YP: Did you grow up in Southwest Florida? If not, where did you grow up and why did you move to Naples?
AG: I am originally from Michigan. I moved to southwest Florida after I graduated high school. My father got a job in Naples and the whole family moved. I obtained my bachelor’s degree from Florida Gulf Coast University and my masters degree from Florida Atlantic University.
YP: Would you consider yourself rising star in a business? What was your professional journey like to get to where you are today?
AG: I feel that I am currently a rising star in business. I worked at a pet hospital through undergrad into grad school, working my way up to a management position in my time there. After starting grad school, I knew it was time for me to get into my field of study. Halstatt gave me a shot, knowing I was fresh out of undergrad and still going through grad school. I started as an associate accountant at Halstatt in 2014. Through my journey at Halstatt I have worked my way up from general bookkeeping to being involved in most aspects of Halstatt’s business, which includes fund administration, tax and audit services, and creating a standard set of processes for new businesses we have started in my five years with Halstatt.
YP: Along your path, how have you distinguished yourself as a business leader in the greater Naples community?
AG: I am still working on distinguishing myself as a business leader in the Naples community. I’m doing this by being a graduate of GAIN (class of 2019), networking with other young professionals in Naples, and by continuously learning and growing by attending conferences and seminars.
YP: What advice would you give to others who might be starting out on a similar path?
AG: My advice for those young professionals just starting out is to continue to learn and grow. Also, don’t be scared to make recommendations on ways that can improve the business, whether it’s through processes or new software. It can be a scary thing when you are just starting out in your career, but you may see something from a different prospective than your superiors. For me, the continued growth has helped push me out of my comfort zone and has given me insights into things that my colleagues may not have seen. It has allowed me to make recommendations that I felt strongly about, that I knew would help our business, which has increased efficiencies within our business.
YP: Where do you see yourself in ten years?
AG: In 10 years, I see myself in an executive finance role. I want to use my continuing education to help push me out of standard accounting/bookkeeping to a role that helps myself and my organization grow.
What involvement have you had with charitable organizations, regionally or otherwise, and how has this affected your outlook on business? Why has it been important to you to be involved in non-profit organizations?
YP: How have you given back to the community that has supported your success?
AG: I have recently graduated from GAIN (class of 19), that helped show me ways I can support my community. Through GAIN I started working with Habitat for Humanity and am now a member of their NextGen board. Habitat is an amazing non-profit that helps so many people in our community, they don’t give handouts, they give hand ups. My GAIN class also decided to do a legacy project this year, to keep the momentum going of everything we learned. Our class felt passionately about mental health and decided to do an event to bring awareness around mental health to children, start the conversation on mental health issues, and end the stigma. A small group of our class planned the event, while over half of the class showed up the day of the event to volunteer their time. Our event helped raise over $2,000 that was donated to our non-profit partners, The David Lawrence Center, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Kids’ Minds Matter, Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples, and the Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida.
YP: Based on your experience, what role do non-profits play in the modern economy, and what impact has your involvement in them had on the well-being of Southwest Florida?
AG: The non-profit organizations within Collier county are vital to the economy. Without organizations like Habitat for Humanity, there would be many individuals that could not afford to live and work in the community. This would hurt many businesses, as they would not have employees to work at their businesses, residents would not have the service they are used to, and the economy would hurt as people would not want to go out as often. Most non-profit organizations rely heavily on volunteers, not only donating their time to the organization, but advocating for the organizations. With individuals, like myself, volunteering and advocating for our local non-profits, many members of our community would not have access to a lot of basic necessities, like housing, healthcare, and food. When I volunteer, I see the impact I make and it inspires me to try and get my friends, family, and coworkers more involved in the community.