5 Minutes With... | February 12, 2020
Tom Wagner, CFO Park Dental
Tom’s passion for sports, family, and his values-centered mindset serve him well in his CFO role. He is a natural team builder who also keeps his eye on big picture strategy and the bottom line . He has an appreciation of how to leverage complex data to drive business decisions and has seen it pay off. Tom has held successful roles in a variety of industries, but team wins have been a common thread in his career and this made Scouts Talent curious to learn more…
Q: If you could try a different job for a day, what would you choose?
I would definitely choose to be a professional athlete – most likely a hockey player. I would love the feeling of scoring the game-winning goal to help my team win a championship. That kind of feeling never gets old.
Q: What advice would you give someone starting out in your industry?
Search for roles that help you learn and grow, regardless of their title or compensation. Titles and compensation will be there if you have the right set of skills and experiences.
Q: What is your mantra?
It’s all about the team. Make sure to hire the right people. Give them appropriate direction and challenge them to be their best. They will do great things!
Q: How do you get yourself out of a slump?
We all go through peaks and valleys in terms of our level of engagement and energy. I never forget the events, challenges, and deliverables from the day before, but I don’t dwell on them. Instead, I use them to help me focus on what needs to be accomplished for the day. Simply stated, and much more eloquently by others, we can’t change what happened in the past, only what will happen in the future.
Q: What companies or leaders do you admire?
Companies whose mission and values center around doing well while also doing good. I admire organizations that have never lost sight of what made them special in the first place. I’ve had the opportunity to work for several companies that I admire, including my current organization, Park Dental and The Dental Specialists. At Park Dental and The Dental Specialists, we live out our mission and values every day with a focus on our patients and their oral health.
Q: What has been the biggest shift you’ve noticed in your industry in the last decade?
Technology and data are transforming the way we do work. The financial tools such as basic spreadsheet fundamentals are no longer good enough. In this decade of data, we need to be more engaged than ever in the pursuit, processing, and consumption of data. The skills needed by finance teams in the future will be centered around obtaining and using data to solve business challenges in real time or even before they become a problem.
Q: Who has been most instrumental in your career?
While I have had many mentors, this has to be my parents. My father instilled in me a never-give-up work ethic and he continually pushed me to do things that were outside my comfort zone. As a math teacher of 35 years, my father also taught me the value of being a teaching leader. This mindset has stuck with me and drives how I approach my team and others I influence. My mother has also had a significant impact on my life. Her calm, steady influence provided me with the ability to always have perspective, keep my emotions in check, and treat everyone as equals – no matter their title or status.
Q: What is your go-to celebration meal, drink or tradition?
I love to celebrate by spending quality time with my family, focused on them and our relationship – that’s a real celebration!