Why choose CFO Strategic Partners?
Experience. CFO Strategic Partners was founded in August 1999 to provide outsourced CFO services to small- and medium-sized businesses and nonprofit entities. Unlike some firms that try to do outsourced CFO services on the side or during non-busy times of the year, this is exclusively what we do and we have excelled in this business for over 20 years.
Team Approach: CFO Strategic Partners is very selective about who we invite to join our team. Our finely tuned recruiting process helps us identify those with the qualification, personality, and depth of experience to succeed in this role. Our team of CFOs are employees of our firm and their career with our firm is their only current employment. This ensures our clients receive the priority they deserve.
Collaborative Approach: Why hire just one person when you can tap into the knowledge and expertise of our entire team of CFOs and experience from other clients with similar issues.
Scalable Solution: Our solutions are scalable and flexible and our clients pay only for what they truly need.
Who we serve
We’re proud to serve middle-market companies and nonprofits that want to optimize their processes, enhance performance, gain financial visibility into what drives results and maximize corporate wealth. We analyze financial performance and provide you with meaningful reports, dashboards and tools so you can interpret results and make better decisions. Long term, we serve as a “thought-partner” for strategic issues and help you achieve your vision for the future or exit strategies.
Industries we work with include:
- Agribusiness and Agritourism
- Architectural and Engineering Services
- Automobile dealership
- Construction Related Services
- Distilleries & Craft Breweries
- Education: Private Education and Colleges/Higher Education
- Food: Products/Sustainable seafood/manufacturing/production
- Government contracting
- Government Entities & Municipalities
- Investment Banking
- Law Firms/Law Services
- Nonprofit Entities
- Performing Arts and Artists
- Personnel/Staffing Services
- Private Equity
- Professional Services
- Real Estate and Development
- School Districts
- Therapy Services
Our mission and vision
Our mission is simple: To Enrich Lives. Our work with clients goes beyond simply managing the numbers. For our clients, the results we help achieve enrich the lives of the owners, executive teams, employees and their families, vendors, customers and the whole community. We take this responsibility seriously. It fuels the dedication and commitment we have to our clients.
We thrive on diversity
At CFO Strategic Partners, we celebrate diversity. We endeavor to be inclusive and diverse in relationships with our team, clients, vendors and the communities we serve. We always strive to foster an environment where the unique talents of each person are honored.
We believe diversity within our team, whether from employees, consultants, clients or vendors, enhances our ability to provide a high-level of service and enrich lives.
Meet the Team
We’re selective about those we invite to become part of our CFO team. Our team members must be, not only qualified and experienced, but also have the personality and communication skills needed to serve clients strategically and deliver results. In addition, our firm’s internal processes and culture of collaboration helps ensure our clients receive the collective expertise of our entire team.
Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Founder & Chief Executive Officer
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 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
Chief Operations Officer
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
Vice President of Client Relations, CFO
Meghan Dalton has over 25 years of experience in accounting and financial leadership.
Her career started at Ernst & Young in Little Rock, AR after graduating from Michigan State University. In this role she was involved in the audits of a number of public and non-public entities in a variety of industries. Some of the industries she has experience in include financial institutions, professional services, and manufacturing/distribution, among others.
Meghan went on to serve as the Controller and Vice President of Investor Relations for a public semiconductor manufacturing company, where she managed the finance department and was responsible for all accounting and financial reporting functions. Additionally, in this capacity she was responsible for effectively communicating the company’s strategy, financial projections, and overall value proposition to the investment community.
Subsequent to this, Meghan served in key financial leadership positions for several private companies in the healthcare industry, including pharmaceutical and professional services companies. In this capacity she was charged with managing all financial operations and reporting, including oversight of the annual external audits. Prior to joining CFO Strategic Partners, Meghan served as the CFO of a rapidly growing healthcare services company, where she helped refine the corporate strategy and operating model. She was also responsible for forecasting operational and growth capital needs, and directed all strategic forecasting, general accounting, financial reporting, and revenue cycle management functions.
Vice President of Internal Operations, CFO
Jeannine began her career with a regional public accounting firm in Pennsylvania where she enjoyed working with the owners and accounting departments of banks, manufacturers, not-for-profits, service organizations, and employee benefit plans. Jeannine subsequently joined the finance team of a plastics manufacturer and distributor headquartered in Reading, Pennsylvania where she rose to the Chief Financial Officer & Vice President of Finance role, helping the business to grow both domestically and internationally to $130 million. Before relocating to Florida, she served as CFO for a $150 million, start-up, national staffing company based in Pennsylvania where she developed the accounting team and process documentation to prepare the organization for exponential growth. She earned her bachelor’s degree in from Bloomsburg University and more recently completing her MBA in Business from Alvernia University, both in Pennsylvania.
