all over the country. From one of my
most recent projects, their headquarters
was in Clearwater, Florida, near me, but
the operations of the company were
in New York and California. Where
do I find New York and California
contacts? I find them through my
TMA connections. I have people I can
reach out to all over the country for
help in various areas. In today’s world,
you’re not local. It’s just not possible.
Q Have you always been with the Florida Chapter?
I started in Dallas. I was on
the board there for a number of years.
Then I moved to Florida. I volunteered to
help out with the TMA Chapter in Florida.
They invited me onto the board and put
me in charge of programming. A few
years later I became president of the
organization. Now I’m functioning as
treasurer. Through being the president of
TMA Florida for a couple of years, I’m on
two or three national committees,
including the Finance Committee and
the CRRC (Chapter Resource and
Response Committee). I also help with
some of the conferences, including the
TMA Southeast Regional Conference.
I’ve moderated panels for regional and
Q And that’s the key to getting the most out of TMA, that active
involvement, isn’t it?
I ask the people I meet who
say they don’t get anything out of TMA
how many meetings they’ve gone to.
They’ll say, “Three or four.” Three or four
meetings isn’t enough to get to know
people. All of the sales training says you
have to touch people five to eight times
to get a qualified lead. Showing up for a
couple of meetings doesn’t get you there.
You have to reach out and get on
committees or panels, and then you
become part of the network and have
the connections that you need, but they
have to see you for a while. You have to
give it time, and you have to put effort
into it. Like anything else, you’re going
to get out of it what you put into it.
When you’ve been working with these
people on a committee, you’re on their
mind and they’ll think about you if they
have something come up that requires
your services. If they met you at a TMA
event a year ago, you’re not necessarily
on their mind. They have to be aware
of you and aware of what you do before
they’re willing to push any work to you.
Q What advice would you have for someone who was new to the
industry or was thinking about getting
into the industry?
Besides join TMA, I would
say don’t focus solely on bankruptcy. Too
many restructuring people seem to be
focused on bankruptcy, and companies
can be fixed or liquidated without
bankruptcy. Most equity groups that I
know that are buying and selling
companies don’t really consider
bankruptcy to be a viable option
anymore. It’s just too expensive. The
board or equity is looking for people who
will fix a specific problem or a general
problem when they don’t know what the
specific problem is, or they’re looking for
you to clean up the financial picture so
they can find a good purchaser for the
organization. I’ve assisted companies
through (Uniform Commercial Code)
Article 9 sales now. ABCs (assignments
for the benefit of creditors) are a lot more
prevalent. Receiverships are a lot more
prevalent, especially if the problem is real
Bankruptcy used to be the main tool
for restructuring, and it really isn’t
anymore. You have to be a lot wider
in your approach to how you fix debt
problems in companies and how you
deal with creditors. Bankruptcy’s only one
option. A person new to restructuring
should get experience in solution tools
other than just running a company
through a bankruptcy process.
At least in Florida, we’re seeing fewer
and fewer young people coming into
restructuring and into TMA, and I
think it’s a real shame. I still think this
is a career choice that has a lot to offer
young people. I learned an awful lot
about many different industries. The
job’s not the same thing every day, 9
to 5. Every industry and every project
that I go into teaches me something. I
think there’s a lot of room for younger
people to come in and learn how to
analyze problems and find solutions and
then go back to working in industry or
work in consulting firms. I’m sorry that
we just aren’t seeing as many young
people joining us, and I think they
need to consider this as a career path.
Q If you could start your own career over again, would you
do anything differently?
I would find a mentor. I
smoothly with a mentor. So find a good
mentor. Don’t be afraid to change
organizations or the group that you’re
with until you find a decent one because
they can go a long way to helping you
get over some of the rough bumps. We’re
crisis managers. If you have someone
who can give you good advice on
working with people and companies to
get through the crises, you’re a lot better
off than you are by learning through
experience, which can be quite painful.
Q What about outside the office? What do you like to do?
I would say family. I have
three kids who are mostly grown now.
But I’m passionate about spending time
with and enjoying family. I now have a
couple of grandchildren. One of the
reasons we moved to Tampa was to be
Even when I was doing charity work,
it was still family-focused. I was on the
board of Susan G. Komen in West Palm
Beach—I think it’s called the Southern
Florida Chapter—but I did that because
I have two sisters who were breast
cancer survivors. The other boards
I’ve been on have been education-related because I was passionate about
education for my kids and wanted
to help other kids, too. Education is
just so important in today’s world.
My husband and I like to do outdoor
activities. One of the reasons I came to
Florida is I like my fun in my backyard.
We live outdoors, and we are in the
process of “restructuring" the backyard.
The yard outside of the pool is empty
space, and we are adding flowers, palm
trees, and flowering bushes to make
our backyard a tropical paradise. We
also enjoy kayaking and being out on
the water. Tampa is a wonderful area
with easy access to the bay and gulf.
Q What might people who only know you in your professional capacity
be most surprised to learn about you?
Probably that I do have fun
with things that aren’t work-related,
because they’re used to only seeing me at
work. When the team is on projects it’s 24
hours a day of nonstop work, and I’ve
sent review notes at 11 at night and 5 in
the morning. It’s hard to find time for
hobbies and other things I like to do. I am
a serious accountant, and restructuring
and crisis management is serious
business, especially when you’re trying to
fix a company that’s in real trouble. Other
people’s jobs depend on our solutions. J