Complacency isn’t in Rhonda Bashnick’s repertoire. From her early career in the oil and gas industry, to her leadership roles in tax and finance at Shaw Communications when the Internet was in its infancy, Rhonda is always looking for the next big challenge. Now, her forward momentum has brought her to Long View, where, as our first female CFO, she is leading the team that will bring us into our next major phase of growth.
On Passion and Team Building
“I’m passionate about what I do,” says Rhonda. “I think that is my real strength.” That passion encompasses many aspects of her career, from the tech industry to finance to building the cohesive, high performing teams that are vital to the kind of work she strives to achieve.
“That’s what I really love is building these great teams that can give operations that extra knowledge that they need to make the right decisions.”
Rhonda sees her team not as a cog in the wheel, but as a partner with the company. “I want to build that finance team that doesn’t just deliver results, but that delivers the results and gives business insights that help drive the business forward.”
This was Rhonda’s vision when she built Shaw’s first in-house tax group, and then went on to become the VP Finance: “I led a very large team there,” she recalls, “and I’m proud because I’d say we built a world-class finance team.”
Now, building her team at Long View, Rhonda is pleased with the results. “I really enjoy working with the people here,” she says. “I really see that we can work together and take this company to the next level.”
On Being a Woman in Tech
The seventeen years Rhonda spent with Shaw saw the advent of the Internet, VOIP and WiFi — an exciting time to work in tech, and an environment that suited Rhonda’s passion for forward movement. She admits, “Tech was always very interesting for me, and continues to be so, because it’s always evolving.”
Being a woman in the tech industry, for Rhonda, isn’t just about passion — it’s also about representation. “Technology has changed our lives, and it’s going to continue to change our lives,” she enthuses. “ Technology impacts everybody. So we need leaders who represent the people who are being impacted.”
On Leadership and Risk
Over the course of her career, Rhonda has fine-tuned her approach to leadership.
“First and foremost, it’s all about integrity,” says Rhonda. “Particularly in my role in finance, I always stand behind doing the right thing. People respect you for that.” And Rhonda reflects that respect back to her team members; she is intentional about being transparent, about sharing her passion and vision, and about acknowledging the team’s achievements. “It wasn’t me who did great things, it was the team. We did great things together. It’s about acknowledging that.”
Integrity, respect and teamwork are cornerstones of Rhonda’s leadership, but another quality she both embodies and recommends to future leaders is courage.
“Use the courage,” she exhorts. “Be bold. Keep reaching forward, keep moving forward. Take a chance. Because I look back and I think, if I hadn’t taken some chances over the years I would never be where I am today. And I love what I do, I feel privileged to have had the opportunities I’ve had, to work with the people I have, and it was all just taking that next step. Did I ever think I’d be a Senior VP at Shaw or the CFO here? No, I didn’t. It was just the next step.”
On Long View and the Future
Being the CFO at Long View wasn’t Rhonda’s plan. “I had actually retired. I was retired for about 17 months,” she recalls, “and initially I had said no.” But after meeting with Don Bialik, Long View’s Executive Chairman, she realized this was another risk she wanted to take. “I really like Don. I liked his passion for this company, his passion for the people here, and his vision for being a 100 year company, and I thought, I want to be part of that. I’ve still got some stuff left in me.”
Rhonda doesn’t come out of retirement for nothing. She’s got big plans for her finance team. “Finance needs to make a big impact here at Long View,” she says. “We’re taking this company to a billion dollars in revenue, and I want to be part of it. So that is my next challenge.”