Women in Leadership: Q&A with Alianza CFO Eve Werner

In celebration of Women’s History Month, Alianza shines a spotlight on CFO Eve Werner.
1. In honor of Women’s History Month, what female leaders today or in history do you look up to, and why?

There are many incredible women I admire and try to emulate in the business world, but my top three are: Sheryl Sandberg, former COO at Facebook; Kim Scott, author and executive coach to several Big Tech CEOs, and Melinda Gates, philanthropist and activist.  

I read Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In” when I was in the thick of motherhood trying to balance being a new mom and paying for childcare while working full-time. Sherly’s book gave me the perspective I needed at the time to keep my head above water and push through. 

Kim Scott’s book “Radical Candor,” was another game changing read for me. Kim shares brilliant advice on how to efficiently manage people, and her guiding principles helped me during the early stages of my career as a manager. 

Lastly, Melinda Gates. Melinda’s book “The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World” is another fantastic one. I’ve always admired Melinda’s unwavering spirit to fight for women’s equality in healthcare, education and business.

2. You’ve been with Alianza for almost 7 years now and recently became CFO. Are there any significant milestones throughout your time here that lead you to where you are today?

In 2017, I joined Alianza with a financial background in accounting. At the time, we were still a relatively small company operating with limited resources. This forced us to be agile and learn on the fly. I seized the opportunity to stretch myself and build up expertise in a new area: telecom taxes.  

Our leadership team encouraged me to dive right in. I attended conferences, read, and diligently took notes. Eventually, I became our in-house subject-matter expert on telecom taxes, leading the team to implement better systems, develop solid internal policies and make our processes more efficient.  

From day one, Alianza has supported my professional growth. I’ve been able to have autonomy over my work and ample resources to learn. It’s a culmination of these seemingly “small” moments over several years that inspired and pushed me to where I am today.

3. As a member of Alianza’s executive leadership team, how do you help create an inclusive and uplifting culture at Alianza?

I always try to lead with empathy, fostering a culture of openness and flexibility where people elevate others. I think it’s incredibly important to understand what responsibilities and challenges every individual on my team is managing outside of work.  

As a mom of two daughters, I know it can be difficult to juggle parental responsibilities while continuing to deliver excellent results at work. I carry my personal experiences from when my girls were younger over into the way I lead teams at Alianza. I want my team to feel trusted and to be seen as a whole person, not just an employee. I want to know their challenges both personally and professionally, so I can adjust my expectations when they are facing obstacles in their lives, and more importantly so I can offer my assistance when appropriate.  My team is my work family, and I care deeply about each of them.

4. Alianza is at the forefront of innovation in the telco industry. How do you ensure the company is always innovating from a financial perspective?

Our finance department is constantly evolving. Each year, we pick two to three processes or systems and upgrade them. We strive to be scalable at 10X by implementing standardized processes and streamlined operations. Every process gets a fresh set of eyes every two to three years to ensure we are still operating as efficiently as possible. We are not afraid to change the way we do things, and I constantly challenge my team to think of ways we can improve our operations. 

Instead of hiring more people, we upgrade our tools and automate whenever possible so that we can accomplish more with higher quality, consistency and velocity. I’m also excited to continue unlocking new opportunities for growth as AI is becoming more widespread in the financial field!

5. How do you maintain a work-life balance in such a demanding role? How do you spend your time outside of work to stay “grounded”?

No matter how busy I am, I make time for non-negotiables in my personal life. Whether it’s taking a day off from work to attend my daughter’s field trip or showing up in their classroom with treats on their birthday – even if it’s only for 20 minutes. These types of non-negotiables help me feel more connected as a mom, and in turn I can be more focused on work without having any mom-guilt lurking in my head and sabotaging my concentration.  

Exercise is another important one for me. I’ve made it my routine to wake up at 5am and spend the first hour of my day at the gym.  I can’t do everything I’d like to do, but this is the one thing I can always make time to do for myself, which keeps me healthy both mentally and physically. 

Lasty, the terminology of “work-life balance” may be misleading. I don’t consider work and life to be separate events. For me, they blend together, and I feel more grounded when I allow some work into my personal time and some life into my work time.  This way, I can show up to work as my most authentic self, prioritize my day in a way that helps me accomplish more at home and deliver better results at work, leading to greater career longevity and fulfillment.

6. As a Utah-based company, what are some of the benefits to the business of operating its headquarters in the Beehive State?

Utah’s entrepreneurial spirit is contagious. Especially where our HQ is located in Utah’s Lehi Valley deemed the “Silicon Slopes.” We’re surrounded by hundreds of tech startups and in close proximity of several educational institutions – UofU, UVU, BYU and Utah State to name a few. The plethora of young talent paired with Utah’s light government regulations makes for a friendly environment for startups and fosters the entrepreneurial spirit that Utah is known for. I’ve seen many small B2B and B2C businesses (some of them female lead!) take off in the area. From tech unicorns to fast casual dining, a few of my favorites are: Domo, Lucid, Brex, Podium, Ancestry, Gabb, Thread, Kiava Clothing, Crumbl Cookies, Kortni Jeane and Café Rio.

About Eve Werner 

Eve Werner is Chief Financial Officer at Alianza. As a member of Alianza’s executive team, Eve drives the Utah-based company’s financial strategy, managing all financial elements including budgeting, forecasting, accounting and tax.