Marissa Vidaurri Talks Investor Relations
You may have heard that Marissa Vidaurri recently joined the CCN team, launching a new service area for investor relations and communications.
Why is investor relations (IR) a critical function for public companies? What types of projects will she spearhead, and how do those focus areas align with our existing finance and accounting relationships?
We sat down with Marissa to get to know her and dive deeper into her unique expertise…
First things first. What is investor relations?
Investor relations is a critical function with the responsibility to communicate a business’s strategy and financial performance with the investment community as a key stakeholder of a publicly traded company. Investor relations is the primary spokesperson for buy-side and sell-side engagements. The investor relations officer (IRO) serves as a strategic partner to the CEO and CFO. They are also the trusted advisor and connector, ensuring investors’ voices are heard and shared at the highest levels of a company, including the Board.
Can you tell us about your background in IR?
I served a key role in investor relations for over 15 years, working my way up to Vice President at NI (formerly National Instruments). I built that program from the ground up to become what is considered a best-in-class program. The company transformed over the years, so I had to adapt and, in turn, gained a lot of unique experience. I had exposure to corporate strategy shifts, onboarding new C-suite leaders, messaging significant investments in innovation through R&D and M&A. I was at the front lines as a member of the core executive team, messaging those significant changes to investors and our global employees to ensure they were brought along in the journey with clear understanding.
So, IR is central to many pivotal events for business growth.
Definitely. It’s about communicating and being transparent about the performance of the business, whether it’s headwinds or tailwinds. I talk about the 3 Cs of IR:
- Confidence: Do investors have confidence in your strategy?
- Credibility: Are you achieving your strategic goals for the business?
- Consistency: Investors like businesses that consistently meet their financial targets both on a quarterly and annual basis.
Keep in mind that investors don’t look at a public company in a silo. They evaluate a business against the competition in any given industry.
For those companies planning for a potential IPO, how do they start to build a true IR program?
Establish the “must do” actions as a public company. First, establish your target investors and craft a compelling narrative to engage them in your business. You will meet with them in person, on the road, and at banking conferences, so prepare for those discussions and their tough questions.
Next, know your competition and how you perform in comparison. A high-quality annual investor conference is a great way to capture investor attention. This is where you showcase your leadership team, highlight strategic goals and long-term financial plan of record, and introduce priorities of cash like innovation and potential M&A. Logistics like location and timing are just a few of the inputs.
I’m here to partner with an executive team or current IR team to ensure they are prepared from all angles and that all events are flawless.
What about companies that already have IR but want to elevate their program? What does that involve?
An IRO stays plugged into the business in order to be credible to its audience. Investors can read the Ks and the Qs and the quarterly earnings releases, but they want to know the why behind the numbers. That’s the job of investor relations to communicate.
The other piece is building strong, trusting relationships at all levels of the organization. When you are on the front lines with the investment community, you never know what they will ask. In order to be credible and answer any question that comes your way, you have to stay connected to the business and its leadership. These relationships are critical to the success and credibility of an IRO. In turn, investors will have more trust in the IRO as a representative of the leadership team.
I always had a growth mindset. How can anything we do be better? Always be highly responsive, deliver a stronger message, engage higher profile investors, and put forth metrics that really talk to the progress of the business.
Can you discuss how your support can help CFOs and why IR aligns with CCN’s existing finance and accounting work?
At times, small-cap public companies may not have the resources for a full-time IRO. The bulk of that work tends to fall on the CFO, who should be focused on running the business. This is a perfect opportunity to leverage our new CCN offering. This is also the best time to start building your program and setting the “must do” actions I mentioned earlier in motion. Through our fractional IR services, we support the CFO and offload some of that work. At the same time, we’re helping them build the foundations for a best-in-class program, for when they reach capacity for a full-time IRO.
This offering plugs in nicely with CCN’s current financial expertise in finance and FP&A. On the corporate side, there is always a strong partnership between finance and IR, so this is a natural extension to clients. IR consulting allows us to elevate our offering in a new space with strong alignment.
So whether a company is preparing for an IPO, looking for fractional/interim support, or preparing for investor engagement, CCN can help. How can they get started?
I’m always available to talk to interested clients about this new offering. Together, we can assess where you are with your program and the needs to ensure you are making progress, regardless of the size of your business. Sometimes, leaders just need an outside-in perspective to get new ideas flowing, and I am happy to help.
You can contact me directly to discuss the right partnership to achieve investor relations objectives.
Call 512-900-2152 or email Marissa to get started.
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