Cecilia O'Reilly

Beyond an Advisor—Former CFO with Global Breadth

I am handpicked to advise business owners, entrepreneurs, nonprofits and global families. Prior to Bernstein, I spend 25+ years in technology, financial services and healthcare at both public companies and VC- and PE-backed portfolio companies.

What inspired you to join Bernstein?

I joined Bernstein for several reasons. First, I wanted to work with a firm that understands, and is built to serve entrepreneurs who are uniquely successful. The entrepreneurs in my ecosystem are amazing, which is why I wanted a firm whose portfolio managers’ and research teams’ caliber were bar none. It was essential that those services matched the caliber of my clients. Second, I wanted to work with a firm known for identifying market dislocations. Such a firm could provide highly differentiated sources of risk-adjusted return and idiosyncratic alpha for my clients. Third, I wanted to be part of a team that delivers the best solutions for each client in a highly intentional manner. Our global boutique service structure means that each of my clients has access to all of the subject matter experts needed (e.g., concentrated stock planning, philanthropic and family engagement services, investment strategists, wealth strategists, estate planning and tax management).

Tell me about the types of clients you work with.

My clients: Business owners, entrepreneurs and founding teams. Innovators, disruptors and glass-ceiling breakers: Some engage me while still building their companies, leaning on me for my former CFO and operator experience in executing capital raises, scale-ups, mergers and exits. Some engage me 6-12 months before IPO, recap or exit, to take advantage of pre-transaction planning to mitigate the tax impact of the transaction and thereby preserve family wealth. International families and business owners: Given my international family and professional background, fluency in four languages (Spanish, Portuguese, French, and English) and my family’s own experience emigrating from Cuba, I’m inherently attuned to the needs of multi-jurisdictional families and business owners. Nonprofits and Foundations: I also help nonprofits and foundations with a particular focus on women, LGBTQ, under-represented groups, social justice, the arts and animals to fulfill their mission.

If you didn’t work for Bernstein, what else would you be doing?

If I were not at Bernstein, I would continue to build businesses and ecosystems that disrupt industries and bring about positive social change. I’d still be every bit the connector, booster and coach that I am today, plus I’d probably accept a couple board roles I’ve previously had to turn down. My passion for travel took me to excavate a cave in Spain and study in Prague. I would return to that source of joy and explore the backroads, cultures and foods of my long bucket-list of lesser-known lands. Last but not least, I’d spend more time with my family, adventuring with my friends and dog and, in quieter moments, catching up on reading and documentaries!

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