Kickstarter’s Appointment of New Finance Chief Elevates Representation of Black Female CFOs

Kickstarter’s Appointment of New Finance Chief Elevates Representation of Black Female CFOs

  • PublishedJuly 23, 2023

Throughout the initial two decades of her finance career, Sindy Wilson never had the opportunity to work under a Black female CFO or even a woman in some cases, as she climbed the corporate ladder in various positions.

However, her journey has taken a significant turn as she is now appointed as the chief financial officer at Kickstarter, effective July 12. In this new role, she not only assumes a position of power but also reports to CEO Everette Taylor, who is also Black. This rare combination of Black executives in the CEO and CFO roles, especially in prominent brands, sends a powerful message about the importance of diversity.

Such occurrences of Black CEOs and CFOs jointly leading high-profile companies are quite uncommon, particularly in large enterprises. Currently, there are only nine Black CEOs among the 500 largest revenue-generating companies, and merely one of them has a Black CFO. The appointment of W. Dave Dowrich as CFO at TIAA came after CEO Thasunda Brown Duckett assumed leadership.

While Kickstarter may be smaller compared to these massive corporations, it sets a valuable example for promoting diversity within top leadership teams. Michael Hyter, the president and CEO of the Executive Leadership Council, an advocacy group for Black executives, hopes for a future where such appointments become commonplace and race is no longer a factor.

The trend of appointing Black CFOs has seen some improvement in recent years, but it remains relatively scarce. Among the combined companies in the S&P 500 and Fortune 500, totaling 675 sitting CFOs, only 18 were Black in 2022, with a peak of 20 in 2021.

Finding Black women in top finance roles is even more challenging, according to Taylor. He emphasizes that it is uncommon to see Black women CFOs leading household names, larger tech companies, or well-known brands. Kickstarter’s top leadership team, however, represents a different picture, with five out of its eight most senior leaders being women and five being people of color.

Taylor highlights that Wilson stood out from the many candidates he interviewed due to the strength of her resume and her experience in dealing with platforms that connect buyers and sellers. This experience aligns perfectly with Kickstarter’s plans to launch new business lines, including pledge management and digital marketing tools for creators during and after their funding campaigns.

In addition to her professional qualifications, Wilson’s sense of empathy and high emotional intelligence (EQ) also impressed Taylor. These qualities are vital in a company like Kickstarter, known for its progressive HR practices such as a four-day workweek and a union contract.

Wilson proudly describes herself as a “people-first CFO” and fully supports the concept of psychological safety, especially in the context of an increasingly remote workforce. She is enthusiastic about caring for her team members and embracing innovative ideas that enhance their well-being and productivity.

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