The Evolution of Financial Leadership in Healthcare

May 28, 2024

A Q&A Session with Klein Hersh’s Kate Jeffries

When San Francisco native Kate Jeffries was considering where to build her career in healthcare executive recruitment, she quickly realized relocating to Philadelphia to join Klein Hersh was the best move. We sat down with Kate to talk about her newly created position at the firm, the increasing demand for talent in her focus area, and what she loves about her new hometown.

Let’s begin with an overview of your role at Klein Hersh.

Kate Jeffries (KJ): I joined Klein Hersh in October 2023 as an Associate Director in the healthcare practice. I was brought in specifically to focus on recruiting financial leadership for healthcare companies, where the need for talent is growing exponentially. Most of my responsibilities revolve around finding the right candidates for key roles such as Controller, Vice President of Finance, and Chief Financial Officer.

How does your specific area of focus fit within the healthcare practice at Klein Hersh?

KJ: There’s a lot of overlap and collaboration across our team. I work closely with Michael Frank and Michael Leonard, who co-founded and co-lead the healthcare practice, as well as my colleagues Stephen Love, who focuses on our work in product operations and strategy, and Jack Weissman, who focuses on the commercial side. My focus is to further develop the finance division. There’s been an increase in recruitment needs across the healthcare practice in general year over year, and Klein Hersh recognized that to continue delivering the same level of talent and high touch experience we pride ourselves in, we would need to expand the team. Based on current industry needs, the time was right to have a subject matter expert in my area.

What is driving the demand for strong financial leadership in healthcare?

KJ: Many companies didn’t “upgrade” their CFOs during the boom of 0% interest rates and found themselves caught in a tough position when the economic environment shifted. Most of these CFOs, whether due to their own lapse or overall company strategy, failed to put in place the proper controls for an increase in interest rates. We’re seeing a growing need for quality CFOs across the healthcare space overall, and a particular uptick in interest for CFOs with PE transaction and/or IPO experience. In addition to placing financial leaders in full-time roles, we’re also seeing an increasing need to fill fractional positions with experts who can help with a specific transaction or provide mentorship or guidance in a certain area.

Tell us about the most sought-after skills and experience you and your clients are searching for in potential candidates.

KJ: We’re seeing three main demands in terms of finance talent today. The first is about operational efficiency―CFOs who cannot only manage the finance function, but also have experience in operations. So, a CFO/COO hybrid type. Second is the demand for talent with deep experience raising capital. This function has become more difficult in the last few years, so it’s mission critical. Third, as the IPO funnel has begun to open up, our clients are looking for CFOs with IPO experience who can help take later-stage companies public or position them for a strategic PE exit.

What enables Klein Hersh to excel in recruiting top talent?

KJ: I see two major differentiators―the first being that the average tenure here is more than 10 years. So, the knowledge of our team is unmatched, as are the personal relationships everyone has built. Second, and equally important, is the depth of care our recruiters bring to each search. Everyone at Klein Hersh truly believes in the missions of our clients and we’re completely dedicated to supporting their work.

How do you see the firm’s healthcare practice evolving in the coming years?

KJ: The healthcare space is continuously evolving and will do so for decades to come. A lot of the changes have to do with the emergence of new technologies. Artificial intelligence (AI) is going to play a big role in creating a more efficient healthcare ecosystem moving forward. Tech-enabled healthcare platforms have allowed us to expand our networks beyond candidates in the traditional healthcare space. No longer must you always have a healthcare background to become a player in this space.

What about the firm compelled you to relocate from San Francisco to Philadelphia, and to choose Klein Hersh to launch your career?

KJ: I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and attended school in the south at Tulane University. I always knew my next step would be the east coast. I had never been to Philly before interviewing at Klein Hersh. The number one thing that stood out to me, compared to other firms I interviewed with, was Klein Hersh’s commitment to the growth, development and success of this team, and the clients we work with. I felt confident that Klein Hersh was the place to launch my career, and that gave me the confidence to take the leap to move to a new city.

What do you enjoy most about your work at Klein Hersh?

KJ: What I love most is the chance to continuously learn about the most innovative healthcare companies out there, and to partner with their talented leadership teams to continue to expand those teams at the executive level. Forming relationships with individuals who have already impacted healthcare for the best, and will undoubtedly continue to do so, is something I value and find so inspiring. I have the privilege to wake up every day and do this work, and do so alongside a dedicated group of individuals who have become a second family to me. I can confidently say I know my team here always has my back, and that level of care and consistency translates to our work. We show up for our clients in the same way we show up for each other.

What are your thoughts about Philadelphia as a place to live and work?

KJ: I think Philly is such an underrated city. There’s an incredible food scene here. I’m a big foodie―I love to cook and I love going out to eat, so that’s very appealing for me. There’s tons of history―I get to walk by Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell every day on my way to work. How many people can say they get a U.S. history tour on their 10-minute commute? And of course, Philly has the most dedicated sports fans I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m making new friends, enjoying new experiences, and having a blast. I’m definitely very happy with my decision.

Authored by
Kate Jeffries
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About the Author
Kate Jeffries is an Associate at Klein Hersh. After graduating from Tulane University in May 2023, Kate joined Klein Hersh to support the executive recruitment efforts across the healthcare practice. The practice operates at the epicenter of the healthcare industry, helping dynamic organizations on the cutting edge of innovation to recruit bold executive leaders. Whether it is healthcare-focused venture capital ...