For most people, accepting a new job can be a leap of faith. The company, its culture and its employees remain mostly a mystery until you've already committed yourself to the position. Luckily for Diana Cecchini, that wasn't the case.
Twenty years ago, Cecchini crossed paths with Korg USA as an auditor with a public accounting firm. "I went about the audit and they must have liked what they saw in me because they offered me a job," said Cecchini, who started at the company as an assistant controller. "I was happy because I knew how the company functioned already and I really knew the culture there before coming in."
The culture at Korg has proved to be particularly welcoming to Cecchini, as she's grown with the company not only professionally but personally, as well.
"I had the luxury of working for someone who understood the career-work balance—Joseph Castronovo, who is now the president of Korg," said Cecchini. "He would give me a lot of flexibility, so I could come in late or run out if I had to for my kids, as long as the work got done."
Cecchini has had two children during her tenure at Korg, and earned her MBA at night at the same time. Especially coming from a male-dominated industry like finance, Cecchini recognized the amazing support that allowed her to cultivate a successful work and home life at the same time.
"The job allowed me to have it all because I gave it my all," she said. "I have the luxury of working with a person who treated me as an equal because of my skill set and performance. I even got promoted while I was on maternity leave after my second child was born. I think that's great and it's why I love this company. It shows the promotion was all about performance."
Cecchini has had many more promotions since then. She now holds the important and high-powered position of CFO, as well as VP of Finance. She is involved with many aspects of the company, from executive strategy planning to setting managerial goals. Cecchini is also part of a committee that explores new opportunities for the company.
"We launched the new Blackstar amp line at NAMM and I negotiated with the manufacturer on the terms and conditions, pricing and contracts. I met with the directors at that company and made sure this was a partnership that worked to our mutual benefit," Cecchini explained.
Dealing with so many different people from banks, suppliers, Korg's parent company and more has been a new experience for Cecchini, but she has more than risen to the challenge.
"CPAs are very detail oriented and typically not outgoing, but, in this position, you have to have a broader sense of what's going on," she said. "I had to look at things in a broader way. I have to deal with sales and marketing issues. I have to understand where companies are coming from and take all their input to see where we stand when we do budgeting and pricing. It's not just finance. You've got to look at the different perspectives."
Cecchini has grown to become an integral part of the Korg team, and has even become the go-to person for many people on the staff. "My door is always open. People are always in here. It's good when an executive is approachable," she said. "I'm very passionate and a good listener. People feel comfortable with me."
In addition to her warmth and knowledge, Cecchini feels a key factor she brings to her job is the fact that she is not a musician. "I like music, but I don't need a background in music to have my position," said Cecchini, who says a lack of time and talent prevent her from attempting the piano and guitar in her home. "I love the passion in MI, but I'm fortunate in that my job does not allow me to get caught up in gear lust. I can look at a product in a business way."
Simply the Best
For now, Cecchini's main goal is to make Korg USA as good as it can be. She is proud of her work in implementing the Enterprise Resource Software program at Korg, also known as PeopleSoft, which is used for accounting, inventory and shipping activities. Cecchini also enjoys working with Korg's expansive dealer network to help them be successful with the company's many products.
"The industry changed with these big retailers coming in," said Cecchini. "I'm very involved with Guitar Center and Sam Ash, and I'm helping independent retailers, too, with their financing programs. We have some of the best financing terms in the industry. This helps our dealers to obtain more product at a very low cost to them so as to maintain their profitability on Korg USA's product offerings. Especially when credit was tight, I was very involved with helping to make that happen for them."
Cecchini is proud to work at Korg, and her children are proud that she works there, too. She brought her daughter to the NAMM show in Anaheim this past January, "so she could experience it," Cecchini said. "My daughter said, 'You have the type of job you can do anywhere, so why not be in pharmaceuticals?' I answered, 'Because I love what I do.' The energy you feel in MI is something you can't feel anywhere else. It gives you drive to continue because the people are so passionate."
She continued, "That's why I'm here, and I plan to stay here at Korg, if they'll have me. I've helped move the company forward and the future is bright for us. It's been challenging, especially these past few years with the way the economy has gone, but things are starting to change slowly. I'm looking forward to that."
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