Submitted by Kathy Thomas
Q: What was your primary career and what did you love about it?
A: As a Certified Public Accountant with a passion for small local businesses, I experienced multiple careers. I worked in the public accounting industry for 15 years working closely with my clients to help them stay on track with their expenses and find new ways to increase revenue while keeping a handle on the burden of taxes. Looking for a change, I transitioned into the corporate accounting world with a nationwide restaurant chain for a very brief period. That environment was not for me because of my true passion for working with the small business owner and making that impact on more than just their books. A former client asked me to be the Controller for his local rental car business. I happily accepted and found myself running and growing the business along side him for over 12 years. Now, I’m Executive Director of a small non-profit organization. My background may be versatile, but the core passion has always been the same: helping small businesses thrive.
Q: When you retired, did you feel ‘finished’ or, for you, was there still something left to do?
A: I have not retired yet and likely never will completely. There will always be something left to do.
Q: What inspires you and why?
A: Professionally, I am inspired every day by my staff of Millennials. They are so smart, positive, and truly vested in what they are doing. The amazing potential they have is exhilarating!
Q: How does your unique set of experiences make a difference for the community in your work now?
A: With a diverse background in business, I bring a unique leadership style and strategy to a non-profit organization. With the very warm, peaceful, and embracing culture of this particular organization, my gentle leadership style is resonating with the staff, the people we serve, and our external stakeholders. My goals are to ensure the continuation of the organization’s mission by attaining financial sustainability and increasing awareness of what the organization has to offer while expanding our impact on the community.
Q: What’s your advice for boomers who are about to launch their own “second act”?
A: Your greatest strengths are the experiences that have made you who you are. Share them with as many as you can.