So, tell us a little about yourself. Where do you live and what do you do?
I grew up in West Virginia in the Northern Panhandle with a small town setting of no stop lights, front porches great for sitting and sipping ice tea, and neighbors who have been there forever. I graduated from WVU and upon graduation moved to Winchester, VA. I came to Winchester with my mom to interview with local CPA firm, YH&B….and it was that day that my mom and I both feel in love with Winchester and knew it was the place for me. It soon became my family’s second home….and not long afterwards 2 of my sisters moved here as well.
I began my career with YHB as a CPA. I had the opportunity to perform both tax and audit work, and through my audit experience worked with many clients and industries from financial institutions, newspaper publishers, construction companies, service providers, care facilities, and manufacturing. Eventually, I made the transition into the banking industry where I served as Compliance officer, CFO, VP and President. Through this experience I learned to manage new projects, restructure operational workflows, prepare for new products and branches, collaborate with Board members, management, regulatory agencies and investors, implement strategies for improved efficiencies and take corrective actions.
These experiences helped lead me into my current career in consulting. Today I am the owner of Prosperity Financial. I work with many different clients who each have their own special projects and goals. Through discussions with each client we identify things that keep them up at night, goals they want to accomplish or ways to become better and prepare for the future. My specialty is that once we identify our strategies I am hands on in helping them implement the plan so that they can keep focusing on the parts of the business they enjoy the most!
I’m sure there are many things important to you in life. What do you care most about outside of typical things like family?
I have not always had my priorities in the order they are today…and so I would be remiss to claim that I have always known what was the most important to me at all times. I think most of us go through phases of what is important or how we think about these choices in our lives. Today, my family and friends are the most important things to me but, I also have experience through my loved ones and myself that if you do not have your health, you are not able to enjoy any of the other important things in your life.
No amount of money can help you get out of bed if you are just too sick to care…beautiful houses and cars can’t even bring a smile to your face when you are hurting…..even the gentle caress or kisses from your spouse, children or beloved pet are not enough to make you feel better.
So, today my health is the most important thing to me in order to allow me to love my family and my friends the way I want to…..and to enjoy all my favorite things in life! I strive to eat healthy, but enjoy great food at the same time. I pay attention to my physical fitness so that I can play golf, hike, bike, climb, work in my garden, and even do simple things like play catch with Buddy, water the flowers, cook dinner, hang pictures or read a book. Through injuries or illnesses, I quickly have realized that health is the one thing that allows me to enjoy life and everyone in it!
How do you feel you pursue those things in your life and career?
By putting my family first and making health a top priority to enjoying life to my fullest….it allows me to be happy in my career, make others feel good about themselves and have the energy to feel positive and excited about the projects that I work on with my clients.
Can you tell us a specific story about a challenge you encountered and how you overcame it?
Challenges have come in all shapes and sizes over the years. Many I don’t even recall now that time has passed….however, each one although different has taken a leap of faith, sound objective reasoning and determination.
A particular challenge I recall was with one of my first clients as a consultant. The company was successful but struggling with their growth and how to manage it without everyday feeling like a crisis. The first meeting with the owners lead us to talking about where the struggles were, how the day to day work flowed and what was most important to them at that time. After a lengthy discussion, the owner declared, “I already know what we need …. we need more people!” My response was “Let’s hold off on that thought and work through the process and see how it looks after we get input from all the employees and I observe the operation.”
It’s not easy to disagree with an owner, boss or associate, but the process of listening to their thoughts, considering and observing allowed me to gather ideas from different sources and people to get a full understanding of their operation. Through this process, I was able to make a proposal for a plan of action to improve procedures, evaluate skills of current staff and access the next steps. The owners were open to the process which ultimately allowed us to find some incredible solutions that were not even initially on our radar. And, after the strategies were implemented we actually had 2 less staff, the daily operation was running smoothly, and the staff and the owners were happy again.
It’s not easy to disagree with someone’s ideas, however, throughout my career I have tried to always give an objective and honest answer or opinion…. which is more useful to a boss or an owner in the long run than simply having folks that agree with them.
If you were only asked to give one success tip to help other women succeed, what would it be?
Always try to differentiate yourself though hard work and exceptional work ethic – whether you are a man or a woman. The best career strategy I can give is to never shy away from a difficult project. These are career builders. You will always learn from the hardest challenges, and the accomplishment feels so good!
Are there any resources of your own that you would like to share with us?
Of course, there are lots of resources on the internet, but some of your best resources may be your fellow business leaders. Be aware of those around you who are successful…don’t hesitate to talk with these leaders and seek their guidance.