Get to know Digilock’s Julie Advocate, winner of North Bay Business Journal’s annual CFO awards.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE ESSENTIAL ROLE OF A FINANCIAL LEADER IN THE CURRENT ENVIRONMENT?
To provide meaningful input and play a leading role in planning the company’s future growth and to also be a key decision maker in its implementation.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHANGES YOU’VE SEEN IN YOUR INDUSTRY?
Working in the security industry, there is an ever increasing need to secure personal belongings — the devices we carry such as our cell phones are worth hundreds of dollars while office environments are transitioning to shared workspaces.
TELL US ABOUT THE PARTICULAR CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES YOUR ORGANIZATION HAS MET IN THE RECENT PAST?
One of our biggest challenges is to ensure that we plan accordingly to accommodate the constant and rapid growth of both our domestic and international operations.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG EMERGING FINANCIAL LEADERS?
Audit your own work — we all make mistakes, and the key to accounting is accuracy — so take the time to double-check your work. It will save you time in the long run.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE FOR WEATHERING TODAY’S ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT?
Have a financial reserve along with a plan and be willing to adjust the plan with the changes in the environment.
HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR BUSINESS WILL CHANGE IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?
We will keep our roots in the security industry and will bring products to the market that are strongly branded with our company’s mission and values. Change is constant with our company and it starts with our products bringing innovation to the way people live, work and play.
WHAT IS A DECISION YOU WISH YOU HADN’T MADE? WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM IT?
I have always believed in separating my career from my personal life, however, early on I recommended acquaintances for open job positions. I learned that with this action crosses with my personal life.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE BUSINESS EXPERIENCE?
We were audited by the IRS, and we survived the audit with a clean record.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST BUSINESS SUCCESS?
I see success within the company on a daily basis whether it comes from an employee receiving compliments from a customer for a job well done to exceeding our target goals. A recent success is working together with our international colleagues and business partners to feature our products on a cloakroom project for the Louvre Museum.
WHAT WAS YOUR TOUGHEST BUSINESS DECISION?
Executing a closure of a remote sales office.
WHAT WOULD YOUR FRIENDS BE SURPRISED TO FIND OUT ABOUT YOU?
As a child and throughout college, I twirled batons. While many of my friends are aware of this, they would be surprised to learn that I was a competing member of the United States Twirling Association and in my teenage years I competed at the National Baton Twirling Championship Competition.
Most admired businessperson outside the company: Steve Jobs
Current reading: “Good to Great” by Jim Collins
Most want to meet: Personally, John Cusack. Professionally, Yves Béhar.
Stress-relievers: Spending time with family and friends, yoga and playing musical instruments.
Favorite activities outside work: Traveling, wine tasting and snowboarding.
Vice president and chief financial officer
Security People Inc. dba Digilock
9 Willowbrook Ct., Petaluma, CA 94954
Professional background: Born and raised in Sonoma County, her work experience started early on in the food industry, followed by working in retail and then in media. She considers her career to have begun 15 years ago when she accepted a position as a sales and marketing assistant at Security People Inc. dba Digilock. She has worked in all the departments throughout the organization. Although my education focused on communication studies and marketing, she learned she truly loves accounting and has capitalized on the intricate understanding of the organization as a key to success in financial leadership.
Education: Master’s in business administration with a concentration in marketing