Meet the Member: Susan Jistel Spillios

Welcome to our latest installment in our “Meet the Member” series, where we will feature a WFE member. This quarter meet Susan Jistel Spillios!

Read on to learn more about Susan:

How did you get involved with WFE and how long have you been a member?

Margaret Ceconi introduced me to WFE when I met her in 2009.

What is your favorite thing about WFE?

The wonderful friendships that have resulted from being a long term member and participating in the organization.

10 Quick Questions:

1. What was your first job?
I joined the audit department at Deloitte after graduating from the University of Texas with an accounting degree.

2. What do you like most about your current job?
I joined Axia Partners as a Partner on September 4th. I love everything about my job, it’s the people I work with that make the difference. Our CEO is someone I’ve known since early in my career and there’s a Partner and Director that I worked with at another firm for seven years. We finish each other’s sentences!

3. What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
You are in charge of your own career, take responsibility for it, set your goals and make it happen!

4. Who is your role model?
I have struggled to find a female, business role model. I admire female CFOs, CEOs and Board Members that have broken through the glass ceiling to rise to the top of their organizations and professions.

5. If you weren’t a Partner at Axia Partners, what would you be doing?
Professional dancer on Broadway or Dancing With the Stars.

6. Do you have any pets?
My 82 lb. rescue dog, Jill. Love, love, love her!

7. What are you currently reading?
Rocket Fuel by Gino Wickman and Mark Winters for business. I also read the Wall Street Journal daily and Houston Business Journal weekly.

8. How do you handle stress?
Exercise, I take classes at Lifetime City Centre – Zumba, Strike, Barbell Strength, Barre Fusion.

9. What do you make time for no matter what?
Daily phone call to my elderly Mom, I usually do it from the car!

10. What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I love to sing, I took singing lessons to stretch myself outside my comfort zone.

Bonus Question!
11. What “lesson from mom” do you still live by today?
Never leave the house without lipstick.

Meet the Members: Laura and Ellen Freudenberger

Welcome to our latest installment in our “Meet the Member” series, where we will feature a WFE member. This quarter we are featuring our favorite mother-daughter duo, Laura and Ellen Freudenberger. Both ladies are active WFE members, we thought it would be fun to do a joint interview with them!

Read on to learn more about Laura and Ellen:

How did you get involved with WFE and how long have you been a member?

Ellen: My mom would make me come down from College Station to attend the duck hunt, I have been a member for 4 years

Laura: I think around 15 years

What is your favorite thing about WFE?

Ellen: The relationships that are formed and the support we have for one another

Laura: The awesome ladies

10 Quick Questions:

1. What was your first job?
Ellen: Pre-college, my first job was a lifeguard at the Houston Jewish Community Center; Post-college, my first job was an audit staff at Deloitte in Houston

Laura: Pre-college, my first job was working in a Jewish deli in Cleavland, Ohio; Post-college, my first job was a staff auditor for a national CPA firm

2. What do you like most about your current job?
Ellen: Currently moving to being a recruiter, so get back to me in a few weeks

Laura: I love my clients. There is something new everyday that I am learning, ALWAYS. It is always interested and full of change.

3. What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Ellen: Perception is reality

Laura: First impressions stay with you forever

4. Who is your role model?
Ellen: My mom (Laura rolls her eyes) – I mean, you’ve met her, she’s amazing

Laura: My husband and to some degree my daughter, too

Ellen: Thanks mom!

5. If you weren’t [a recruiter for Ellen and Audit Shareholder for Laura] what would you be doing?
Ellen: I just switched from being an auditor, to a recruiter, so I am doing that! Fun wise, I would love to be a personal shopper.

Laura: Something in art, I have always been interested in art.

6. Do you have any pets?
Ellen: Two dogs – Bailey, a Chocolate Lab/Australian Shepherd mix and Jackson, a German Shepherd mix

Laura: Leon – a White Lab mix

7. What are you currently reading?
Ellen: Crazy Rich Asians

Laura: The Outlander Series

8. How do you handle stress?
Ellen: Eat – Want to go to lunch?

Laura: Try and work harder

9. What do you make time for no matter what?
Ellen and Laura: Sleep and Family

10. What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Ellen: I used to Ice Skate

Laura: I have an identical twin – that is not an accountant

Bonus Question!
11. What “lesson from mom” do you still live by today?
Ellen: “I love you no matter what”

Laura: “You are responsible for your own happiness”

Meet the Member: Rebekah Bezerra

Welcome to our latest installment in our “Meet the Member” series, where we will feature a WFE member. This quarter meet Rebekah Bezerra!

Read on to learn more about Rebekah:

How did you get involved with WFE and how long have you been a member?

I first heard of WFE from Laurie-Leigh, but it took me a little over a year to finally attend a WFE luncheon with my boss, Carmen Eggleston. I have been a WFE member for 2 years.

What is your favorite thing about WFE?

Meeting and networking with other professional women. It is really uplifting to meet and be encouraged by other women who are going through or have been through the journey.

10 Quick Questions:

1. What was your first job?
Summer Intern at Project Grad Houston, a Houston based non-profit that helps students in low-income communities achieve their college goals. I was a Project Grad Scholar myself.

2. What do you like most about your current job?
The range and diversity of cases – every case has its own unique set of facts and challenges.

3. What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

4. Who is your role model?
My mom – she left everything she knew behind to move to this country with my dad so that her children could have all the opportunities that she wasn’t afforded in her home country. Despite not having a formal education or understanding the English language, my mom made sure we received the best education possible within her power and reach. She made sure that we never took for granted the opportunities we are blessed to have in this country.

