How Marijo Franklin Transformed 25 Cents into Millions

How Marijo Franklin Transformed 25 Cents into Millions
Marijo Franklin, CFO of California Leadership Center

While Marijo Franklin’s story of turning a quarter into a net worth of millions is certainly an inspirational one, this case study also provides many lessons for CFOs. It was a fateful 25 cent train ride that brought Marijo Franklin to a charter bus company in downtown Chicago.

Desperate for a job, she went to the attendant behind the counter and asked if she could speak to the manager who hired their sales people. The attendant smiled back politely saying, “We don’t have any sales people.” The next words out of Marijo’s mouth were bold, offensive, yet true. “Oh, so that’s why there are so many buses parked in the garage!”

Needless to say, the attendant was caught off guard. Throughout the course of the conversion that followed, Marijo asked for a list of the top 10 clients the company wished they had. She promised to get at least 3 of the dream clients as patrons if they would hire her. Within a week, Marijo had gotten deals from 3 of the 10 dream clients listed.

Lessons for CFOs

Marijo’s experience in fighting for a job she wanted laid the groundwork for her to become one of the most lucrative salespeople in the business world. Currently, she works for California Leadership Center, which she founded. Her experience reminds us how CFOs can achieve their four main responsibilities of:

  1. Creating solid financial plans. As a CFO, you may sometimes feel like you have limited options or struggle to create financial plans for your company. However, remember Marijo Franklin’s example: When Marijo seemed pressed for options to sign 3 of the top 10 clients, she strategized to contact those who truly mattered. For instance, to sign the Chicago Board of Education, Marijo spoke directly with the woman who booked field trips. Likewise, make sure that your plans have clearly defined goals.
  2. Report and Measure Performance. As a CFO who deals with endless reports and numbers to review, it’s easy to gloss over specifics, skim a memo, or pass it off to subordinates. However, just as Marijo’s success was based off of her doing everything herself, you can only make the best decisions if you’re truly well versed in the latest stats and trends.
  3. Be a steward of the shareholder’s money. If Marijo Franklin hadn’t held up her end of the bargain to sign 3 of the top 10 dream clients for the bus company, she would have never been hired. She was a steward of their trust, name, time, and money. Likewise, your actions should reflect the best interest of those who own stake in the work you do.