20 Under 40
Executive Account Manager, GFI Digital, Inc.
Years lived in Columbia:
B.S. in management information systems, William Woods University.
Prior to coming to GFI Digital, I was a senior auditor for the Missouri State Auditor’s office. I was responsible for planning, supervising, and conducting audits of local (county) governments and state agencies. Under Claire McCaskill, I performed financial, compliance, performance and IT audits. When I used to tell people about my career, they would ask for me not to audit them. I would always say that I was a “good auditor” — I audited taxpayers’ money to ensure it was spent appropriately and that the financial and personal data of all taxpayers was secure.
In 2008, I decided to make a move to the private sector and became an executive account manager for GFI Digital. GFI Digital is a local, family-owned company that specializes in print management, advanced scanning solutions, and ensuring the health of organizations’ IT infrastructure. While at GFI, my main goal has been to utilize my financial and performance auditing experience to positively impact my customers’ bottom line. That could include reducing print costs, increasing the efficiency of staff, turning an expense into a revenue or ensuring data security compliance with state and federal regulations. I am a six-time President’s Club winner and received Executive Account Manager of the Year recognition in 2011 and 2013.
My husband, Seth. He built a respected, successful business from the ground up. He is the most knowledgeable, hardest working person I know. He is always fair to his customers and goes above and beyond to ensure they are taken care of.
What don’t people know about your job?
Having fun is a cornerstone to success at GFI. Some of the amazing places or experiences I have had since starting with GFI include President’s Club trips to Cancun, Vail, Dominican Republic, St. Thomas and Playa Del Carmen; I got to travel with the St. Louis Rams to an away game against the San Francisco 49ers; I got to attend a two-day golf school in Palm Springs; and I’ve gotten to play some of the most amazing golf courses, including Silver Rock, El Camaleon Mayakoba and Mahogany Run.
What is the best thing about your job?
Working with my customers and creating friendships. As an auditor, I was always seen as the “bad guy.” Now my customers appreciate the impact we make to their organization. It’s almost like Christmas morning or their birthday — I’m bringing a gift for them and they are so excited to start playing with it.
What was your New Year’s resolution in 2015? Did you accomplish it?
The last two years have been devoted to creating an opportunity for women in higher education. I was able to create the Andrea Lee Paul Golf Scholarship Fund at Columbia College through outright and planned gifts of $110,000. I played collegiate athletics and saw female athletes receive a fraction of the amount of male athletes in scholarships. And these were situations where the female programs brought in more revenue for the university than male programs. I’m excited for Columbia College to give out the scholarship and to meet the recipients.
What are your specific professional goals for 2016?
My goal for 2016 is to identify a way to empower and support women making significant life decisions. I recently have been thinking about women that are in abusive, dangerous situations and how they could possibly get out of that situation or better themselves or their children without any resources. How do they find the support needed to make such an important life change? This goal may include financially supporting or volunteering to an existing organization, creating a new organization that could offer financial and emotional guidance, or creating a fund that would continually offer financial support to one or more organizations.
What about your day do you look forward to most?
Living. Each day is filled with unlimited potential, and I cannot wait to get out of bed and start living.
What motivates you?
I want to leave a positive imprint on each person I touch.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
I absolutely love working for GFI. I cannot imagine going anywhere else. Without a doubt, I will always be in a sales or relationship-based position — it’s in my blood. If I were to go to another industry, I would love to use my passion for fitness and nutrition.
The first time I heard Bruce Gibbs, owner of GFI, give a speech, he said he “believes what you give is what you get.” I have seen him make numerous sizable donations to local nonprofits and organizations, including donating the lighting system to Father Tolton Catholic High School and a three-year $30,000 commitment to the MU Children’s Hospital. I respect and admire his work ethic and caring heart. Since starting with GFI, I have made it a priority to have an annual goal to make an impact in our community. I have belonged to, volunteered for or donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters, True North, MU Children’s Hospital, The Moore Foundation, Armani’s Angels, Lutheran Child and Family Services, Rotary, etc.
Accomplishment you’re most proud of?
The Andrea Lee Paul Golf Scholarship Fund. Long after I am gone, I will be able to continue helping women afford higher education.
What do you do for fun?
My husband and I love to golf, travel, and experience great restaurants.
What is your guilty pleasure?
I am passionate about nutrition and fitness. I work out at least five days per week. During that time I’m completely committed and devoted to myself. It is the only time of day I put my phone aside and fully concentrate on me.
Greatest lesson learned?
Communication and respect are the two most important aspects to any relationship. Whether that relationship is personal, professional or a combination of the two.
Want more 2016 20 Under 40? Check out Steve Tuchschmidt’s Q&A.