Meet Our CFO, Becky Zehr
Maggie Weeks |May. 21, 2021
Q: Tell us a bit about your background, and your work before Realtime Robotics.
A: Throughout my career, I’ve worked with both small and large private and public companies. I started in the pharma field, which morphed into biotech, and then into just tech. All have been local to the Massachusetts area.
Most recently, I was the CFO of Evolv Technology, helping to scale them from the pre-revenue stage upward. I think I enjoy working with startups the most - the entrepreneurial spirit, the all hands on deck mentality. I guess you could say I’ve become sort of a “serial start-up CFO.”
Q: What convinced you to join Realtime Robotics?
A: I didn’t need much convincing. The company was being run by good people with excellent backgrounds, which is always attractive, and to put it simply, the technology was cool and I wanted to learn more about it. I’m glad I did.
Q: What are your responsibilities at Realtime Robotics?
A: A little bit of everything - ask me again tomorrow and it might change. I work a lot on the finance side of the business, handling forecasting, scenario planning, risk management, and legal compliance. Also, as a member of the executive team, I spend time on strategic planning which includes everything from business models to company culture. I enjoy planning ahead for as many scenarios as possible so the company is prepared. At the same time, I’m also involved in the day-to-day administration of the company and its human resources operations.
Q: What are you reading currently? What have you most enjoyed recently?
A: I usually have two books going at once - one non-fiction, one fiction. It’s important to read for business, but also to read as an escape. Currently, I’m reading both The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People's Economy by Stephanie Kelton, and The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. I’d recommend them both, but maybe The Midnight Library a bit more, with Summer reading season upon us.
Q: Apart from reading, what do you like to do when you’re not at work?
A: I really enjoy traveling when I can. I own an Airstream camper and like to pack up the labradoodles and visit new places whenever possible. Last year I was able to spend a week in Bar Harbor, Maine, at Acadia National Park and it was wonderful. I’d recommend it to anyone who loves spending time outdoors.
Q: Becky, you’ve been part of several Boston tech companies. What are some of the lessons you’ve learned that you’re applying at Realtime Robotics?
A: I’d say there are three main lessons that I’d pass on to anyone in a similar position at a Boston tech company (or one that’s based anywhere, really):
Be prepared to be very, very busy. It’s OK to be busy as long as you’re prepared and not expecting something different. Too many enter this lifestyle with the wrong expectations. That said, strap in and enjoy the roller coaster ride.
Expect the unexpected. You can never be 100% prepared for every eventuality, but if you plan as much as possible, you can ensure you and your team will be able to handle whatever comes your way.
Try to be as proactive as possible. This goes for business and for life. Getting ahead of things is better - and ultimately more productive - than reacting to everything.
Q: Any closing thoughts about what’s next for the company?
A: I believe that Realtime is on the cusp of significant success. We’ll plan on continuing to grow the team with great people and invest in the technology, as well as in growing our market presence over the next year. This will help lead us further down the path of building value in the company and work towards being masters of our own destiny. It’s an exciting time to be involved with Realtime and the robotics industry - and I’m really glad I signed up for this roller coaster ride.