Chief Financial Officer
Location: Denver, CO
Industry: Technology / Software
Strong, determined, and transparent are three of Dayton Kellenberger’s leadership characteristics.
Oh, and did we mention his SaaS?
In a relatively short time, Kellenberger has proven himself to be a strong executive in all of his previous positions - and being CFO of Vendavo has given him the opportunity to spread his wings - and fly.
Kellenberger has had a very rapid rise in the finance world since starting his career in 2008, holding positions in multiple industries before landing firmly in SaaS companies in 2017. He became a first time CFO at the age of 32, at Four Winds Interactive, where he successfully led the sale of the company to world renowned software investor Vista Equity partners.
As the youngest C-level leader at Vendavo, Kellenberger was brought in as CFO at the beginning of 2020 to further the transition of the organization to that of a true SaaS company. This included revamping the KPIs of the business, increasing the financial literacy of the company from the top down, and refocusing the teams on the critical few things that move the needle for the organization. Since then, he has focused relentlessly on bringing together different people and parts of the organization to solve problems collaboratively. He has helped to improve gross margins (specifically in the SaaS revenue stream), improve financial literacy across the organization and bring data to the forefront of decision making.
Kellenberger believes finance is the hub in the center of the organization that helps to drive the other departments, and he is focused on continuing Vendavo’s growth.
“The next five years for Vendavo are all about building on the solid foundation of the last five years of transformational work, and continuing our dominance in our space,” he said. “Our 4 key pillars to our success are to grow SaaS bookings; maintain high customer loyalty; lower the time to value in the implementation of our solutions, and continue to drive commercial excellence through enhanced, cloud-based product offerings.”
He acknowledged that problem-solving is a key role in any leadership position.
“The problems that Vendavo solves for our customers are becoming more important in a post COVID world: fully digitizing your B2B and B2C sales motion, unlocking more margin on every deal as we begin to accelerate growth in the economy and using AI/ML to make better decisions,” he said. “By maintaining our current financial trajectory, and focusing on the things we do best, we anticipate doubling the size of the company in the next five years, continuing to offer excellent growth opportunities for our employees and impacting more revenue for our customers.”
Known as a talented leader in the industry, Kellenberger said the most critical skills for success in his role are displaying empathy, working well with others, the ability to communicate complex issues succinctly, and to motivate the team for high performance.
“The faster you can get experience managing people, even if the job doesn’t contain the ‘hard’ skills you think you need, the quicker you will be able to advance,” he said. “I am a leader who focuses on empathy, leading from the front, and creating lasting relationships with the individuals I work with.”
He added that leading through change requires deep empathy and collaboration.
“You must know how the changes will impact individuals, spend a day in their shoes, anticipate the feelings they will have, and then address their concerns early,” Kellenberger said. “You should strive for buy-in not only from leaders across the company, but down the chain of command into the individuals who will be doing the work. They must see how it will positively impact themselves in the future even if there is short-term pain.”
He said that he measures his success as a leader through 3 different lenses. “There is the financial success of the company, the morale of my team and others that I interact with, and the professional growth of my direct reports,” he said. “I believe that the more you can empower leaders throughout the company to make decisions and be creative, the better your results will be.”
It is his vision and focus that will continue to fly Vendavo to new heights.
Dayton is a Colorado native and has a deep love for the outdoors. He has climbed over 60 peaks in Colorado and has skied 20 of them.