Insights From Professional Women – International Women’s Day | KM&A | Blog

Insights from Professional Women – International Women’s Day

Womens Day Blog Graphic Insights from Professional Women – International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day. What is the intent? While this day may serve several purposes, the fundamental principle is clear. To celebrate, acknowledge and respect the achievements of women on every scale. Our organization is proud to have a team of women who not only bring their leadership, ambition, tenacity and grit to work each day; but also, their undeniable authenticity, bold spirits and individuality that are at the core of our company culture.

We are fortunate to have built a team of individuals with diverse skill sets and backgrounds that continually inspire a collaborative environment of unity and teamwork. A team willing to put forth the effort, continue to evolve and work together toward an aligned vision and exceed overall goals and objectives. While our entire team deserves a standing ovation daily, in the spirit of International Women’s Day we want to take the time to recognize the women within our firm and introduce them beyond the blazer and their business exterior.

With a drink in hand, we toasted them and held a quick Q&A to get inside the minds of the women who are instrumental in the success of KM&A.

Name: Malia McGovern

Role: Social Media / Partner Success Manager

Fun Fact: She will make you curse and weep tears of pain if you ever join her in the gym

Drinking: A glass of Silver Oak Cabernet

Q: What is your primary motivation for success?

MM: Happy clients. If a client is happy, then as a team we are doing the right thing. Success is also when I see KM&A succeed. When we reach our goals, get a new client, or develop a kickass strategy THAT is success and we’ll continue to succeed until we reach the top.

Q: Share a favorite movie quote that you strive to live by.

MM: ‘Attitude reflects leadership.’ – Remember the Titans

Q: Who is a woman in business that you admire and look up to?

MM: My Aunt Diane. She’s been kicking ass as a woman in the statehouse since 1975 and carried her success to Faegre Baker & Daniels in 2004. She’s a go-getter and never fails to amaze me with everything she’s done in her career. Being in politics isn’t easy, especially as a woman. She defies gravity and doesn’t let anyone get in her way of success. As her co-workers say, Diane is queen.

Q: What would we find you singing at a karaoke joint?

MM: Always Earth Wind Fire… ‘September’ BABY!

Name: Mandi Bender

Role: Managing Director

Fun Fact: She’s a Wisconsin sheep wrangler and roller derby badass

Drinking: Bourbon on the rocks

Q: How do your KM&A colleagues frequently describe you?

MB: I’ve been called relentless, sneaky creative and pragmatic.

Q: Who is a business leader you admire? Why do you admire them?

MB: It is tough to narrow it down to one, but they all have one thing in common. They are decisive. The ability to make an informed, yet quick decision goes a long way with me.  And while those decisions may not always be right and they may not always be popular, but forward momentum is kept.

Q: What piece of advice would you give someone just beginning their career?

MB: Work your ass off! Say yes! Go outside your comfort zone!  It is commendable to stay laser-focused but unless your career goal is to work in a very segmented or regimented field, you need to veer off that path. Get out there and get as much experience as possible. Second job? Yes! Side Hustle? Yes! The moment you think you might be doing something that has “nothing to do with your job,” you are dead wrong. Everything applies, somehow, some way.

Q: What’s your go-to karaoke song that pretty much sums you up?

MB: You’d probably find me singing ‘The Bitch is Back’ by Elton John

Name: Torrey Ratay

Role: Creative Lead

Fun Fact: Former show choir performer; frequently found singing and dancing through our office

Drinking: Bourbon on the rocks

Q: How are you described by your colleagues, Torrey?

TR: Happy and hungry.

Q: What is your primary motivation for success?

TR: I’m motivated by a well-working team that can push each other to make incredible things happen. I feel most successful when I feel fulfilled by the work my team has done and excited about the work to come.

Q: Share some advice you would give a college student who wants to land their ideal career upon graduation?

TR: If you are still in college or just out, do internships. As many as you can. Even if you don’t think you have enough skill in that field yet. They are the best way to jump right in and learn real-life lessons of the job you think you want to be doing. Plus, it is a great way to make business connections that are invaluable in facing a competitive job market.

Q: I know this is tough, but what song would you be found singing at a karaoke bar?

TR: ‘Crazy’ by Gnarls Barkley

Name: Whitney Shelley

Role: Director of Services

Fun Fact: She can’t do a somersault, but is a U.S. geography / state capital whiz

Drinking: Bourbon neat

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

WS: I had big aspirations of becoming a lifeguard at the lake in my hometown.

Q: What is your primary method to motivate and lead others?

WS: Personally, I think effective leadership is a balance of empathy and transparent communication. Taking a diplomatic approach to situations, both positive and negative, helps to ensure the team understands we are working towards the same vision. Everyone is accountable. Everyone’s role helps achieve our overarching goals.

Q: Can you share a notable quote that has resonated with you during your career?

WS: “Develop your eccentricities while you are young. That way, when you get old, people won’t think you’re going gaga.” – David Ogilvy

Q: Karaoke night. What are you singing?

WS: It depends on the night. Duet? ‘In spite of ourselves’ by John Prine. Solo? Always ‘Poison’ by Alice Cooper.

Collectively, our team at KM&A shapes the identity of who we are as an organization. Individually, the women of our organization have set standards, impacted our clients and evolved our firm in a powerful way. We continue to support our team in achieving their goals and advancing their careers by celebrating each other’s accomplishments, acknowledging the ideas and contributions of the women within our organization and the team as a whole. Their results-oriented mindset and contributions influence our overall team dynamic and continue to elevate KM&A as a firm. We are proud to have them on our team.

Keep groovin’ ladies and gentlemen. The creativity and the bourbon will never cease to exist here.

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