For Women’s History Month, we interviewed Kelly Butz, CFO of Boaters Exchange. Here are Kelly’s thoughts on leadership!
1. Who inspires you the most?
I am not sure that there is one single person that has inspired me along the way. I have been blessed with so many amazing friends and professional people in my life that have modeled for me what it means to be an outstanding leader that strives for excellence in all they do. Humility, integrity and accountability are the 3 things that I focus on each day, and surrounding myself with people that embody those characteristics helps me to grow. It also challenges me to become a better wife, mother, business professional and friend. Healthy and life giving relationships inspire me!
2. What is your biggest achievement so far (personally or professionally)?
My husband and I have raised 3 beautiful daughters and I count that as my biggest and most precious achievement. They are all strong professional women and I am proud of the women that they have become and the incredible things they have accomplished. Professionally, I think that my biggest achievement was managing all of the financial aspects of a growing company during the 2008 and 2009 downturn. The Marine Industry was in a tailspin and we had to act quickly to adapt to what was happening in our industry. As an executive team, we instituted a survival plan and met at least once a week to analyze our cash flow, overhead and revenue. We called it our weekly DASHBOARD and we still use it today to monitor our financial picture. This practice literally kept us afloat and allowed us to capitalize on acquiring distressed inventory from all over the state of Florida. Flexibility and focus allowed us to be diligent with our decisions. This process launched us into being selected as one of the Top 100 Boat Dealers in North America and we have remained in the Top 100 for the last 11 years. That difficult season set in place many of the business practices we still implement today.
3. What is the best advice you have ever received?
My mom and dad taught me to never give up. They still model that for me today and encourages me in all aspects of my life. Perseverance takes grit and if you have to pre decided that you are not going to give up when the going gets tough. With that mindset you can accomplish things that you never thought possible.
4. What has been the key to your success?
I never want to be the smartest person in the room. Surrounding myself with amazing people allows for ideas to flow and for plans to be executed.
5. What advice would you give young women about their careers?
Once you identify a career path, it is important to have a good mentor by your side to help you achieve and exceed your goals. Also, it is important to recognize that you may have to do some tasks that you don’t necessarily like. This builds character! I always told our girls that it was important to have basic professional skills. These included a firm handshake, looking someone in the eye when speaking, good phone skills, impeccable follow through and the ability to admit when you make a mistake. I actually made them practice these things and at the time they thought it was so mean. They have since thanked me! These professional basics are neglected in our social media culture and I believe that they are the foundation for strong leadership and a successful career.
We celebrate our client and community partner Kelly Butz, CFO at Boaters Exchange. For more information, visit: https://www.boatersexchange.com