Change Leadership in the 21st Century

One of the only constants in business is that your company must continually change and adapt to survive. Change Management is not a new concept. However, in the 21st Century, companies need to evolve beyond the age old cliché of Change Management to Change Leadership. To efficiently implement change and capture all of the benefits associated with the change you want to make, employees must want the “change” as much or more than you do. To unlock the power of change in ways that will unleash the maximum potential from your employees, we will look at the difference between making a “change” and implementing an “improvement”, the importance of setting and communicating clear goals for the “improvement” being made, and how to achieve the most from your intended change through inspired leadership.

  • The difference between making a change and implementing an improvement
  • Keys to establishing “improvement” goals that will resonate with employees
  • The role communication plays in making or breaking effective change
  • How situational leadership and displaying strong leadership attributes can inspire your employees to achieve the “improvement” (change) you want to make faster and better

David G. DeFreitas
Group CFO for Corporate Services (Retired)
Caterpillar Inc.

Dave is the former (retired) Group CFO for Corporate Services at Caterpillar. He was with Caterpillar for 32 years and held 18 Accounting and General Business roles in Peoria, Aurora, and Deerfield, IL, Nashville, TN, and Leicester, England. Key past jobs include: Group CFO for Corporate Services, Divisional CFO for Aftermarket Parts, Controller (Americas) – Caterpillar Financial Services, Investment Director for Energy & Transportation, Product Manager (Managing Director) for Telehandlers (worldwide design, manufacture, and marketing of this product line from England), Corporate Director of Activity Based Costing Methodology, and Corporate Business Analysis Project Manager. At the staff level, Dave also held positions in product cost accounting, investment analysis, budgeting, financial reporting, internal auditing, and legal entity / inventory accounting.

As Group CFO his responsibilities included: Providing leadership to the Divisional CFO’s and financial reporting teams who support Finance Services, Human Services, Global Information Services, Global Procurement Services, and the Legal & Public Affairs Divisions at Caterpillar. Dave also worked closely with Caterpillar’s captive finance company in support of their business strategy. In addition, Dave’s team oversaw Board of Directors advance material preparation, supported the quarterly financial release, and provided direct support to the Company CFO as his Chief of Staff.

Dave graduated from Bradley University with a B.S. in Accounting in 1987 and started his career in Public Accounting before joining Caterpillar. He is a Certified Public Accountant and has his MBA from Northern Illinois University (1994). In 2015, Dave was recognized at the National Beta Alpha Psi Conference as National Business Information Professional of the year. Dave also received the Lydia Moss Bradley award from Bradley University for being 2018’s Outstanding Alumni Contributor.

Outside of work, Dave chairs the National Council of Advisors to the Foster College of Business at Bradley University and is a past chair and current emeritus member of the Department of Accounting Advisory Council at Bradley. He is also a member of the Bradley University Braves Club Board and a member of the Indiana University Accounting Advisory Group. He is the Treasurer of his fraternity Housing Corporation (Sigma Alpha Epsilon) and he was the Vice Chair (2014-2020) for the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Boys State Basketball championship executive steering committee. In 2017, Dave and his wife were recognized by the IHSA and Peoria Convention & Visitors Bureau as Volunteers of the Year. In 2019, Dave was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Central Illinois Easter Seals Foundation. Dave and his wife Co-Chaired the Passage to India Easter Seals Fundraising Banquet and are past Co-Chairs of the Central Illinois annual Easter Seals fundraising campaign. Dave has also co-authored two articles in professional magazines (“Getting Lean and Mean at Caterpillar with Activity Based Management” published in the January, 2013 issue of Strategic Finance Magazine, and “Changing Performance Measures at Caterpillar” in the December”, 1996 issue of Management Accounting Magazine – out of print, but available online here).

2021 Age: 56