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Alumni Snapshot – Elisa Gilbertson

CoBE Alumni Remember and Reflect

Name: Elisa Gilbertson

Current Employer and Position:

Garland Independent School District (Garland, Texas), Assistant Director of Finance

Graduation Year(s) and Major(s):

Accounting & Finance 2005, MPA 2006

Why did you choose to attend UW-Whitewater?

I chose UW-Whitewater because of its reputation for having a great Business College and because the tuition bill was considerably less than the out-of-state school I was also accepted into.  I decided that UW-Whitewater could give me a great education at a great price.

Were there any professors or courses that particularly inspired you? Why?

Lynn Hafemeister (Intermediate Accounting & Auditing) was great at incorporating her “real-world” experiences into her teaching.  She also took the time to get to know her students so she could push (and support) us to reach our full potential – a task she continues to perform years after graduation.

Dr. Lois Smith was the advisor for UW-Whitewater’s study abroad program in Arnhem, Netherlands.  She was an invaluable resource and counselor to me then, as I navigated six months in a country far away from home, and today as I continue to navigate in my career.

Did you participate in extra-curricular activities? If so, what did you learn from participating in these activities that has been useful in your career?

I participated in various intermural sports and groups on campus, but the two I was most involved in were Pi Sigma Epsilon and Cru.  Both organizations taught me a lot about leadership and management and, most importantly, how to work as part of a team.

What do you enjoy most about your current position?

After five years when I worked as an auditor in Public garland school district logoAccounting, my current position allows me to leave my office at 4:30. A schedule of regular working hours is what I enjoy most.  I also enjoy being part of a group of people committed to giving children the opportunity to achieve greatness.

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

Passing the CPA was a pretty high moment!  I was also named “Rookie of the Year” at my firm.

What do you feel is your greatest professional strength?

My greatest professional strength is probably my enjoyment of public speaking/training.  There are few things I enjoy more than getting to tell a group of people about accounting.

What are the three key skills or qualities you look for in recent grads wishing to join your company?

As an auditor at a public accounting firm or administrator at a school district, I look most for individuals who realize they don’t know everything, but are interested in learning.  I also look for those who are detail-oriented and hard-working.

Based on what you know now, what advice would you give to your college-age self if you could go back in time?

I think I’d tell myself to enjoy the experience more, because you have a lifetime of work ahead of you!  Also, I’d encourage myself to take more afternoon naps (I do miss college napping!).



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