Location: Baltimore, MD
Years in role: 5
Years at company: 5
GROWTH CHAMPION: Before joining Straighterline, Inc., David Parento had been a venture capitalist and a corporate lawyer. As a result, he has been more than just a CFO for the company, taking on duties more commonly assigned to COOs or chief counsels. In addition, Parento has helped run all of Straighterline’s venture-capital fundraising efforts, strategized for board-of-director meetings and managed all issues that need to be passed on to outside counsel.
FUN FACT: “Straighterline solves the no. 1 issue facing students today — the skyrocketing cost of college — with high-quality online courses that prepare students for success.”
STRONG RELATIONSHIP: Parento joined Straighterline as its third employee, so his relationship with the company’s CEO has always been a close one. Together, they fielded customer-support calls and pitched venture-capital offices while staying at the lowest-budget motels. Though each can perform the other’s role, Parento has since stepped back from representing the company externally, taking on a stronger focus on internal operations.
ABOVE AND BEYOND: Financial integrity has always been the expectation for both Parento and his CEO. That includes bills getting paid on time, audits happening when they should and company financials circulating to the right people.