Jeannine is passionate about applying her 20+ years of experience in Accounting and Finance to help our clients reach their goals. A lifelong learner herself, Jeannine believes that fostering an engaged workforce through communication and education improves the bottom line and enriches lives.
VP of Strategic Partnerships, CFO
Mike Sanders has over 13 years of experience in accounting and financial management and holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Accounting, as well as an MBA from the University of Florida. He began his career in the audit practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Orlando, FL. In this role, he was involved in the audits of a number of public and non-public entities across a variety of industries, including hospitality, entertainment, real estate, healthcare, and construction. Mike obtained his CPA license while at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Mike began his career in private industry by joining the Leadership Development Program of a Fortune 250 Transportation/Logistics company in Jacksonville, Florida. After his completion of the program, he held several financial management positions at the company. Mike then went on to take a financial leadership position at a publicly traded multi-unit restaurant company located in Orlando, FL. In this role, he was responsible for presenting monthly performance to the executive management team and was charged with the financial governance of the company including reporting, budgeting and strategic planning and analysis. From this experience Mike brings knowledge of retail restaurant operations as well as executive level skills for managing against expected results for cash flow and profit performance.
Mike then went on to another leadership role at a large privately held multi-unit alcohol beverage retail company in Orlando, Florida, where he managed various financial planning and analysis, reporting, and strategic initiatives for the company. From this experience Mike brings knowledge of the retail alcohol beverage industry as well as executive level skills for managing key performance indicators and profit performance.
In his roles, Mike has worked closely with senior leaders as a strategic thought partner, helping companies achieve both their short and long-term financial and strategic goals.
Angel Arcelay, Jr.
Angel has over twenty-five years of experience in accounting, finance and with offering strategic support to business owners and decision makers.
Early in his career, Angel served as Director of Finance and managed all business operations for an international packing corporation while implementing cost saving initiatives in a high growth environment. As the Chief Financial Officer for a logistics company, he worked closely with the CEO and COO to develop strategic goals, and then he executed on key initiatives to achieve those goals including 125% growth in profit.
Angel subsequently moved into the manufacturing industry and join one of the top minority owned company in the United States where he became a key executive responsible for presenting financial results to the executive leadership team and the board of directors. He has also held executive level accounting positions in the private education and banking industries, is Bilingual in both Spanish and English, and has a keen understanding of an impressive list of software systems.
Angel’s depth and breadth of experience allows him both the ability to dive into the details when needed and to serve as a valued strategic partner to executive management. This means he can, as an example, implement new software systems or create meaningful budgeting reports as well as provide meaningful input to the executive team on financial reports and help strategize for enhanced future performance.
This is the role he enjoys most at CFO Strategic Partners.
“I truly enjoy making an impact on the lives of our clients and all those impacted by the organization. I value being an integral part of the executive management team and serving my clients.” Angel Arcelay
Carol brings over 30 years of experience in accounting and finance in a variety of organizations such as non-profits, national retail, manufacturing, and construction. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and a Minor in Quantitative Business Analysis from Robert Morris University.
Carol served as an Engagement Director for an international accounting and consulting firm where her extensive experience allowed her to assist an array of clients with a diverse set of needs. These included business operation – profit improvement and cost reduction, system implementations, due diligence relating to mergers and acquisitions, and accounting and payroll process re-design and improvement.
As Acting Director of Accounting and Corporate Controller at Sam’s Companies (a profitable, middle market group comprised of 29 business entities), Carol oversaw the preparation of the financial reporting package for all segments of the business, organized and led budget development, coordinated the annual audit, and implemented process improvement plans to automate and streamline workflow in the accounting department.
As Senior VP of Finance and Administration/CFO for Manufactured Housing Institute and Affiliates, her areas of responsibility were diverse and include financial reporting, budget development and monitoring, maintaining banking and investment relationships including facilitating the Investment Committee meetings, human resources, and information systems.
Carol regularly attends nationally sponsored CFO conferences where finance and operations executive learn, share, and shape issues that are currently challenging both non-profit and for-profit organizations.
Cheryle Frye has over 25 years of experience in financial and operational management with small to mid-sized businesses. She has served as a part-time CFO since 2006, helping clients through transitions and specializing in streamlining financial operations. Cheryle strives to make jobs easier, the flow of data faster and the quality of information more accurate for the other members of executive management.
Cheryle’s career began in Houston, Texas with a national accounting firm after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin. After more than 3 years, she transitioned to industry working in both service and product-based operations in key accounting and management leadership roles while earning her MBA from Rollins College. She has extensive experience in the wholesale auto auction industry, food manufacturing, product wholesale/retail operations, property management and investment banking.
