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A cycling champ turned tech exec talks about true grit

A cycling champ turned tech exec talks about true grit

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Friday, Mar 11

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This is the web version of CFO Daily , a newsletter on the trends and individuals shaping corporate finance. Sign up to get it delivered free to your inbox.

Good morning,

It’s not every day you get to sit down with a four-time Canadian national cycling champion to talk about endurance in the workplace and how participating in sports is a training ground for leadership.

“There were just four people in my first race,” Tony Ward told me of his start in the sport. “It was about eight miles, and I came third place. And the guy who came in fourth place got a flat tire. I really had no talent. I just kept working hard week after week, month after month, year after year. It was just grit.”

Ward is the president of the Americas at Xero, a global accounting platform for small businesses. He previously held senior leadership positions at Microsoft and LinkedIn. Tony Ward, President of the Americas at Xero “Back in April 2020 [at the onset of the pandemic], when no one knew what was going happen, for a period of time at Xero we basically guaranteed the pay of all of our salespeople,” Ward explains. “So, they didn’t have any sales targets. We said, this is not a sales moment; this is a human moment. And we literally said to our salespeople, ‘I want you to call every single one of our accounting firms and bookkeeping firms and see if they’re actually okay.’”

Xero is headquartered in New Zealand. […]

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