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The Role Forward

Peter Nesbitt on Building a Career in and Beyond Finance

In this episode, our host Joe Michalowski welcomes Peter Nesbitt, an early-stage startup advisor, investor, and founder who previously rose through the ranks of finance to an executive seat. They talk about Peter’s unique career path, tips for taking your own career to the next level, and why empowerment is a superpower.

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Episode Summary

There’s something special about a career in finance. Because you sit at the intersection of all data in the organization and collaborate with so many different functions, your job in finance can become the perfect stepping stone to a wide variety of career paths. But how do you maneuver your way from day one to where you want to take your career?

In this episode of The Role Forward podcast, our host Joe Michalowski welcomes Peter Nesbitt, an early-stage startup advisor, investor, and founder who previously rose through the ranks of finance to an executive seat. They talk about Peter’s unique career path, tips for taking your own career to the next level, and why empowerment is a superpower.

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Featured Guest

Peter Nesbitt

Former COO, Teampay

Linkedin link

Peter Nesbitt is a stealth founder, early-stage startup advisor, investor, and fractional CFO. After years as an intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army, Peter moved into a career as an investment banker before going in-house as a finance leader. He joined Teampay as the first executive hire in 2019 with a finance focus before transitioning to the COO role.

Key Themes from the Episode
  • Your career can be whatever you make it. Don't be afraid to change jobs or switch industries just because it's hard to visualize the career path when you're starting out.
  • The ability to empower others is a superpower in your career. If you're constantly looking for ways to empower and lift up the people around you, you'll rise the ranks in any role. And it's especially true in finance.
  • Finance careers are great stepping stones to many different paths both within the finance sector and outside of it. Even if you choose to leave finance for a different career path, the finance skillset will always be there. You can always come back if you need or want to.

Episode Highlights from Peter Nesbitt

9:30 — The Importance of Building Your Network

“I think it’s [about] building your network around people who are in tech to understand the different routes — that it doesn’t just have to be corporate development or doesn’t have to just be in the finance or chief of staff role. It could be sales; it could be product. But even then, don’t let your ego get in your way. Our careers are long.”

19:00 — Surround Yourself with the Right People

“I think those sorts of insights were important, but I was able to learn quickly on the job once I got promoted. And so I think those are the two pieces around giving yourself as much exposure to senior people early on and then once you do have the opportunity to move up, take it and then find people around you to help you level up.”

22:15 — A Mentor Can Point High-Potential Leaders in the Right Direction

“I think that another key thing for a lot of companies that I think they’re missing is that they may have a controller who has a lot of potential or even like a finance manager who has a lot of potential — but to get them to the next level. They don’t need a full-time CFO. They really need someone to come in and just be the sort of mentor and [give] the guidance to help make sure there are guardrails, and they’re going in the right direction.”

28:20 — A Good Manager Should Know How to Identify Good Talent

“I think there are a bunch of things that a manager needs to do. I think one is identifying good talent, and so I think it’s, ‘How do you interview? How do you create job descriptions? How do you bring in and recruit good people?’ So I think getting good people is a really important piece of that puzzle. And that’s one part of it. I think the other piece is that when you have good people or just people in general, how do you help them grow in their careers?”

32:44 — Communication Is Key in Any Career

“I think part of that management aspect is also around communication and how do you communicate effectively and clearly and to have the humility to [know that] when the communication fails, it is not the problem of the listener, but it’s the problem of the speaker and taking ownership of that and correcting that for yourself like, ‘Oh, this person didn’t get it.’ And it’s not because they’re dumb or lazy or busy or don’t care about me, or whatever it is. It’s actually because I didn’t communicate this effectively.'”

Full Transcript