Our Team

James Cannon Johnston

Jim started his firm, Johnston Company (Lexington, Massachusetts), in 1987. He is an advisor to CEOs (especially entrepreneurial founders) and a part-time CFO. As a CFO, he establishes greater predictability and accountability in fast-changing businesses.  He is active in industries including food, web development, computer hardware, life sciences, outsourced business services, and software. Several times a year clients engage Jim to do retained executive search to fill CFO, controller, operations VP, or board of directors slot.  Jim also hosts CEO GatheringsTM. These are peer-to-peer facilitated discussions among CEOs on pre-selected topics. In 2012 topics include “Hiring Outside Talent into the Senior Team,” “Lean Manufacturing,” and “Everyone Demands the CEO’s Attention…Now What?” Jim grew up in Chicago, graduated from Princeton (with a major in economics), and earned an MBA from Chicago Booth, with concentrations in finance and statistics. He lives in Lexington, Massachusetts. He’s been on the editorial advisory board of CFO Magazine since 1991.

Pat Burke

With over 20 years of accounting expertise, Pat’s roles have ranged from interim high-tech CFO to full-time CFO of an enterprise supply chain software, where he managed growth from concept to $65M, with 400 staff in six countries. Pat has expertise in VC financing, strategic business planning, M&A Strategy and Implementation, Board communications, and vendor/customer contracts, including negotiating as a key partner in closing $100M+ licensing agreements and critical ISV agreements. He has directed due diligence, business restructuring, and integration. Specialities include revenue management, business planning and forecasting integrated pipeline models and pricing structures into business plans. Pat received his CPA license from the state of Connecticut and graduated from the University of Connecticut with a B.S. in Accounting, with minors in Finance and English.

Lois Desaulniers

With over 20 years of accounting experience, Lois Desaulniers’ work for Johnston Company includes accounting and controller functions for angel-funded litigation support services, a privately-funded CRM-consultancy, a VC-funded software developer, angel-funded biotech research, and VC-funded purchasing for universities.  She has also served as controller for an Internet marketing company in the furniture industry, and has held management positions in accounting and human resources. Lois has worked as a consultant in finance, technical writing, and software implementation. Her expertise includes establishing standard financial and human resources business practices for start-up organizations, development and implementation of reporting and financial control systems, and training and development of staff. Previously Lois spent twelve years as a part-time faculty member at Cape Cod Community College. Lois is a graduate of the Simmons College School of Management and also holds a master’s degree from Boston University.

Claire Sehringer

Claire is a marketing communications professional with a strong background in international marketing and public relations, in particular web marketing, editorial & writing, event marketing, email marketing, presentations, social media, web communities, website services, and cross-cultural marketing. Claire manages Johnston Company’s CEO Gatherings. She also runs Sehringer Marketing Services, a provider of marketing support for small and medium businesses. Previously she has worked in high-tech and telecommunications, both in the U.S. and Germany. She lived in Germany for 7 years. As a freelance writer and translator, she has also written about various international business issues. Claire holds a B.A. in International Public Relations from the University of Connecticut and a Master of International Management from Schiller International University, Heidelberg, Germany.


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