2019 CFO of the Year: Martin Scanlon, ECMC Group

November 08, 2019

The following article is from Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal

Since Martin Scanlon relocated from California to Minnesota to take on the role of ECMC Group chief financial officer in 2017, he has taken a large role in company expansions and financial planning.

The former CEO of ECMC Holdings, Scanlon has developed financial plans for the company, a nonprofit focused on financial and support services for students, in a time of change and transition. As the company expanded and became a third-party guaranty services provider to guarantor portfolios totaling more than $30 billion, Scanlon has helped it keep appropriate operating margins. He has also helped see it through improvements in company processes and enhancements in technology.

Scanlon serves on the Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest board of directors, a nonprofit that provides financial and college readiness support to students, among other services. ECMC Group has developed a relationship with JAUM that has resulted in ECMC's sponsorship of a learning center at JAUM's St. Paul location.

Scanlon has also participated in volunteer opportunities through ECMC, along with helping provide these activities to other employees.

More from Scanlon …
What advice would you give a high school student? Work hard, establish a strong work ethic and expose yourself to as many experiences as you can. High school is a great time to explore new opportunities as you start to think about what you want to do after graduation. There are a multitude of career paths to be explored and considered, as well as activities to participate in. Above all else, have fun and enjoy yourself!

Why finance as a career? I have always been a numbers person, and found finance and accounting both interesting and challenging. I also enjoy the ability to help define an organization's strategy. In particular, I appreciate the capacity to collaborate with colleagues about the meaning behind the numbers, which enables us to focus on opportunities and mitigate risks. The better we execute on our responsibilities, the more we can deliver on our mission of helping students succeed, while positioning the organization for a sustainable future.

What do you wish people understood about your job? Finance is a job about people as much as it is about numbers. In my role as CFO, I have the pleasure of interacting with people at all levels of the organization with diverse skill sets, which is why it is important for me to be able to meet them where they are and not the other way around.

What ideas have you brought to the organization? I believe it is important for companies to be transparent, whenever possible, about their financial outlook. Not only does it encourage ownership among employees, but it also helps them understand the impact of our organization and the why behind the decisions made.

How do you start your day? A good day starts with getting organized the night before, which helps me focus and ensures I am prepared. I am an early riser and start the day by catching up on the headlines.

What is something not many people know about you? My mother was a CPA, a native Argentine and the inspiration for my career pursuit. Also, I was raised on a dairy farm in Upstate New York.

Martin Scanlon
Chief financial officer, ECMC Group
Hometown: Addison, N.Y.
Education: Bachelor of Science, management, finance, State University of New York at Binghamton
Family: Wife, Anna; children, Kaia (13) and Caden (10)
Hobbies: Playing sports with my children, a variety of outdoor activities, and spending time with my family and friends


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