Meet Melanie Kavanagh: A Committed Accounting and Finance Leader at CFGI’s SF Office

Melanie Kavanagh’s promotion to Partner has been an achievement in the making since the day she walked in the doors at CFGI in 2012. Now a leader at our San Francisco office, Melanie is passionate about all things accounting and finance, bringing her unique focus and attention to detail to everything she does.

Developing strong accounting and finance expertise

After earning her master’s degree in accounting, Melanie entered the field of public accounting at Deloitte, doing external audits for manufacturing and technology companies and gaining experience in a variety of industries.

Melanie’s natural inclination for travel and exploration led her to transfer to the external audit division of Deloitte’s Chicago office in 2008. The chance to discover a new city not only fueled her adventurous spirit but also unlocked new professional opportunities. In 2010, Melanie decided it was time for a change: She bid farewell to Deloitte and took on an accounting and analyst role at PepsiCo. 

While the company signed promotional deals with sports superstars and professional teams like Usain Bolt and Chicago Fire FC, Melanie managed SOX compliance projects, monthly and quarterly consolidation activities and other essential accounting functions.

“It was an exciting time to work at PepsiCo, and it was a great opportunity to gain hands-on operational experience,” she said. “When I later joined CFGI, having that experience was a huge benefit as I supported clients in interim roles.” 

Professional growth at CFGI

After moving back to Boston with her husband in 2012, a recruiter told Melanie about a manager position at a growing company called CFGI. 

“At the time, I didn’t even know that a non-audit accounting advisory firm like CFGI existed,” Melanie said. “But the more I learned about the company, the more it seemed like a good fit for me. Coming from the world of external audits, it was surprising to hear that clients actually like when we come to work with them.”

Melanie started at CFGI supporting a carve-out for a consumer goods company. She soon took on a variety of roles with many different companies and eventually became one of the leaders of CFGI’s Life Science practice. Whether the job called for technical accounting skills, consulting, project support or taking on the role of Interim Controller/VP of Finance, Melanie got the job done while earning high praise from clients.

Over the next several years, Melanie climbed the ladder of success at CFGI, earning promotions to Senior Manager, Managing Director and eventually, Partner.

“When I started at CFGI there were only about 60 employees, and I was conscious of the fact that, like most companies in the industry, it was a male-dominated organization. But I had the mindset that I would always earn my accomplishments. And to the credit of our leadership, I never felt like I was held back because I’m female. And now I’m in a position where I can provide opportunities, support and mentorship to other women in the firm. I’m very proud of the evolution of the company in recent years.”

Melanie’s ability to lead was a key advantage when she moved to CFGI’s newly established San Francisco office in 2018. There, she has been instrumental in bringing CFGI’s unique culture and renowned expertise to the west coast.

Growing the CFGI name in the Bay Area

With two young children in tow, Melanie’s move to San Francisco has been another opportunity to learn and grow. The position allows Melanie and her husband to explore the west coast and return to Boston for personal and professional pursuits.

In the Bay Area, Melanie is focused on building strong relationships with CFGI clients in the Life Sciences space and offering mentorship to the office’s growing team. While the COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges, Melanie believes it has also made it possible to deepen client relationships through face-to-face video calls.

“A lot of the hard work we’ve put in is really starting to pay off,” Melanie said, looking ahead. “If there’s one thing I’m excited about most, it’s growth — growing and developing our team, becoming a dominant player in the Bay Area, being a part of the SPAC and IPO boom — it’s all very exciting, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for CFGI.”

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