Cristal Baron is an experienced C-Suite leader who excels at the intersection of finance and social impact, leveraging her demonstrated ability to identify opportunities for alignment among disparate stakeholders to design creative solutions. Over the past 20 years, she has led and managed organizations as a strategic CFO and executive team leader, identifying and refining key enterprise drivers to position companies for the next phase of growth and driving that growth by deploying her operational, strategic, risk management, communications, capital markets and capital-raising skills.
She is currently CFO and Head of Development at Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), a high-growth non-profit focused on racial equity. Cristal built and executed the strategy that drove annual revenue from $9.5M to over $15M in 3 years by aligning MLT’s corporate partner contribution model to its delivered impact / outcomes, while also providing rigor and a sense of urgency to the philanthropic narrative around economic mobility for people of color. Charged with centering MLT’s work in philanthropic dialogues on economic equity and racial wealth gaps, she leads the team that more than doubled MLT’s revenue to $30M+ in 2020 and $45+M in 2021. With continued fundraising success, the launch of two new businesses and a doubling of employment in 2021, she has led MLT’s risk management and capital allocation decision-making to position for long-term sustainability while meeting the moment to accelerate outcomes for individuals and institutions served by MLT.
Prior to MLT, she served as President of investment banking boutique Rice Financial Products, where she led the firm’s transformation from a successful derivatives business to a top ranked bond underwriter and Historically Black College and University (HBCU) lender of choice on the heels of the 2008 financial crisis. She spent her early post-business school career at Merrill Lynch designing financing solutions and at JP Morgan Private Bank advising high-net-worth individuals and families. Prior to business school she was a financial reporter for Dow Jones.
She continues to embrace opportunities to design creative solutions in complex contexts by establishing values-based relationships, building areas of alignment, and identifying opportunities to meet the needs of various stakeholders.