Kathy Ryan profile picture

Kathy Ryan

Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, RoseRyan

RoseRyan is a finance and accounting consulting firm that delivers specialized firepower exactly when and where it’s needed. We’ve helped more than 800 companies of all kinds and sizes since 1993, receiving accolades for leadership and innovation along the way. While we focus on private and public tech and life science companies, we can help companies in any industry overcome a remarkable array of finance challenges throughout their lifecycle.

What’s the background to the business? I worked at PwC for 7 years and then went to Quantum where I was the Director of Finance for 7 years. They used a lot of consultants at Quantum and that’s when I had the idea of starting a consulting business with a co-worker from Quantum. We wrote a business plan and sent out 100 letters of introduction. In the first week we had 7 calls. We accepted 2 of those offers and after a year we decided we needed to expand our business. That was 23 years ago. Today RoseRyan has 80 employees.

BUSINESS BRIEFING

Business goal for the next 12 months: We write a strategic plan for the next 3 years and we’re implementing that plan now. We’ve made investments in culture, client services, and learning and development. Since we now have the right people in place, our goals this year are focused on growing revenue.

Advice you wish you had received when you started your business: Live your values. The foundation of a business is its culture. I try to embed our values in the culture of the company.

Key to RoseRyan’s success is the firm’s culture and core values: Being trustworthy, valuing excellence, being an advocate and acting as a team. These cornerstone values, along with hard work and common sense, are an integral part of what we do and continue to propel the firm’s growth and customer loyalty which adds up to an unbelievable value for our clients.

Best business decision: My best decision was to redirect the company towards how I wanted it to grow, and to run the business with the values I had and the culture I believed would be successful and create a great place to work.

I think that culture is incredibly important for a company. I learned this probably the hard way. But we have, as a company, really put a lot of focus into that, identified what our values are, what we want the company to be, what kind of clients we want to work with, what kind of partners we want to work with. So, how our cultures and values are aligned, we think that makes for a hugely successful company and a great place to work, a fun place to work.

Toughest business decision: Letting someone know that consulting is not for them.

Person most admired: My parents. They instilled three important values in me: family, education, and independence. They had a strong work ethic and valued education. I appreciate those values and continue to read and learn and exercise the creative side of my brain.

Like most about job: I love the creative side of my work. I enjoy learning about business and growing this company. We have been honored with the Best Places to Work award in the Bay Area for several years, which I’m proud of.

One of my mottos is “Not Me, We,” and we seek feedback from employees and implement change. We’ve formed a Book Club, we have wine tastings, and we have some kettle balls in the office so employees can work out here. These are all ideas we implemented to build our team and culture.

Like least about job: CEO is a lonely job. It’s great to have a support group.

Dream job: If I wasn’t doing this I think I’d like to be a librarian, because I love books and reading.

BEHIND THE SUIT

Birthplace: I was born in Butte, Montana and I have a lot of family there still. I moved to San Jose when I was 4.

Education: I earned a BA in Accounting from Santa Clara University. My first job was with PriceWaterhouse Coopers in their Audit Group, and then I moved to their Tax Group.

Favorite book: I have a couple, the Outlander series, the Tolkien series, and “…And Ladies of the Club”.

Favorite movie: An Affair to Remember.

Outside of work: Spending time with family. Reading, needlepoint, golf.

Community: Over the years I’ve been involved in my children’s school and church. Lately I’ve been assisting one of RoseRyan’s non-profit clients, supporting their programs.

Family: I have four sisters, two of them work at RoseRyan. I’m married and have three adult children.