A CPA, Professor, Instructional Designer, Author, and Creator. Never one to shy away from learning, Stefanie has earned a great deal of opportunity to work on continuous improvement projects with organizations including private, crown and public. This exposure has allowed her the ability to understand many facets of organizations from finance & accounting, procurement, sales, operations, customer success management, and learning & development. Within this experience of nearly two decades, she has been able to consistently enhance her comprehensive understanding, deliver integrated and robust analysis, reporting and measurable successful implementations.
This experience led Stefanie to create the 5-I’s™ framework as a training methodology to be used to enhance associate skills and in turn create value for the associate and organizations employing them. Stefanie is proud of this tool and its success in inspiring change and growth in individuals. The goal of this tool is to allow anyone who has a desire for growth and change to be able to self- assess their skill set and take the initiative to step into their leadership. Balance The Five develops processes, creates content and resources, and engages individuals who need help in looking at the larger picture of a business.
Stefanie’s natural ability as a problem solver and a storyteller by nature has allowed her to be in involved in many projects that have created opportunities for growth and development for both associates and organizations. She wants to see both succeed.
"Together we find problems, analyze them and create solutions for improvement."
How did you get into the world of Business Consulting?
I began my career in traditional accounting roles and was content to learn the fundamentals but soon found that my passion was in problem-solving and that I had a strong natural talent in doing so. This allowed me the opportunity to work on many consulting projects at the companies I worked for and as my confidence increased in saving time and money, I knew that this was a skill I could provide others.
What motivated you to become an entrepreneur and starting Balance The Five?
I enjoy freedom and being able to work on projects that speak to me. While my work as an employee was critical for my development, it didn’t allow the ability to work with and on specific projects that I enjoyed and found value in doing. My desire to help other entrepreneurs grow their businesses and learn about the total picture of business is what motivated me to start Balance The Five.
Tell me about your first entrepreneurial experience as a kid.
When I was a kid the banks had paper slips you had to fill out. I would go with my parents to the bank, take a stack home, and pretend for hours that I was the boss of the bank and all matters of financial importance had to come from me. I knew as a teen that finance and business would be the core of my career life.
How have your entrepreneurial motivations changed since you first started?
Money is important, but it will blind you in creating a business and vision that truly fulfills you. At first, we all attribute success with money, then you make some and don’t feel complete fulfillment. Now I seek engagements that make me feel great on the inside, that’s my currency. The more emotional connection I have to the work I do, the greater my delivery and success of my partners.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to other women leaving a corporation?
You must fall down, feel the criticism, circle back to the drawing board and keep moving forward. “No” is just temporary in the business world. It means go back and do some rework and come back again with something better. Invest the time in developing your skills, your ability to communicate in writing and in person. Your confidence in yourself must come through in everything you say and do if you want people to believe in you. But most of all, you need to believe in you.
Describe to us the most exciting minute of your entrepreneurial journey.
I just finished writing my first book, Beyond the Numbers, which will be released September 2018. I have had this idea in my mind for years, to be able to deliver this to individuals looking to step up their career in business and become leaders is the greatest accomplishment I could have ever imagined.
Are there any trends that you absolutely love or would love to see business owners leave behind?
Anything that is not automated and causing you to waste valuable minutes. Things like scheduling appointments via SMS. There are so many apps and services out there to streamline your business. Invest in these tools. The goal for business is leave behind non-value add work and focus on the work that adds value to your products, services and business overall.
What sacrifices have you had to make during life as an entrepreneur and a leader?
You sometimes have to forego time spent with people you care about. You may have to distance yourself from people who don’t understand your vision and plan. I have had to create distance with people who bring negative energy to my life. Protect your work, your business and your mental well-being by being selective about who you give access to yourself.
What is your life motto?
Be kind and do things from the heart. People will always second guess your motives and intentions, but that is them. When you give of yourself genuinely and freely you will find peace and happiness. Accept that those around you may not behave the same way, but that is on them and not a reflection of you. People can’t give you what they don’t have inside them.
If you had one piece of advice to our readers to those just starting out as a business owner, what would it be?
Keep going! Do not let rejection, fear, or naysayers stop you. Trust your intuition and follow your passion. You will know when you are on to something great and what isn’t working. Ask advice from the right people who understand your goals and plan, not everyone you know will be able to do this. Choose the right mentor and do not fear keeping your work to yourself until you are comfortable in sharing it with the world. When you are comfortable that is when you will achieve success because you will have done your work, made your investments and feel confident.