When I started my career some 30 plus years ago, I had no idea I would end up in the field of accounting and eventually be the Business Services Manager for Multnomah County Community Justice.
Upon graduation from high school in the bay area of California in the mid 70’s, I went to a community college and decided to take courses in accounting and business. After a year and a-half, I changed my mind and worked toward and received a one year certificate in computer programming. My first programming job was with an accounting firm.
I moved to Oregon in the early 80’s and times were tough. I fell back on my college courses and my experience at the accounting firm and was able to get an entry level bookkeeping position in the central office for a group of convalescent homes. That was the start of my career in accounting. From that point I continued to increase my knowledge and skills, taking courses here and there, always looking for more experience and responsibility. I moved on to a higher level accounting position with a small distribution company, then to a controller position with a local corporation. Next I went to work for an international corporation, where I established and managed a regional accounting center for branch locations in Oregon and Washington.
After 20 plus years working in the private sector, I was looking for a change. I took some time to re-evaluate what I wanted and decided to look for a position in the government. I was offered a non-management position with Multnomah County, working as a senior finance specialist in one of their internal service departments. I truly enjoyed that work but after a number of years in that position, I wanted to get back into management and I also wanted to be in a part of the organization that was providing direct service and helping to improve the community.
There was a finance supervisor position open with the Department of Community Justice. I did my research and felt I could align myself with the vision and goals of this department. They provide direct services to adult and juvenile offenders in our community, holding their clients accountable but also working to change behavior so they can become valuable contributing citizens. In this new position, I worked directly for the business services manager. She became my mentor, expanding my knowledge of the organization and the various business needs of the department. Upon her retirement, I promote was promoted to the business services manager position.
In this role, I manage the department-wide budget, finance and contracting services. I am responsible for setting budget, fiscal, procurement, and contract development and administration policies for the department and report directly to the department director. I am also a key member of the department executive management team and a key policy advisor to the department director. In addition, I represent the department on county wide committees such as the county operations council.
I enjoy my work in community justice immensely. I find it very rewarding. I did not know where I would end up when I started my career, but I am certainly glad to be where I am.