Steven Neiffer

Project Planning - International Tours

Planned and executed two international tours for 100 singers of the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles, both of which were mission-focused with historical consequences.  The 1999 Russian tour was unique because the Chorus was the first self-identified gay organization to perform in the country.  Sold out Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow and the Glinka Kapella in St. Petersburg, with national and international television and print coverage.  Highlights of the 2006 South American tour included the first-of-its-kind performance event in Santiago, performances for political dignitaries in Uruguay and the formation of a new chorus in Rio de Janeiro.

As Tour Chairman, I:

  • Served as the liaison between the membership, staff and the Board of Directors;
  • Led the membership through planning processes to determine the tour destinations that would appeal to the organization's mission and desire for a pioneering achievement; 
  • Helped the organizing committee develop a request for proposal (RFP) and vet tour management companies' responses to it, ultimately making a hiring recommendation to Board:
  • Managed cash flows from participants and to the tour management company to avoid commingling these funds with the Chorus's general operating funds; 
  • Developed a scholarship underwriting committee charter, developed scholarship request materials and disseminated an $80,000 scholarship pool; 
  • Served on tour advance team, making decisions on performance venues, hotels, transportation alternatives, etc.; and
  • Handled all day-to-day decisions during the tour, including media requests for live performances and interviews.        


Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (2009 to 2011)

Board Treasurer & CFO

Served as Board Treasurer and pro bono CFO for performing-arts organization with $1 million annual budget, an endowment and an annual audit requirement.  Provided guidance to Board and leadership to staff on all financial matters, working closely with the Executive Director and the Board’s Executive Committee (of which I was a member).  Made significant improvements in budgetary accuracy and accountability by developing a detailed planning model based on the organization’s program-management structure.  Designed general ledger data capture to support grant reporting.  With the Executive Director, managed cash flows on a daily basis during the difficult times of the Great Recession, making strategic course corrections when needed, rallying the Board to higher levels of fundraising and, as a result, keeping the organization viable. 


  • Introduced financial reports that were reader-friendly to all Board members, regardless of financial sophistication, and provided forward-looking assessments of the implications of budget variances and necessary corrective actions.
  • Presented financial results regularly to volunteers at Town Hall meetings, including candid question-and-answer sessions that helped build a reservoir of goodwill amongst the volunteers.
  • Created bottom-up budgeting and results-accountability processes that involved all program managers and increased institutional understanding of the organization’s economics, challenges, opportunities and cause-and-effect relationships.
  • As tour chairman, planned and executed two international performance tours (Russia, 1999; South America, 2006). 

I had the pleasure of working with Steve for a number of years, when he held the role of Treasurer to the Board at Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles. Steve has a gift for providing clear, unbiased opinion and comment and - rare amongst finance professionals in my experience - is an able communicator of financial principles and facts. Together, we managed an ever-changing budget, navigating the many challenges of running a small arts organization during the most severe financial crisis since the 1930's. I hope to have the privilege of working with Steve again. -- Hywel Sims, Former Executive Director of GMCLA.


Mountain Trekking:  Machu Picchu (2002), Nepal (2004) & Kilimanjaro (2013)

Amateur pianist.

Portfolio Materials

Work History

Work History
Jul 2014 - Present

Advisory CFO

DCE, Incorporated

Provide financial leadership with respect to business plan, financial model, valuation, capital structure and investor solicitation to startup company in the food-delivery industry.

Nov 2013 - Present

CFO (pro bono)

West Coast Anti-Money Laundering Forum

Lead accounting, finance, taxes, insurance and banking relationships for educational non-profit organization.  Other improvements: outsourced day-to-day accounting, established Cloud-based network to serve as this virtual business’s information repository, reviewed insurance program, implemented investment policy and filed tax returns 45 days early. 

Aug 2006 - Sep 2013

Chief Financial and Administrative Officer

Ascension Insurance, Inc.

Scope:  Accounting, HR, IT, Finance, Corporate Planning, Budgeting, Planning & Analysis, Financial Modeling, Compensation Design, Policy Development and Corporate Administration

Initially recruited as CAO to bring structure to Pan American’s non-sales functions by rebuilding the accounting/HR/administrative team, creating greater urgency around deadlines and by establishing corporate policies that improved efficiencies.  

Promoted by Ascension to Western Region CFO post-acquisition to guide the region’s financial strategy and unify its culture.  Managed budgeting and financial analysis and reporting, delivered predictive, forward-looking projection models based on actionable business drivers, increased profit margins through revenue-improvement and cost-efficiency initiatives, defined producer and staff incentive compensation plans, analyzed acquisitions and led the smoothest acquisition integration in Ascension’s history.