Cheryle has managed system implementations and conversions as well as operational integrations with accounting programs. She specializes in managing growth so that overhead costs do not grow dis-proportionately. She has lead the due diligence process in several acquisitions.
Cheryle enjoys working across all disciplines in a business to help create more collaborative work relationships between associates. She strives to help productivity increase dramatically when associates understand each other’s functions and challenges learning to work together towards mutual wins.
Cheryle is a member of the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy. She has lived in Orlando since 1988. In her spare time, Cheryle can be found on her Harley motorcycle, spending time with her two grown children and helping foster dogs get ready for their forever homes.
“The best sense of hope and accomplishment comes from helping others reach their goals and knowing you are working to make things better.”
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.”
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.”
Laurie Elliott brings over twenty-five years of experience in accounting, finance and operational management to CFO Strategic Partners. She holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and an MBA in Finance. She started her career with Marks Paneth LLP and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) where she specialized in Emerging Business Services. In that role, she was involved with the owners, accounting departments and engagement leadership providing audit, tax and process improvement services in various industries including entertainment, professional services and transportation.
Laurie left PwC to become the VP, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer of Global Spill Management, Inc., a national environmental contracting, consulting, manufacturer, distributor, where she facilitated rapid growth through acquisitions and helped to take the company public. She then joined Team Penske, a truck leasing company, and rose to VP Finance for the Penske Motor Group with over $1 billion in revenue where her financial acumen was strengthened developing KPI’s, financial analyses, forecasts and projections for the company and targeted acquisitions. Her role with Team Penske further expanded her industry experience to include automotive sales and service, leasing, supply chain logistics management, and racing & motor speedways. In a desire to return to her entrepreneurial roots, she joined the professional consulting firm Strategic Analysis Inc. (SAI) as their CFO. During her tenure, she helped SAI grow to 20 entities across five continents and become a top firm in the business intelligence niche.
With her relocation to Florida, she became the VP Accounting and Finance and Chief Accounting Officer for a private equity owned national car rental company, tasked with turning around the accounting and finance functions and positioning the company for sale.
In her time with CFO Strategic Partners, Laurie has been the outsourced CFO for clients in entertainment, construction, and business services, among other industries. Laurie’s depth and breadth of experience allows her to serve as a valued strategic partner to executive management.
“I’m excited to continue my passion in consulting through my work with CFO Strategic Partners and apply my past experience and knowledge to help our clients achieve their 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 non-profit 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.
Maria served as volunteer mentor at the Orlando Chapter of SCORE, a national volunteer non-profit organization dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and small businesses succeed, where she served as Treasurer and Chapter Chair. She was also a member 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, where she served as Treasurer and First Vice-Chair.
Tamrin Mahon graduated from Rhodes College in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in business and economics, and in 2006 she received a master’s degree in accounting from the University of Central Florida. Her career started at PricewaterhouseCoopers here in Orlando in the audit practice. In this role she was involved in the audits of a number of public and non-public entities in a variety of industries. Some of the industries she has experience in include real estate, consumer products, entertainment, hospitality and healthcare, among others. Tamrin obtained her CPA license in 2008.
Tamrin went on to continue her career at a Cable Network/Digital Media Company in Orlando as Senior Director, Finance where she managed the accounting and finance department and was responsible for various financial planning, reporting and analysis across the Company. During her tenure, Tamrin was the lead on several key initiatives, including due diligence and integration of company asset acquisitions, SAP and other program implementations, various technical accounting matters and tax incentives.
In 2016, Tamrin became VP, Finance for the North Florida division of a national homebuilder. She led the Finance and Accounting department, including closings and land accounting. Tamrin was responsible for the financial aspects of feasibility submissions for land acquisitions and sales. She led financial planning, reporting and various analysis of WIP and overhead across the division.
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.”
Jennifer brings over 20 years of experience specializing in bookkeeping and controller level support to small businesses. Her experience spans many industries including manufacturing, construction, real estate and the legal profession.
Jennifer’s career began in Connecticut where she managed all operational aspects of a start-up décor boutique. In addition, she was responsible for developing and maintaining processes for budgeting, record keeping and bookkeeping.
In her subsequent role with an Electric Contracting company, Jennifer effectively managed daily operations and was instrumental in streamlining initiatives to improve efficiencies. This resulted in a significant positive impact on all accounting processes including payroll, accounts receivable, accounts payable, tax preparation, and cash flow. In this role, she also gained extensive experience in financial reporting, vendor/sales and bank reconciliations, job costing and the implementation and utilization of Quickbooks.
In her time with CFO Strategic Partners, Jennifer has served as the outsourced Controller for clients in construction, medical supply sales, distribution, contracting and law.