Year of Graduation: 2004
Current Position: Talent Director, Granite Equity Partners (Master of Business Administration (MBA) from University of Minnesota - Carlson School of Management)
Please give a brief description of your current position and where you're working. Currently, I am the Talent Director at Granite Equity Partners which is a mission-driven private investment and holding company where I am recruiting for leadership roles in our nine portfolio companies across Minnesota. Simply put, I spend my days building relationships and connecting people across Minnesota that will inevitably help our businesses grow and evolve over time. I am passionate about helping people find their passion and purpose in their work.
What path did you follow to arrive at your current job? After I graduated from CSB/SJU in 2004, I started my career in public accounting at Grant Thornton in Assurance and Audit Services. During my time at Grant Thornton, I also obtained my CPA license. I spent five and a half years working my way up the organization at Grant Thornton and left the company as an Audit Manager to start my career in industry at Best Buy as a Senior Accounting Analyst. After 15 months, I was promoted to a Controller where I spent a year and a half leading a team of five highly skilled professionals responsible for the accounting, forecasting, and annual budgeting for select elements of U.S. gross profit. During this time, I also graduated from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management with my MBA.
After spending nine years in the accounting and finance industry, I realized that my passions were more people focused and not numbers focused as I originally pursued post graduation. I believe utilizing my liberal arts education allowed me to pivot my career into recruiting. My involvement in the CSB/SJU Young Alum Committee and CSB Alumnae Board connected me with my next opportunity at Salo when I joined them as a Business Development Director/Executive Recruiter. During my four years at Salo, I led senior level finance and accounting (CFO, Controller, VP of Finance, etc.) direct hire searches for clients which included identifying, sourcing, and recruiting top candidates. My work also included building relationships with candidates to understand their desired career path and match them with opportunities aligned with their career goals - aka finding their passion and purpose in their work. One of my clients at Salo was Granite Equity Partners - after making another Bennie/Johnnie connection with one of the partners (Greg Schumacher '91), it was clear there was a strong fit between my values and experience and the needs of the firm. You may sense a theme here - the power of the Bennie/Johnnie network and how it's led me to my last two companies!
What advice/suggestions would you have for students who might be interested in your career? Network, network, network....connect, connect, connect. From here, connections will be made, relationships will be built, and if you are accountable and follow through, you will be successful no matter what. People will come to you as a trusted resource and advisor. At the end of the day, it's all about helping people.
What skills are important in your field? I think of myself having two careers...the first being a CPA/accountant. For this field, it's important to be technical, analytical, accountable, and personable. The "debits/credits" are important in any accounting or finance role. However, it's also important to get the job done while having fun. Not all accountants are nerds! This will lead to lasting relationships and connections.
The second part of my career is all about people. Being genuinely interested in meeting people and listening to their story will help in the recruiting field. Plus a strong desire to help people discover what they are best at and getting them to that place.
What activities/experiences were helpful at CSB/SJU (and elsewhere) in preparation for this career? Being involved in any type of activity, club, sport, etc. will ensure success because inevitably these interactions will turn into relationships. From there you will be faced with challenges, obstacles, successes, etc., which will inevitably help you develop skills and experiences. With every experience, you will learn something about yourself and how to handle different situations.
What is the most satisfying/rewarding part of your job? My best days are when I can either help someone realize a dream, connect them with an opportunity, or just be there to listen. I want to help people be better and realize their dreams.
Interested in connecting with alums to tap into their expertise and learn about career opportunities? Participate in the “Take a Bennie/Johnnie to Lunch” program. To learn more, check out: