Healdsburg IT director Suzanne Witherell of Mengali Accountancy wins North Bay Forty Under 40 award
Responsibilities with your company: Oversight of all technical operations including, but not limited to, server systems and network security. Direct and support software and hardware maintenance as well as implementation of software and hardware upgrades, ensuring strategic capacity planning for hardware, software, and storage.
Coordinating IT activities to ensure data availability and network services with as little downtime as necessary. Provide direction, guidance, and training to staff on hardware and specific software programs.
In 25 words or less, how do you exemplify the spirit of being a top Forty under 40 professional?
I take pride in my perseverance and determination when solving problems presented to me. I strive for the correct answer, not just the convenient one.
Years with company: 11.5
Length of time in current position: 8 months
Number of companywide employees: 27
Number who report to you: 0
Greatest professional accomplishment: I began my tenure at Mengali Accountancy as an administrative assistant and through 10+ years of on-the-job training, experience, and determination, I earned my way into an IT role dedicated to keeping the entire firm running efficiently and securely.
Greatest professional challenge: Overcoming the personal feeling that I always need to “prove” myself because I do not have any college degrees to “back up” my knowledge. While no one has ever specifically challenged my knowledge, it's an insecurity that sits in the back of my mind and it's an insecurity I'm always conquering with each successfully completed project.
Best advice received: Never settle for “good enough”.
Single most important event in your professional life in the last 12 months: Facilitating the full migration of ALL of our data to upgraded virtual servers with minimal impact and downtime for our team and clients. It was actually one of the most satisfying accomplishments of my career to-date.
What steps is your company taking to sustain your organization and morale in the current economy?
As a firm that has been growing organically since its start, we have always evolved with the demands of our industry, clientele, and employees.
We are constantly forward-thinking in regards to advancements in technology and our industry best-practices. We also encourage professional and personal growth with team lunch & learns, access to industry-specific training materials, and accommodate flexible work arrangements.
Next professional goal: Staying ahead of the technology trends to keep our firm on the leading edge of its industry. And add a few formal credentials to my name along the way.
Education: High school graduate
Hometown: I was raised in Forestville but call Windsor my home
Community/nonprofit activities: Mengali Accountancy connected me with the American Heart Association through the annual Heart Walk and Go Red for Women luncheons. I've gotten my kids to participate in the walks, too. They ask each year when the walk is! I've also braved being my son's soccer coach for the local recreation league.
Mentor/admired businessperson: My boss, Renee. Being a part of the Mengali team since its earliest years has given me a true perspective of the extensive scale in which this firm grew - from her initial dream to the distinguished firm we are now. How can it not be admired?
What is your most disliked industry buzzword?
When something is going “viral.”
Typical day at the office: Check my emails and jump right in to troubleshooting any strange software issues (thanks Microsoft). ;-)
Best place to work outside of your office: With my kids; helping them practice their favorite sports.
Hobbies: Do my kids count? Everything I do revolves around them (willingly)! I love spending time with my kids and husband whether it's for their sports or just dinner out together. I live for my family.
What you wanted to be when you grew up: An astronomer - until someone told me I would need to become fluent in Latin.
#1 thing you want to accomplish by the time you turn 40: Travel to Europe
First job: Courtesy clerk at Speer's Market in Forestville. I started working there during my freshman year of high school.
Social media you most use: Instagram
Favorite book: “Pride and Prejudice” (the annotated version)
Favorite movie: “Sense and Sensibility” (I love Jane Austen)
Favorite App: Pinterest
Favorite after-work drink: Salt Point Greyhound
Last vacation: 10 days in Disney World last May with my husband and kids!
What does your mom or dad brag most about you?
My kids and how I'm raising them.