Seeing His Way Clear

Alex Lafaras (Executive MS Finance, ’16), CFO of General Glass International

Alex Lafaras is the epitome of an international leader. Born and raised in Greece, he has worked in 10 countries in the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East, climbing the corporate ladder while taking the time to mentor others. Now CFO of General Glass International, he leads the financial and risk management operations of the company in markets around the world.

Growing up, Lafaras established a strong work ethic making wine with his father—“it’s a process that requires patience and precision”—and working in high school for a company that produced fruit packs, which in the beginning was “like being thrown off a cruise ship and being told to swim to shore,” he laughs. But it was while working as the North American vice president of finance and operations for a multinational manufacturing group of companies that he decided to pursue his Executive MS in Finance

He wanted to reach the C-suite, but quickly realized the value of helping others along the way. “My first boss, who was the chief financial officer, was extremely busy, but he always took the time to advise me, and let me ask questions without judgment or impatience,” Lafaras says. “He inspired me to become a CFO. He set the bar high for mentorship, and I strive to live by his example.”

Zicklin’s EMSF program was a natural fit for Lafaras, who wanted to refine his skills in finance and enhance his international perspective (a major highlight of the program is an eight- to ten-day international study tour). He loved the program’s unique structure, in which students work in teams on real-life business case studies. And the network he built of top business and finance professionals from diverse industries across the world was invaluable.

In the end, says Lafaras, who graduated in 2016, it’s all about relationships: “I believe we are all somehow interconnected on this planet, and sharing the wealth of experience and knowledge we have with others allows for growth and progress that can lead us to innovative ideas that will ultimately make the world better.”