You used to be a certified treasury professional (CTP), you were accredited ACH professional (AAP) and now you are about to be a certified meeting professional (CMP)… you’ve worked in treasury before, and you branched out to create your own company – which, seemingly, is so different from what you did prior. Tell us why you felt compelled to make this jump.
Actually my background and start in my professional career was in Accounting. I would say that I “fell” into Treasury Management by being drawn to the position for the opportunity to look forward for the company instead of just reporting the past! Loved it. And at the company I worked for, at the time, they had a very big internal promotion culture. If you worked hard and were smart, you were “rewarded” with diversity and lots of new projects. I had many opportunities to explore there by serving on cross generational quality teams and taking on responsibility for fun things – like the real estate sales and tax coordination aspect of the company relocation program. I also published our company’s quarterly dairy economics report and strategic plan benchmark report. That allowed me to really understand a lot about the company; plus it allowed me to understand how to translate my strengths into other opportunities and positions. That then led me to try consultative sales for a while, but using my agricultural experience to add value to the member/clients.
Once I took a personal turn with marriage and family, I had yet another re-direct in my career knowing I wanted to work, but I wanted to find more flexibility day-to-day, and of course, less travel. This led me to my independent consulting phase with a regional payment association. This allowed me to include not only my sales skills to attract corporate practitioners to the world of ACH and payments education but also my ability to create and maintain strategic partnerships with the regional [Association for Financial Professionals] AFP groups. By providing those partnerships, I not only gained insight into the world of association and event management but gained the contacts to make my next move happen through networking with the groups. As a past volunteer and board president, I also had the volunteer perspective and appreciation to support volunteer based groups, like the regional AFPs. A change in the course of things, led me to ultimately create my own focused offering with KLM Managment – association and conference management consulting.
You’ve been doing this for over eight years, do you feel like you’ve hit your sweet spot?
Great question, not sure that I ever will hit my sweet spot. I am a big believer in constantly growing and changing and keeping an eye on things for the future. I used to be a bit planner and needed to have a clear map for the future. I had a mentor/boss who told me that once I had kiddos that I needed to re-evaluate and do so often based on my own and my family’s needs as they evolved. While my career and my business is important to me, balancing that with my personal life is super important.
What major lesson have you learned from being the owner of your own company?
So so many, but two that stick out is the importance of proper advance planning AND balancing good boundaries with proper flexibility.
- Working with volunteer groups especially I have realized the need to create good timelines and plans and it is really never too early to get going! Often you are moving the needle and through a lot of patience you can help the clients see the benefit of doing little tasks well in advance really does pay off. Same for yourself in directing employees, sub-contractors or other vendors.
- And boundaries. Really trying to better clarify the role, scope, responsibilities as a consultant and at the same time providing flexibility to provide service and support to the constantly changing needs.
What would you tell others who are contemplating this same type of business move?
Have fun and remember to fully enjoy the benefits that come with owning your own business!
Stargirl! [by Jerry Spinelli] I am in a mother daughter book club and this was our latest read. I would suggest it to 11-13 year old girls, or other mother-daughter book clubbers! Did exactly what we wanted when starting this club, generated great discussion around issues that middle school girls often face. Next up for bookclub is My Life in France by Julia Child. We are really excited to make a couple of her typical French recipes, including Crepes Suzette.
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