“You Won’t Always Know Every Answer, And That’s Ok, As Long As You Know Where To Look To Find It” 5 Leadership Lessons With Neda Imbimbo
“I have been a member of an advisory board leadership group, for the past year where I have a group of successful business leaders to bounce around ideas or discuss business or personal issues. Not only is there always someone in the group who has experienced the same situation to provide advice from experience, but the group provides each other honest feedback and enforces accountability.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Neda Imbimbo, CFO at BigRentz. Since joining BigRentz in 2014, Imbimbo has leveraged her finance expertise to drive double-digit revenue growth by instituting accounting processes and streamlining operations through automation.
Yitzi: Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
While most kids grew up playing doctor or dreaming of being an astronaut, I grew up aspiring to be a businesswoman. My mom would bring home scratch paper from work and I’d pretend to calculate numbers, highlight information, and sign documents; I’d even maintain my files as if they really meant something. As soon as I was old enough to start working, I started doing accounting for the family business. After college, I entered the audit world working for large publicly traded companies and quickly moved into management roles. When I was presented with the opportunity of working for a start-up, I knew it was going to be a big change but was more than excited about the challenge.
Yitzi: Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
We used to have a life-size mechanical waving monkey on the balcony of our building that you could see from the freeway. Little did we know the monkey was going to become a recognizable part of our brand. We had people calling in to rent due to noticing the monkey; I even started joking about adding him to our lead attribution reporting. Sadly, one day the monkey caught on fire and was destroyed. A mother emailed in on behalf of her three-year-old daughter asking what had happened to the monkey. She was wondering if her theory that the gnome on the other side of the building had pushed him off because he was jealous that he had a more prime location was true. Thanks to the little girl’s imagination, now when people ask us what happened we have a better story to tell than an electrical issue.
Yitzi: So how exactly does your company help people?
BigRentz is a technology-driven equipment rental logistics company that leverages a nationwide network of over 8,000 rental yards to provide the best rental and transportation solutions for its customers.
Yitzi: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
With the largest network of rental yards in the nation, we are able to source nearly any equipment, anywhere. We are able to provide our customers the ability to count on us to fulfill all their equipment rental needs, an equipment rental logistics solution. We’ve sourced equipment for large national annual sporting events several years in a row, with last minute location changes due to results of the games and solving the logistics complexity for these customers. Large-scale, repeat customers like these are an indicator to us that we are servicing our customers in the way they need.
BigRentz is also known for its attractive company culture and has been recognized a number of times in different publications for being voted as a top place to work, including OC Business Journal, OC Register, and Entrepreneur Magazine.
Yitzi: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
My boss at my first job out of college. She was one of the most driven and hardworking people I have met, and led by great example. She coached me to quickly move from individual contributor to developing my own global team by encouraging me to take on new challenges.
Her work ethic, passion and management style still have a great impact on how I approach things today.
Yitzi: How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
The BigRentz Team makes a commitment to social causes every year. We have had the opportunity to work with notable charities, including Habitat for Humanity, the Boys and Girls Club, the ALS Association, and the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Yitzi: What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CFO” and why?
That I would wake up at 3am with ideas or answers to problems I’d been trying to solve for weeks. At first, I would stay awake worried that I’d forget my brilliant thought by morning or sometimes I’d get out of bed to take action until people started wondering why I was sending emails at such odd hours. Now, I keep a notepad and pen handy on my nightstand to jot down my epiphany and go back to sleep, ready to execute at a decent business hour the next day.
More hours of work do not necessarily equate to more productivity. I found myself working 7 days a week, 14 hours a day thinking it was the only way I could get everything done. Now I’ve realized, I can be more productive in normal business hours if I’m well rested and have a clear mind.
You won’t always know every answer, and that’s ok, as long as you know where to look to find it. I have been a member of Vistage, an advisory board leadership group, for the past year where I have a group of successful business leaders to bounce around ideas or discuss business or personal issues. Not only is there always someone in the group who has experienced the same situation to provide advice from experience, but the group provides each other honest feedback and enforces accountability.
Build your bench strength. There is only so much you can do on your own. Investing time in building a strong team is imperative to your success, the team’s success and the overall Company’s success.
Take the time to step outside of the day-to-day and look in. It is so easy to get wrapped into the weeds when every day flies by. As a senior leader, it is imperative to reflect on the company as a whole and have a clear perspective of the bigger picture.
Yitzi: Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this.
Jeff Bezos. Everything about Amazon’s story inspires me from what they have become, to their mission and core values. What Jeff and his team have accomplished is incredible and would love the opportunity to pick his brain and hear his 5 things he wishes someone told him before he became CEO.