Yogi Berra famously said, “Baseball is 90 percent mental; the other half is physical.” It’s a game of thinkers. You have to be able to quickly assess a situation, make accurate predictions, and take action.
Dana Phillips Goodum, CPA, CGMA, is a thinker. She’s not a baseball player, but she works alongside them and, in some ways, she strategizes like an MVP. Goodum is chief financial officer of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority (ISFA), the developer, owner, and operator of Guaranteed Rate Field, the home of the White Sox, formerly known as U.S. Cellular Field and Comiskey Park. While working with the team that negotiated the Guaranteed Rate contract, she sweated the details.
“Our executive director brought me in at the last minute to do some vetting,” said Goodum. “I asked, ‘Did you think about this? What about this? What else do we have? What else do we need? You gotta tell me everything I need to know and then, you know, we have to make some suggestions.’”
Goodum says her job is to look at the whole picture to make ISFA grow. ISFA is a government agency, and what Goodum is most proud of is orchestrating a debt refunding of almost $300 million in bonds that resulted in present value interest savings of $16 million over the remaining life of the bonds. So what is the key to being a good negotiator?
“You have to do some research, just in case everybody’s not totally upfront with you. That’s the art. Knowing everything that they know and then possibly throwing in some additional things that you want. Sometimes it’s difficult to do,” said Goodum.
She’s excelled in the financial life of several notable companies. Among them, she served as comptroller at CNA Insurance and Arthur Anderson TALPX. At Carter & Carter International, she was instrumental in launching an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange. Among other achievements, as financial reporting manager, she managed the financial software systems conversion and the $1 billion McCormick Place South Expansion Capital budget at the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority. As Director of Finance at Navy Pier, she oversaw the planning and development of all financial operations and processes to launch Chicago’s landmark Navy Pier.
A South Sider for some time now with her husband, Juan, and stepson, Juan II, Goodum grew up in Indiana. Born to a mother who was an interior designer and a father who served in Vietnam, she moved on from Catholic schools to college at Notre Dame. Goodum has always enjoyed singing in her spare time. While at Notre Dame, she resurrected a disbanded Gospel choir that is still active to this day. And classically trained, Goodum won 10 Indiana statewide awards and was a vocalist on a jazz album by Reggie “Rajah” Helm called To Reach Your Pinnacle.
But baseball has always been a mainstay in Goodum’s life. While growing up, her grandfather, an avid baseball fan, would take the family to both Cubs and White Sox games. Now, she no longer has to travel far to catch a game — her office window view is Guaranteed Rate Field. That said, the numbers game is what she’s most passionate about.
“I always liked numbers. I come alive with numbers,” she recalls.