My first job was print modeling and commercial acting starting when I was eight years old all the way through my late teens for products like Mattel, Inc.’s Barbie, JCPenney, Del Monte, and McDonald’s, among others. I learned a lot from that whole experience, including accepting rejection and finding ways to stay motivated despite setbacks. Most importantly, I learned the value of getting out of your comfort zone. I still use many of these skills to this day at IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants).


I’ve had the opportunity to host CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) and CSCA® (Certified in Strategy and Competitive Analysis) webinars and moderate live panel discussions between accounting and finance professionals where I have to perform for an audience and keep them engaged. These events are on a strict timeline, so time management and learning to pivot when needed are big parts of the role. I may not be acting as a character, but I’m surely using some of my acting abilities in my responsibilities as business development manager.  


After I graduated from college, my first job was working as a publicist for a weekly syndicated radio talk show called “His Side with Glenn Sacks.” My role involved securing advertisers for commercial spots, booking guests, placing the host’s articles in newspaper columns and other media, and doing voice-overs. I had to do a ton of cold-calling and pitching to news outlets whose gatekeepers, on a good day, gave me two minutes to summarize the story’s main points. This taught me the power of being brief but effective over the phone, which I often did by writing scripts and envisioning my conversations beforehand. This is a skill I still use to this day, as being able to hone your message into simple yet compelling bullet points can prove quite powerful, whether via email, phone, webinar, or in person.




While in my master’s degree program studying communication management with an emphasis on entertainment marketing, I took on a couple of internships. One was for a product placement agency working with high-end European brands wanting to place their products in movies and television shows. The other was at a below-the-line talent agency representing costume designers, editors, and cinematographers. I was offered full-time positions after both internships only to have my role cut soon after.




In the moment, I thought that I needed to pay my dues if I wanted to succeed in my career and was pretty upset that I’d have to start over. In hindsight, though, I realized how stressful the entertainment business can be and that my entry-level colleagues didn’t seem happy. It wasn’t until I decided to switch gears and take a position in a new industry—accounting—that I realized my values didn’t align with what I was doing before. By entering a profession that was totally foreign to me, I learned that challenges—rather than stress—are what I sought.


If I could go back in time, I’d tell my younger self that change is constant and should be embraced rather than feared. If I hadn’t tried a new industry, I never would have met my husband, who worked at an accounting firm I was visiting. I also never would have made certain connections that eventually led me to working at IMA. Embracing change is important in other ways as well. I tend to be a creature of habit, and when I find something that works, often I stick to it a bit too long. Colleagues and bosses I’ve had over the years have pushed me to keep innovation top-of-mind. At IMA, I appreciate that innovation to serve our members even better has been encouraged from day one.



When I first started out in the accounting profession in a client relations and business development role, I was worried that, because I didn’t major in the field and hadn’t done technical accounting work, I wouldn’t be taken seriously when presenting to interns and new hires at companies. After some time, I realized that everyone has their niche or area of expertise and it’s okay to admit that you aren’t familiar with certain topics and ask for clarification. In fact, the more relevant questions I asked, the more management seemed impressed by me, as they knew I was engaged. In my spare time at work, I’d read articles and research related to the accounting and finance profession, keeping me updated on the latest trends. My attention to detail and curiosity helped me to accelerate my professional growth and earn multiple promotions.


I encourage everyone, especially women, to not be afraid to ask for further explanation on the job. Numerous studies over the years have shown a gender divide regarding this point. Whether it’s asking questions at an event in front of an audience, requesting a clarification or expressing a contrasting opinion in an intimate work meeting, or negotiating for a salary increase, promotion, or more visibility or responsibility, men tend to be more assertive than women in these types of scenarios. There are both conscious and unconscious biases that attribute to this, and I’m speaking in general terms, so there are counterexamples—it doesn’t apply to everyone. Relating it to my own personal experiences, asking questions even when I was afraid that I may come across as weak only ended up benefiting me in the long run.


When I started working at IMA more than four years ago, I had to switch gears and support accounting and finance professionals working internally for their business rather than for outside clients. Our members hold all types of positions at companies of all sizes, from staff accountant all the way to CFO, and in all types of industries. Add all the technologies that have disrupted the accounting/finance profession in recent years to the mix, and there’s always something new to learn and ask about.


Having access to IMA webinars and continuing professional education courses has really benefited me by helping me to stay on top of trends and what really matters to our members in the accounting and finance profession. There’s a wide range of topics, especially when it comes to data analytics and strategy, planning, and performance, and this can provide great food for thought when discussing such subject matter with colleagues and managers. 


The most important factor for professional success is being motivated. Some are motivated by earning a bonus or a promotion accompanied by a pay raise at work, and others are doing it for their own personal goals, but regardless, a career path or vocation isn’t something that you decide on overnight, nor is deciding whether to pursue a certification. My job is to increase awareness of the CMA and other IMA resources and help individuals to make the right choice for themselves and organizations to make the right choice for their employees. The fact that I can contribute to professionals advancing in their career, even in a small way, is very fulfilling for me.

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