Strengthening our executive bench: An interview with our new Chief Financial Officer, Kristina Salen

Kristina salen cfo greenhouse

4 mins, 47 secs read time

Finance departments are at the heart of every business, yet they rarely get acknowledged for their invaluable contributions. As we continue building our team and operations to become a public-ready company, the spotlight increasingly shifts toward departments and teams that drive critical functions.

That’s why it’s so exciting to announce we have a new CFO at the helm of the Greenhouse finance team, Kristina Salen. I had the chance to sit down with Kristina and talk to her about her approach to growing businesses and discovered that she believes in empowering every member of the company to make better informed spending decisions.

Kristina brings excitement, assertiveness and a great deal of empathy and transparency to her new role and we’re thrilled to welcome her to the executive leadership team.

Greenhouse: Why did you decide to join Greenhouse, and why now?

Kristina: I love tech, but I especially love companies that use tech to drive meaningful change. At many tech companies, the emphasis is on building cutting-edge technology first and using that technology to solve a problem. I love that Greenhouse is a data-driven organization focused on building software that serves a higher purpose.

Throughout my entire career, whether as an investor or operator, I have enjoyed being involved in a company as it scales up. It’s an exciting point in a company’s lifecycle. The company still has the amazing entrepreneurial spirit of a startup, but then it becomes time to harness that energy into a sort of structured chaos.

Everything a company does at this stage has to be done with intention, and those intentions will be what drive change and growth.

Greenhouse is growing and changing, and right now that change is being felt across the entire organization. Growing with intention requires a specific skill set, and I have the privilege of coming in, working with a great team and supporting them with advice that helps the company move forward in its lifecycle.

Greenhouse: What about Greenhouse’s company culture and mission connected you to this opportunity?

Kristina: I love Greenhouse’s commitment to removing unconscious bias from the hiring process. By helping companies improve their hiring practices and showing them best practices for growing diverse workforces, Greenhouse is creating positive social impact by increasing DE&I at scale.

For me, a positive culture arises when what’s good for the company, its employees and its stakeholders intersect. That intersection comes from setting goals and managing people with intention. Greenhouse helps managers learn how to be good managers and provide employees with what they need to succeed.

It’s also one of the only companies I have seen that is intentional about setting goals around DE&I internally and reporting on these areas. As a woman who has worked in tech and finance since the early 90s, I know that this accountability and transparency is hard to find, and it’s exciting to join a company that prioritizes this kind of culture.

Greenhouse: Tell us more about your professional journey to date.

Kristina: My previous experiences have given me a lot of insights about working in a company at Greenhouse’s growth stage.

My mantra is simply “Don’t run out of cash.”

But I don’t mean that in a penny-pinching way. What I mean is that Greenhouse has a responsibility to scale sustainably because so many people – our customers, our employees, our shareholders and our communities – depend on Greenhouse. The finance team's job is to ensure that Greenhouse will continue to serve all of these stakeholders. If we run out of cash, we can’t do that, so it’s an easy mantra to rally around if we all ask ourselves, what are we doing to ensure Greenhouse is thriving a year from now? Three years from now? Ten years from now?

A common stereotype is that finance is a blocker within a company, the NO team. I strive for something different. I see finance as a service organization. We collaborate with all teams across the company to help them make informed decisions about sustainable growth.

A collaborative finance team helps colleagues understand how their needs fit with the company’s priorities. It’s so important to help make all of our colleagues financially literate so that everyone understands how their work impacts the company’s goals and, ultimately, its bottom line.

CFO can actually stand for Chief Fun Officer. Once everyone agrees to the mantra, “Don’t run out of cash,” then we can have fun while growing the company responsibly. Greenhouse is a growth company with a really big mission, so let’s dream big and have that fun!

Greenhouse: When you’re not leading finance teams, what can we find you doing?

Kristina: I've had the same hobbies for a long time. I have always been a hiker and I’ve really doubled down on that during COVID. I typically hike 10 to 20 miles on the weekend, even in the dead of winter, so if you can't reach me, that’s where I am!

I also have an interest in astrophysics that dates back to my childhood. I go to lectures and read astrophysics books. I’m not an expert by any stretch, but I have a deep interest in it, and I love spending my free time exploring it.

Finally, I love getting manicures. It’s my creative outlet. My nails are always changing – I have new nail art done every month. And it’s totally ok for you to comment on them!

At Greenhouse, we believe that the potential for people to do something amazing has everything to do with being in the right role, on the right team, at the right time. Learn more about Greenhouse's mission and values here.

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Dinah Alobeid

Dinah Alobeid

is the Senior Director of Content and Communications at Greenhouse. She helps shape and share the Greenhouse brand story and keeps its audiences informed on company news and industry knowledge. Dinah has over 16 years of communications and content experience in the technology field and prior to Greenhouse, she built and ran the communications team at Brandwatch. She's an avid writer, dancer, foodie and book nerd. You can connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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