Hiking, Biking, Rafting CFO Wins "Secret Lives" Contest

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By Christina Camara

If there's one CFO who bucks the stereotype of the nerdy accountant, it's Cathy Shoenfeld, who takes full advantage of the Rocky Mountains where she lives and works.

Shoenfeld, CFO of Eldorado Artesian Springs Inc., won a new contest sponsored by CBIZ this year called Behind the Numbers  The Secret Lives of CFOs. CBIZ asked CFOs to submit photos of themselves enjoying their life outside work. They received dozens of photos from CFOs jumping from airplanes, cycling, and scuba diving or pursuing more tame adventures, such as camping or enjoying time with their children.

But it was Shoenfeld who gained the most votes for her photos of a weeklong rafting trip through Desolation Canyon on the Colorado River. "We were out on the river, with no cell phones, no computers, no iPads, and we had a fantastic time out there", she said.

Shoenfeld met her husband-to-be whitewater kayaking, and now they have two daughters, eight and ten, who've also been bitten by the outdoor recreation bug. In fact, the family has so many outdoor hobbies – hiking, camping, and rock climbing to name a few – that it was hard for Shoenfeld to choose which photos to submit.

"She's a great example of the variety of talents and interests that these CFOs have", said Amanda Markos, CBIZ social media marketing manager. She said the contest attracted twenty-seven CFO contestants, 10,700 visitors to the contest page on Facebook, and 131 new "likes" to the page. "We didn't know how receptive CFOs and businesses would be, but it was a happy surprise."

Shoenfeld did some social networking of her own to receive the 160 or so votes to win the contest, spreading the word through LinkedIn and the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), which offers the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation. During the six-week contest, she reconnected with many professional colleagues she hadn't seen in years. "It was really fun", she said.

Shoenfeld, originally from Walpole, Massachusetts, visited Colorado for a summer vacation when she was in college twenty-five years ago. This self-described "mountain girl" never left, finishing school at the University of Colorado. She's had a great time ever since, exploring all the recreation the Rockies have to offer. 

She also enjoys working for Eldorado Artesian Spring, a small bottled water company that began in 1983 when the partners bought the twenty-eight-acre Eldorado Springs Resort, once called the "Coney Island of the West." The resort included the springs, a resort pool, bottling plant, and other homes and buildings. Situated in a gorgeous canyon, with a spring-fed, 1905 swimming pool open for the employees, Shoenfeld was naturally attracted to the unique company.

"It's a great company to work for. I've been here forever, and my day-to-day covers everything from financials to accounting to IT to . . . everything", Shoenfeld says. "There's a lot of variety during the day."

Markos said CBIZ will run the contest again to highlight the diversity and talents of America's CFOs. The company is already getting responses from people who are interested in entering next year. This year, the grand prize was a personalized iPad and a customized plaque, and the top ten vote-getters received iPods and plaques. 

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