have helped fund company growth…”
President, Engineering Firm
“There is no limit to the value of the collective experience that the CFO team brings to the table. Their expertise in debt management, tax reporting, cost of funds, and in-depth analysis has been more than I could have hoped for…”
CEO/President, Hotel Corporation
“Since we began working with CFO Strategic Partners, we’re in the best financial position we’ve ever been in… CFO gives my staff and myself financial peace of mind so we can focus on clients and business at hand.”
CEO, Insurance Agency
“With CFO as our partner, we’re able to see the total picture…. Through their expertise, we’re receiving the highest level of educated financial planning that will propel us into the future.”
President, Florida Architectural Firm