In an age where digital transactions have altered how customers interact with companies, Elena Gomez helps fuel that evolution. “People have a higher level of expectation from customer service,” says Gomez, chief financial officer for Zendesk, the San Francisco-based company whose customer service software is used by more than 119,000 companies worldwide.
Gomez was named CFO in May 2016. That same year, Fast Company ranked Zendesk No. 5 on its list of Most Innovative Companies in Enterprise Software. Today, Zendesk helps organizations build the best customer experiences.
“There are a lot of companies trying to innovate in this space, so our work is both an opportunity and a challenge,” Gomez says. “We’re growing fast. Helping my management team identify and prioritize investment choices in collaboration allows me to have a meaningful impact on defining Zendesk’s future.”
Gomez arrived at Zendesk after serving for six years as senior vice president of finance and strategy at cloud computing company Salesforce. She credits Haas for much of her success.
“The bar was set high, and that gave me confidence,” Gomez says. “I’d been given this opportunity to be surrounded by talented students and future leaders in corporate America. I wanted to translate that experience into my career.”
Gomez is particularly proud of being a woman in her role and is on the Founding Advisory Council of Haas’ Center for Gender, Equity & Leadership. Among Fortune 500 companies in 2017, fewer than 13 percent of CFOs were women, according to the Fortune 500 CFO Index. “When I meet with investors, they’re 99 percent men,” Gomez says. “I’m proud that I can set an example for future young leaders who want to be CFOs.” —AF