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CONNIE WHITTINGHAM

January 25, 2012 12:10 am

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FAMILY: I have been happily married for 17 years and have two girls, 7 and 15 years old.

EDUCATION: I graduated from high school in Connecticut, where my education was focused on business, including courses like accounting, business math, economics, computers and office skills. Since 2002, I have maintained my status as a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor. In fact, I just passed my 2012 certification.

WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP? Ever since I was a child, I always wanted to be a teacher.

HOW DID YOU END UP OWNING Y-OPA BOOKKEEPING SOLUTIONS? My mom was an accountant, so working with numbers seems to just be in my genes. Every job I had from my senior year of high school on, I always seemed to end up with doing bookkeeping, even if it did not start out that way. After a while, I really started to enjoy it. I worked for years in bookkeeping and accounting for various companies, and loved the work that I did. But once I had children, I found that I needed more flexibility so that I could take care of them and be there for them whenever they needed me. With encouragement and support from my husband, I started Y-OPA Bookkeeping Solutions.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST DECISION YOU'RE WRESTLING WITH NOW? I struggle constantly with how to expand the company without compromising or jeopardizing the satisfaction of my current clients.

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WOULD CHANGE ABOUT YOUR JOB? I wish that I did not have to be a "boss." I don't particularly like to tell people what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. But I've learned that it's just not an option. I have to provide guidelines, procedures and policies for my team if we are going to be successful. So I try hard to be a "boss" without being "bossy." In the back of my mind I remember every terrible boss that I've ever had, and why they were terrible. Then, I make every possible effort not to be that way.

WHO WAS AND IS YOUR HERO? My mom was my hero as a child and my mom is my hero today. She has always been such a strong woman, and I have memories from when I was small that remind me of this. My mom always had a saying that I've never forgotten. She would say, "When you want something, don't be afraid to ask for it. The worst they can say is 'no.'"

WHO WAS YOUR MENTOR AND WHAT WAS THE BEST ADVICE THEY GAVE YOU? My dad is my mentor. My dad passed on his entrepreneurial spirit to me and my siblings. He has always been willing to take business risks, and even when they didn't pay off he was not afraid to try again.

WHAT ARE THE BEST LOCAL RESOURCES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES SEEKING ASSISTANCE IN GETTING STARTED OR EXPANDING? SCORE organization, through the Chamber of Commerce, is a great way to get some guidance on starting your business.

WHAT IS A WEIRD/FUN FACT ABOUT YOUR PROFESSION? "Bookkeeping" and "bookkeeper" are the only words in the English language with three consecutive double letters. Even after 20 years, every time I write the word I still have to double check and make sure I spelled it right!

WHAT ARE YOU MOST LIKELY TO BE DOING WHEN NOT WORKING? When I am not working I am spending time with family, laughing, playing, living, loving!

WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BE FIVE YEARS FROM NOW? Not too far from where I am now. I love my life and my family. As long as they are there with me five years from now, I'll be happy and content.

WHO WOULD YOU RATHER SPEND TIME WITH, WARREN BUFFETT, DORIS BUFFETT OR JIMMY BUFFETT? Doris Buffett, for sure. She does so much for people, and it seems as though it comes from the heart.

540/659-8480

y-opa.com

--As told to Craig Schulin




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