The finalists for WashingtonExec’s Chief Officer Awards were announced March 25, and we’ll be highlighting some of them until the event takes place live, in-person May 11 at the The Ritz-Carlton in McLean, Virginia.
Next is Chief Financial Officer (Private Company, Annual Revenue <$250M) finalist Shannan Winkler, who’s CFO at IntelliDyne. Here, she talks success in her current role, proud organizational moments, career advice and more.
What has made you successful in your current role?
I credit a lot of my success in my current role to two key factors. First is building strong relationships with employees across the organization. A key component to supporting the needs of the business starts with being intentional in developing relationships with all stakeholders across the organization.
As a service organization, our key focus is delivering on the missions of our clients and serving our employees. Developing a deep understanding of the needs and priorities of all my colleagues all the way down to every employee out in the field has given us an advantage to be a better partner in delivering the highest level of service.
The second key to my success is the strong team I oversee. My team is small but mighty, and they are driven by a passion for integrity, teamwork and quality in everything they do. The team works seamlessly together, using solid processes and controls that guide our daily tasks. I am truly inspired by my team every day. They inspire me to always want to do my best and to always keep a smile on my face. Even on those challenging days, you will always find them ready to help with a smile. I could not be successful without them.
They also make a huge impact on the business by building relationships with our employees, but most importantly, by always timely processing expenses, invoices and financial reporting packages monthly. Without them, I would not be as successful as I am.
What are you most proud of having been a part of in your current organization?
I am most proud of the culture we have at IntelliDyne. Through my 11 years at IntelliDyne, we have always maintained a people-first culture. We thrive on understanding the needs of our employees, creating a sense of shared purpose and value. We want them to come to work feeling like they have a voice and that they are valued and respected for their expertise and contributions.
At IntelliDyne, our core values are integrity, service and inclusion. We value the different beliefs, backgrounds and capabilities of our people. We truly believe each individual has a voice and we have a created a culture that allows every employee the opportunity to share their ideas.
We live and breathe our values every day as a direct reflection of the culture we have built.
What’s your best career advice for those who want to follow in your footsteps?
For anyone who is interested in a career in accounting, I would offer two pieces of advice. First, after college graduation, I recommend sitting for the CPA exam as soon as possible. You’ve just completed all of the hard work to obtain your degree and a lot of that knowledge will be fresh in your mind. If by chance you do not pass the first time, don’t stress or give up! I once had a mentor tell me, “Once you get the CPA, no one asks how many times it took you to pass a section, they just see those three letters and that’s all that matters in the end.” Obtaining your CPA will open so many doors as you begin your job search.
Secondly, I recommend when you are starting out to get a role in public accounting. It will teach you a ton, it will be hard work, but in the end, it will be so rewarding. You’ll learn more in those two years working in public accounting than you will anywhere else.
Always take notes and never be afraid to ask questions. Your career is in your hands, work hard and anything is possible, if you just believe.