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From CPA To CEO, She Looks To Conquer Next Date With Destiny Via IPO

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Lilit Davtyan’s deft demeanor has allowed her to shred stigmas throughout every stage of her life.

She immigrated from Armenia to America at the age of 11 without speaking English and wound up mastering the language and serving as a tutor and writing coach to ultimately earning a Masters degree from the University of Southern California.

She shifted her career path from being a certified public accountant and working at PricewaterhouseCoopers to joining a marketing automation software start-up that was just a nascent idea at the time.

And now, she’s gone from CPA to being the CEO of Phonexa at the tender age of 31, as Davtyan oversees an average of $200 million in revenue yearly for the global company that provides marketing solutions for calls, leads, clicks, email, SMS, accounting, and more.

Over the last year, Davtyan’s meteoric rise through the ranks has been highlighted by winning 2020 “CFO of the Year” from the Los Angeles Business Journal.

She was nominated again for the honors by the LABJ in 2021, and separately nominated by Los Angeles Times B2B Publishing fora CFO Leadership Award this summer. Other top honors have included membership in the Forbes Finance Council, as well as Chief, a private network designed specifically for female leaders.

In October, Davtyan was rewarded for her resounding commitment to excellence when Phonexa President David Gasparyan promoted her to CEO and CFO.

“People ask me all the time, ‘how the heck does a CPA become a CEO of a tech company?’ Well, my answer is simple. You need to master the soft skills in relationship building, writing, organization, time management, and most importantly, discipline,” says Davtyan. “Everything else is a bonus. I’ve forever been fascinated by the fintech world. You have to take risks, and I’m content with all of the decisions I’ve made in my life.”

Davtyan’s journey started off bumpy in the beginning.

When her family immigrated to Los Angeles in December 2000, Davtyan was prolific in math, but the only word she knew in English was “flower.” She was promptly placed in fifth grade and forced to find her identity and blossom.

“We were blindsided by the culture shock in the United States,” she says. “But you have choices, even in your youth. After spending some nights crying about my situation, I started embracing the learning process, and I put all of my time into tirelessly studying.” Davtyan soon started tutoring other students in math, and simultaneously improved her command of English. By the eighth grade, she was already tutoring students in English, and by high school, she’d already found her groove and confidence. But she couldn’t enroll in a four-year university even after being accepted to all of the ones she applied to because she didn’t havea green card.

Expectations are high, but I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and take on the challenge,” said Davtyan. “I have full faith that Phonexa will have a flourishing future.”

Davtyan instead enrolled in an accelerated scholar program at Glendale Community College in 2008 that guaranteed enrollment intoa four-year university if she maintained a high GPA.

“I was restricted, but you have choices. You can either cry about it or you create your own path,” says Davtyan. Davtyan passed each test with flying colors, all while maintaining two jobs, and gota full scholarship to Woodbury University in 2010, where she earned a B.B.A. by 2012. After passing her CPA exams, she earned her Masters of Business Taxation from the Marshall School of Business at USC in 2013 and was immediately recruited and hired by PwC to work in tax credit research and development for Fortune 500 companies.

During her successful stint, Davtyan realized the corporate infrastructure wasn’t fit for her. In January 2015, Gasparyan, a successful executive in his own right, recruited Davtyan to lead accounting efforts for the yet-to-be-launched Phonexa. “I was hooked after learning how David planned on reimagining the leads industry,” she says. “He gave me the opportunity to reshape the platform and industry. Plus, his work ethic mirrored mine and I really saw an opportunity to grow alongside him. When you meet smart people, you have to take calculated risks with confidence.”

Davtyan’s input was immediately well received by Gasparyan and company, and she’s been instrumental in shaping the software from the C-suite ever since the brand’s inception. Now the company has a 150-person staff headquartered in Glendale and with offices in the United Kingdom and Ukraine.

“I was young, determined and wanted to establish my career, butI also wanted a family,” said Davtyan. “A lot of females deal with this, but it comes down to working with supporting colleagues and a boss who nurtures real relationships and a great work culture.”

Davtyan found the work-life balance she was seeking, as she’s now married to her husband Mike Saakyan, and they have two beautiful children in David, 5, and Ella, 3.

When she’s not playing the role of mom, Davtyan is overseeing Phonexa’s business development, strategic growth, client relationships, operational transformation, and financial health. With experience in establishing, growing, and maintaining businesses across multiple sectors, while carefully managing financial status and projections, Davtyan is eyeing her next date with destiny by leading Phonexa to an IPO filing.

Phonexa (phonexa.com) is an all-in-one suite for marketing automation that empowers companies to optimize inbound web and call campaigns, and outbound call, email and SMS campaigns, while having the ability to enhance consumer journey every step of the way. Complete with seven turnkey solutions, Phonexa’s customizable tools for calls, leads, clicks, and email marketing maximize workflow efficiency for direct advertisers and lead generators alike.


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