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Avvo CFO Monica Williams.
Avvo CFO Monica Williams.

Monica Williams has been a financial guru for Seattle tech companies for more than 20 years. Since 2014, she’s been serving as chief financial offer for Avvo, the Seattle-based online legal services directory and lawyer review company.

“I work to ensure Avvo’s long-term financial health and to provide context and analysis to enable strategic decision making,” she explains. “At our stage of growth, it is important to be agile and respond to current conditions, but not to lose sight of the long-term.”

Before Avvo, Williams was CFO of Allrecipes, one of the world’s largest food brands, and director of treasury for Getty Images, the Seattle-based photo giant. In addition managing Avvo’s finances, she leads the company’s facilities team, and spearheaded the selection and design of Avvo’s new downtown offices.

“I’m a big believer that the physical work space influences culture,” she said. “One of our core values is being transparent, and the amount of glass in our office shows that. We have tons of collaborative spaces, quiet spaces and natural light.”

We caught up with Williams for this installment of Working Geek, a regular feature on GeekWire. Continue reading for her answers to our questionnaire.

Current Location: Downtown Seattle.

Computer types: I use a Mac at home and a PC at work. (Excel 2016 for the Mac is compelling, so maybe this is the year I go all Mac, all the time).

Mobile devices: iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch.

Favorite apps, cloud services and software tools: Starbucks app — mobile order is awesome! Excel, of course. Excel makes me happy.

Describe your workspace. Why does it work for you? I love my standing desk, which most everybody has here, and my two big monitors to see lots of data. I also love being in the downtown core both because of the energy and the convenience.

Monica 1

Your best advice for managing everyday work and life? Identify the time you are most productive in the day, and prioritize your most important things for that time. I like to come in super early and get the important stuff done by 9:00 a.m.

Your preferred social network? How do you use it for business/work? LinkedIn is great to keep track of all the professional contacts in my life.

Current number of unanswered emails in your inbox? 27. It is easy to fall behind in email, so I track this stat daily on a Post-It. It helps motivate me to move things out quickly with the appropriate action…respond, file, delete.

Number of appointments/meetings on your calendar this week? 25 and I’m taking Friday off.

How do you run meetings? Have an agenda, start on time and end on time. We have a great culture here of starting meetings on time…rarely do they start more than one or two minutes late.

Everyday work uniform? Jeans, T-shirt, and some sort of sweater or jacket.

How do you make time for family? I’m home for dinner almost every night. I flex early, rather than stay late. At home, I’m disconnected from email, unless there is something particularly time-sensitive going on. I limit the number of non-work hour commitments to the events that have the most value to me and to Avvo. (You won’t find me on the golf course or at a soccer game with vendors).

Best stress reliever? How do you unplug? We play a lot of board games at home. Current favorites are Machi Koro, King of Tokyo and Love Letter. Laughing and playing with kids is the best stress reliever.

What are you listening to? At home, the “Everything is Awesome” Pandora station is constantly on. I’ve been squeezing in courses whenever I have a few spare minutes. Buddha Bar and Café Del Mar are my go-to for early work mornings.

Daily reads? Favorite sites and newsletters? GeekWire, TechCrunch, NPR, BBC, SmartBrief for CFOs, and LinkedIn.

Book on your nightstand (or e-reader)? Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Gunaratana.

Where do you get your best ideas? From talking with people. I love working in a collaborative setting and getting different perspectives. There’s always something I didn’t think of and that we can build on.

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