Technology and business transformation leader of the Finance Transformation, Global Business Services & Analytics at Moody's Corporation
With 22 years in the field – much of which has been spent in leadership roles – Jeff Klebanoff knows more than a little something about finance. Back in 1999, when he joined PwC and was doing similar work to that of his present job as MD of Finance Transformation, Global Business Services and Analytics at Moody's, he quickly understood the vital role technology would come to play.
“It was booming then and it's booming now, so it's been a key area of focus for me. I got a Six Sigma black belt, which really helped me to get a handle on the process, too.” But technology doesn't have all the answers. “I'd say my primary emphasis is on the human side. You can't have transformation without people. So, it's been a real area of focus for me throughout my career.”
So, why finance? “It's ever-changing, and there's no shortage of challenges. Additionally, you get to work with so many smart people who know a lot more than you do.
“At Moody's, you get to really showcase your skills and learn where you need to continue to improve. I've been at Moody's for more than three years, and we are definitely a cool company with leadership that truly understands where improvement is needed. That's something I am passionate about, and something I've been successful at.”
Jeff has done demonstrably well in project, process, execution and excellence over his career. He thrives on getting things done, leading both people and teams while remaining adaptable – as the business had to be when the COVID-19 pandemic struck just two days into the second phase of the finance transformation project.
When it comes to leadership style, Jeff describes himself as transparent – especially when giving advice to team leaders. “Above all, be human, something too many leaders miss. I try to push the envelope, both for myself and for them. One of my leaders came to me recently and said, 'you sure have high expectations, but you're fair.' That made my day. I am part of my team, and they know I have their back.”
Jeff's core values include integrity: it's important to him that people are honest and do what they say they will. His major pet peeve is a passive-aggressive attitude. Asked for his role model, he names Rocky Balboa – a fellow Philadelphian. “He's an underdog who won't give up, and I admire that in people. People who combine goals with accountability and perseverance.”
But even someone as dedicated to work as Jeff has to unwind. He's a fan of all sports, particularly ice hockey, which he played when younger. “If Philadelphia is involved, I like to be there, feeling excited – or, more often, disappointed.
“The pandemic taught me the importance of taking a break; so, in my spare time, I like to cycle, spend time with my wife and our dogs, hang out with friends, and watch TV that doesn't call for much mental effort.”
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