Representative Achievements

  • Segmentation Reveals Strategy.  Using segmentation analyses, clarified profit performance to private-equity owners, developing rate-of-return strategies to address segment-unique opportunities and challenges.  
  • Achieved High Returns in Adverse Environments.  Improved compensation-to-revenue ratio and generated 20-25% EBITDA margins in a declining-revenue environment by leveraging interpersonal relationships to achieve buy-in for difficult financial decisions that involved shared sacrifice.
  • Successful M&A On-boarding.  Drove Ascension’s most successful acquisition integration, generating 25%+ EBITDA margins and year-over-year top-line growth while simultaneously improving satisfaction of initially wary employees.
  • Unified Culture.   Divergent legacy-company cultures unified by organizing staff and reporting relationships around the Region’s distinct business/customer segments and by de-emphasizing legacy institution identification.

Steve is an exceptionally competent executive who combines a keen mind with some of the best verbal and written communications skills that I’ve ever come across. He is equally comfortable in a board environment and communicating to the rank and file in an organization. Steve is a financial executive that has a great sense of operations and the value drivers in the business. He never shies away from making tough decisions or delivering bad news when necessary but he is always cognizant of the effect his actions might have on individuals in the company. Steve is a consummate professional that would be a tremendous asset in any organization.  -- Bob Schneider, Ascension Corporate CFO

Jul 2000 - Jul 2006

Chief Financial Officer & Corp Secretary

Answer Financial, Incorporated

Scope: Finance, Accounting, Financial Reporting, Cash Management, Financial Modeling and Planning & Analysis

Recruited to bring structure to Accounting function and to build the financial analysis tools required to drive and manage rapid startup growth.  Created collaborative relationships with senior leadership team by helping them to define relevant key business drivers/metrics and demonstrating cause-and-effect in business-forecasting model; executed corporate planning, finance, treasury, and accounting functions; and built and managed relationships with public accountants, bankers and private equity investors. As CFO/Corporate Secretary, partnered with CEO to generate $66M in new capital and convert senior-secured debt holdings into equity despite negative cash-flow environment. 

Representative Achievements

  • Aligned Fragmented Management Team.  Instrumental in aligning a fractious senior-management team around a common strategic pathway forward that laid the foundation for collaboration, harmony and long-term effectiveness. 
  • Better Forecasting; Better Outcomes.   Built sophisticated business-forecasting model that improved organizational efficiency and increased agency commission yields by 35%. 
  • Clarified Economics of Subscription Model.   Addressed private-equity owners’ concerns about cost structure by modifying reporting package to differentiate acquisition costs vs. service costs, highlight per-policy economics and indicate internal rates of return on each business line.
  • Compensation Redesigned to Reward Customer Retention.  Created performance-based incentive plans that improved agent productivity, reduced customer delivery costs, increased customer-life duration and supported profit margins.
May 1999 - Apr 2000

Interim Chief Financial Officer

Jackson Federal Bank

Recruited by CEO to lead Finance, Treasury, and Accounting for savings bank subsidiary of Jackson National Life and improve relations with banking regulators.  Made significant improvements to the bank’s financial operations, internal controls, decision framework, and pricing discipline. Performed due diligence on three acquisitions. Chaired Asset/Liability Committee.

Jun 1998 - Apr 1999

Vice President

Southern Pacific Bank

Recruited for limited-term assignment to build a financial planning department.  Delivered the first 3-year strategic plan, annual report and a cost-center-level annual operating budget.  Resolved long-standing regulatory reporting quality problems, alleviating regulatory censure; introduced line-of-business economic analysis highlighting relative returns on capital and improving risk-management.   

Nov 1988 - May 1998

VP-Controller, Corp Secretary & Investor Relations Manager

CENFED Financial/CenFed Bank

Scope:  Accounting, Budgeting, Planning & Analysis, Financial Modeling and Investor Relations

Initially recruited to transform the Accounting function of a mutual savings and loan, achieved by reorganizing, acquiring new talent and strengthening internal control standards.  Role expanded significantly in connection with 1991 initial public offering and the duties associated therewith:  SEC reporting, corporate governance and investor relations.  Also managed relations with outside legal counsel, public accountants and regulators.

Representative Achievements

  • Built IPO-ready Finance Team.  Within first twelve months, built a team of professionals with skills necessary to handle accounting duties for an IPO and subsequent public-company reporting obligations.
  • Demonstrated Leadership during IPO.  Spearheaded the preparation of public-company registration statement, represented the company during the independent auditors’ comfort letter review and was key member of the IPO underwriting team.
  • Successfully Managed Capital Market Relationships.  Handled public-reporting (SEC) duties, developed strong relationships with Wall Street community, advised the board on public-company governance matters and, finally, helped sell the company in 1998 for 7X the IPO price.
  • Implemented LOB/Product Profitability Reporting.  Implemented line-of-business and product profitability reporting systems in a shared distribution environment, resulting in more intelligent capital allocation and superior product features and pricing.


Sep 1999 - Apr 2001


Pepperdine University

Obtained an MBA through Pepperdine's executive MBA program.

Jan 1978 - Aug 1979

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with honors

Washington University in St. Louis