SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION
“ Don ’ t be afraid of a good challenge , and when opportunities present themselves , step up . ...”
Linda Geery Partner , Gilbert CPAs and maintaining relationships , which is integral to the work .”
INDIVIDUAL PATHS Though the path to a career in finance looks different for everyone , many women in the industry agree that education , flexibility and confidence are key to getting where you want to go .
Reeg started as a bank teller right out of high school and continued to work in banking for 20 years . She raised her children and attended college during those years , beginning at community college and continuing on to an undergraduate business degree in organizational behavior and finishing with a graduate degree in banking . “ Having a graduate degree as a woman really made a difference for me ,” Reeg says . “ As it turns out , my banking degree helped me shift into the financial services world . I had decided I wanted to do more with investments than lending , and my first boss in financial services was interested in hiring me because of the different perspective that my banking degree provided .”
Reeg worked in senior management for six years , then decided she wanted to be a financial advisor with her own clients . “ Redirecting like that required a financial step back , but I was able to manage that and it has absolutely been worth it for this career ,” she says . “ I work a lot , but I have my own clients and flexibility and I love what I do .”
Linda Geery of Gilbert CPAs says her path to the top wasn ’ t typical , having been a non-traditional student and working part time . She didn ’ t attend college directly out of high school , instead enrolling after having her second child and working as an accounting assistant . She started taking accounting classes at American River College and transferred to Sacramento State to earn her bachelor ’ s degree in accounting .
“ I wanted a career that would allow me to be an active , involved parent for my kids ,” Geery says . “ I started as a staff associate accountant for a sole proprietor who offered me flexibility , and when starting at Gilbert CPAs a few years later , I expressed that need . In the late 1990s , working part time in public accounting was pretty unique , but Gilbert , known for being progressive in that way , afforded me that flexibility .”
Geery thrived and rose through Gilbert ’ s ranks of associate , senior associate , manager and senior manager . Now a partner since 2008 , she gives this advice to other women seeking a career in finance : “ Don ’ t be afraid of a good challenge , and when opportunities present themselves , step up . Seek mentors and really assess a potential workplace as a cultural fit and to figure out if there is a path to advance . In California , firms seem more progressive than other parts of the country and more and more women are rising to leadership . With aging boomers , there is need and opportunity for good talent , so make the most of it .
Jennifer von Geldern is a freelance writer who covers regional businesses , charities , events and the people who enrich our communities .
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