Awards and Recipients

Financial Executives International (FEI) is the premier association for CFO’s and other

senior financial executives in the United States and Canada.

Mike Medema

Legacy.com, Inc.

Mike Medema is a combination strategic and hands-on CFO who focuses his efforts on improving financial performance and driving operational efficiency. Mike joined Legacy.com, a digital publisher of obituary content, in late 2018 during a first ever period of declining revenue. Over the next 2-1/2 years, Mike led the acquisition due diligence efforts and closed four M&A transactions – one in under six weeks – that significantly improved the Company’s operational capabilities and financial performance. In the years 2018 to 2021, the Company’s revenue doubled – half from organic growth and half from M&A – supply channels diversified from one to five, and product offerings grew from one to four, dramatically decreasing business model risk.

As the business grew in complexity and in collaboration with the other members of Legacy’s senior leadership team, Mike designed and built a financial model that transformed the way financial information was viewed and consumed by Legacy’s leadership. The new consolidated forecasting model dynamically and instantaneously forecast operating results 24 months into the future using variable drivers and assumptions to provide leadership an early detection of EBITDA and cash performance. Standardized KPI and dashboard reports were also created to provide accurate and consistent year-over-year and monthly trend analyses.

In the midst of rapidly growing and evolving revenue streams, Mike constructed a revenue model that reorganized the way revenue was reported. Viewed by category and sales channel, the disparate revenue lines from multiple companies were unified into one holistic model which provided management and the Board of Directors a better understanding of how the Company’s revenue channels were diversifying, growing, and performing.

To better support the new acquisitions and reduce their administrative burden, Mike drove the post-acquisition integration, consolidation and centralization of financial reporting, accounting, business insurance, HR, and employee benefits from Legacy’s Chicago office. Along with his financial acumen, Mike’s greatest asset is his leadership, encouragement, and personal attention to his teams comprised of Accounting, Finance, Business Intelligence, and HR.

Mike leads others by example and empowers his team to challenge his way of thinking using an “iron sharpens iron” philosophy. In the process, he ensures that everyone has input and participates in generating better decisions. Encouraging his team to push back also enables Mike to build strong and confident leaders capable of rising in their professional careers and assuming greater responsibility in their current roles.

Prior to joining Legacy, Mike began his career in public accounting and subsequently spent over 20 years in technology start-ups and venture capital backed firms here in Chicago. Simultaneously, Mike served in the United States Air Force Reserves as a lead navigator flying C-130 aircraft based out of Chicago’s O’Hare airport. During his ten years of service, Mike flew over 1,500 flight hours while also working as a civilian in his multiple roles in Chicago.

Mike has found that many concepts and techniques applicable in military aviation have parallels in civilian business. For example:

  • The use of checklists to ensure processes are consistently followed and errors reduced.
  • Situational Awareness – being vigilant of current and anticipate external threats to the business and take pre-emptive action.
  • “Flexibility is the Key to Airpower” and is also key to business success.
  • Most important is the concept of Crew Resource Management (CRM), defined by the FAA as “A focus on situation awareness, communication skills, teamwork, task allocation and decision-making within a comprehensive framework of standard operating procedures (SOP).”

Mike has leveraged each of these concepts to build better processes, more efficient operations, and most importantly, a more capable and competent team and leaders at Legacy.

Mike earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accountancy from Northern Illinois University and is a CPA.

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