The Next Moves: Interview with Rikesh Shah, CPA, CA, the CFO at Overactive Media

In a recent episode of “The Next Moves,” Joe Diubaldo, Founder & CEO of Clarity Recruitment, sat down with Rikesh Shah, CFO at Overactive Media, to discuss career transitions, leadership, and navigating challenges in rapidly evolving industries. With a background in recruitment, finance leadership at the Canadian Olympic Committee, and now the esports industry, Rikesh offers valuable lessons for C-level executives growing their businesses.

From Recruitment to the CFO Office

Rikesh Shah’s journey began in the recruitment industry during the peak market of 2008. Moving from Montreal to Toronto, he quickly faced the global financial crisis, challenging his sales and recruitment skills in a harsh market. This trial by fire honed his ability to listen, adapt, and prove his worth in difficult environments. These skills would prove invaluable throughout his career.

The Olympic Committee: A Decade of Growth

After transitioning from recruitment, Rikesh took a 60-day contract with the Canadian Olympic Committee, which turned into a nearly decade-long tenure. He navigated significant leadership changes, leveraging these moments of displacement to step into executive roles. Rikesh emphasizes the importance of “prove-it” deals, where continuous performance and value demonstration are key to career advancement.

Embracing Chaos in Esports

Joining Overactive Media, Rikesh stepped into an emerging industry, guiding the company through significant transformations, including taking it public. He highlights that chaos can be a ladder, creating opportunities amidst uncertainty. This adaptability and strategic foresight have been crucial in steering Overactive Media towards profitability.

Building High-Performing Teams

Rikesh’s success is deeply tied to his approach to team building. Emphasizing diversity, inclusion, and rewarding high performers, he ensures that his team members are engaged and motivated. He believes in focusing on strengths rather than weaknesses, fostering a collaborative and supportive work environment. This philosophy has led to high retention rates and a cohesive team capable of navigating the challenges of a dynamic industry.

Leadership and Adaptability

Rikesh shares that effective leadership is about managing and engaging with people, not just espousing leadership philosophies. His experience underscores the importance of being adaptable, taking risks, and seizing opportunities created by organizational changes. For instance, during leadership shifts at the Canadian Olympic Committee and Overactive Media, he positioned himself as a key player ready to take on more responsibilities.

Advice for C-Level Executives

Reflecting on his career, Rikesh offers several pieces of advice for C-level executives:

  • Embrace Change: View displacement and chaos as opportunities for growth and innovation.
  • Focus on Strengths: Build teams that leverage individual strengths and reward high performance.
  • Long-Term Perspective: Understand that today’s challenges are just milestones on a longer journey of growth and development.
  • Stay Humble and Open: Continuously learn and adapt, surrounding yourself with good and smart people.

Rikesh’s journey from recruitment to CFO in a cutting-edge industry illustrates the power of adaptability, strategic risk-taking, and effective team building. For C-level executives looking to grow their businesses, his insights provide a roadmap for navigating change and leveraging opportunities in uncertain times.

Clarity has worked with people like Rikesh Shah and numerous C-level executives throughout their hiring and career journeys. If you’re trying to find the high-performing talent you need to build your finance, accounting and data analytics teams, we’re ready to help!

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