How would you describe your job to someone who has no idea what you do?
I’m an accountant, but my job is never boring! I oversee a diverse group responsible for technical accounting and reporting; internal controls; and expense management, planning and analysis. Ultimately, we are all supporting the same objectives—to prepare complete and accurate financial results, and to provide useful information to help executives make the best decisions for our business.
How did you get into your line of work?
I was originally a political science major in college. I was taking business prerequisites at the time, and my professor pulled me aside to tell me that I was an accountant—and if I didn’t pursue accounting, it would be a huge mistake. I added an accounting major, got a job in public accounting, joined Symetra a few years later, and as it turns out … he was right. Thanks, Professor Wells!
Communication: I communicate with all levels, from helping train new staff to providing updates to executives and our Board of Directors.
Project Management: I’m constantly defining what needs to be done, determining who should be involved, developing timelines and communicating status … then, of course, managing through the inevitable changes.
Professional Skepticism: Trust but verify! I need to make sure that I’ve asked the right questions, looked at the right resources, and gathered (and documented) the appropriate support for our work.
How does your job help Symetra’s customers, your coworkers or the company?
We make sure our results are accurate and in compliance with applicable rules and regulations to avoid potentially costly fines, restatements and damage to the company’s reputation.
As a director, my goal is to help future Finance leaders grow and challenge themselves. It’s a total mind shift, going from accomplishing my own tasks to being responsible for others accomplishing theirs, but now I find myself trying to do it everywhere. I’m sure my husband wishes I weren’t quite so “helpful” with my feedback at home.
What keeps you at Symetra?
The people. My boss has been a mentor to me, both personally and professionally, and there is no lack of inspiring role models here. Symetra recognizes and rewards commitment, dedication and excellence, and it will invest in you as much as you’re willing to invest in it.
What do Symetra’s Core Values mean to you? How do you apply them to your daily work?
I find myself referencing our Core Values all the time—both at work and in my daily life! They provide a recipe for lasting and meaningful success.
My favorite is “tenacious students of the business”—it really serves as a foundation for all the other values. Learning how our products work, why customers buy them, and what we’re trying to achieve not only keeps things interesting, it helps us provide better customer service, support broad company objectives, make the right decisions, and create effective, excellent deliverables. Even though I’ve worked here for almost a decade, I still learn something new every day—and I love sharing that knowledge, too.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in your field?
Always raise your hand—volunteer for the project. Ask the question. You’re investing your time and energy in building a portfolio of skills that will make you more valuable wherever you go. Set the bar high for yourself, and you’ll inevitably exceed the expectations of others.
What would people find most surprising about your job or Symetra?
I’m an accountant, but I rarely do math! (I also cannot do your taxes. Sorry, Mom.)
How do you enjoy your time away from work?
I love to travel—I’ll never pass up the chance to go on a trip! I also enjoy trying new restaurants with friends. When I’m home, I spend most of my time with my 2-year-old—usually reading his favorite books (over and over and over again).
What else would you like people to know about you, your job or Symetra?
I’m a champion synchronized chair dancer—my team took the gold in our 2016 Office Olympics, with a rousing rendition of Copacabana (and yes, there is video).