5. If you weren’t [Senior Associate – Litigation Consulting] what would you be doing?
Teaching

6. Do you have any pets?
I have two dogs – a miniature schnauzer and a bichon. I would own more dogs, but we have a rule in our family that the number of dogs cannot exceed the number of humans in the house.

7. What are you currently reading?
No Ego by Cy Wakeman

8. How do you handle stress?
I go for a run or drive down to Galveston and paddle board.

9. What do you make time for no matter what?
Family, friends, church, and the beach.

10. What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I was a marksman and was on a precision rifle team throughout high school.

Bonus Question!
11. What “lesson from mom” do you still live by today?
Always do your best. My mom sewed a lot of my dresses growing up and I loved watching her cut and sew the fabric, but if anything was off in the process, she would take the dress apart and start again until it was perfect. The same translated to my homework, after school activities, and work. My mom is a perfectionist at heart and passed down the trait.

Meet The Member: Faith Allen

Welcome to our latest installment in our “Meet the Member” series, where we will feature a WFE member. This quarter meet our 2018 President, Faith Allen!

Read on to learn more about Faith:

How did you get involved with WFE and how long have you been a member?

I became involved over 15 years ago as a member, then served 2 years as Treasurer and 1 year as Pres. Elect.

What is your favorite thing about WFE?

Meeting really amazing, strong and smart women each month while learning from solid programs.

10 Quick Questions:

1. What was your first job?
My first office job was as a teller for a Savings and Loan in my hometown.  We worked the drive through as well as the lobby and handled all transactions almost manually.

2. What do you like most about your current job?
Building relationships with the key decision makers from different industries and companies to help them achieve their goals.

3. What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
“The Ball is Always in Your Court” which is helpful for sales oriented roles, but also all types of roles we have in our careers.  If you’re not getting paid enough, ask for a raise.  Being treated unfairly, have a crucial conversation or a new job.  Bored, find an interesting job.  Change is inevitable, and sometimes we don’t like the change, but remember the Ball is Always in Your [personal] Court.

4. Who is your role model?
Over my life, it has to be my maternal grandmother.  She was a single mom when my mom was 16 and managed through WWII working at a sandwich shop and playing piano like a saloon player in the Baptist Church.  She worked for over 30 years at the Post Office in our small town and knew everyone because she was gregarious, smart with names, could count money, and a hard worker.  We played rummy together after school, worked on spelling words, and she taught me about saving money and being there for family.  Friendly, Nurturing and Tough, all rolled into one.

5. If you weren’t [A Commercial Banker] what would you be doing?
I would plan projects and events that help women or children, which would warm my heart too. 🙂

6. Do you have any pets?
Not at this time. We lost our dog about 2 years ago and just can’t face getting a new one.

7. What are you currently reading?
Honestly—the LL Bean catalog—I want everything in there. Also “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown (U of H professor) and The “Art of Tidying Up”.

8. How do you handle stress?
A walk usually. Sometimes I also write with a pen and real paper in cursive all my thoughts around the stress, then make a decision tree.

9. What do you make time for no matter what?
I could say exercise every other day, but……there are days that is not true. However, no matter what, if a family member, friend, or child need help or a talk, I am always there.

10. What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I am a member of The University of Texas Longhorn Alumni Band, because I’ve been a band nerd on the sexy saxophone since 5th grade.

Bonus Question!
11. What “lesson from mom” do you still live by today?
When my mother passed away we found a book in her house titled “How to do Everything Right”, and my sisters and I cracked up laughing–yes that was Mom. This also came from her mother, our grandmother, but in her words it was “If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well” as I raked leaves or washed her car.  I still live by this lesson.

Meet the Member: Lisa Chandler

Welcome to our latest installment in our “Meet the Member” series, where we will feature a WFE member. This month meet our 2017 President, Lisa Chandler!

Read on to learn more about Lisa:

How did you get involved with WFE and how long have you been a member?

Since 2004. Trina Painter introduced me to the group.

What is your favorite thing about WFE?

The many great relationships I’ve made with ladies of the group. WFE has introduced me to many professional women who have been a great support. I learned a lot from several of the women. I enjoy being a resource to the group.

10 Quick Questions:

1. What was your first job?
Sales person at a boutique shop in Houston – El Girasol. It featured Mexican art and trinkets in the Town and Country Mall – which is no longer…

2. What do you like most about your current job?
Relationships with my clients – getting to know my clients and watching them become very successful in their businesses. I enjoy being there for them by providing tax advice to get them through the different transactions and business cycles.

3. What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Treat everyone with the utmost respect

4. Who is your role model?
My paternal grandfather. I admired his values. He was very disciplined, he treated people well, and he worked hard.

5. If you weren’t [A CPA] what would you be doing?
Helicopter pilot – I love the feeling I get when I fly through the air

6. Do you have any pets?
Not currently, but I’ve been mommy to several canines

7. What are you currently reading?
Nothing interesting right now, unfortunately!

8. How do you handle stress?
Long walks, pulling weeds, and bubble baths

9. What do you make time for no matter what?
Time with friends

10. What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I played the oboe in junior high school. Yes, I was a band nerd – but just for a little while!

Bonus Question!
11. What “lesson from mom” do you still live by today?
Keep a clean kitchen

Meet the Member: Jillian Nel

Welcome to our latest installment in our “Meet the Member” series, where we will feature a WFE member. This month meet our newest member, Jillian Nel!

Read on to learn more about Jillian:

How did you get involved in the WFE and how long have you been a member?
Lisa Chandler introduced me to the group – been a member just a few months.

What is your favorite thing about WFE?
Meeting & getting to know fabulous women

10 Quick Questions:

1. What was your first job?
I worked fitting point shoes at Leapin’ Leotards in the village when I was 15. I was a dancer growing up so doing this was an easy fit. Plus, I got discounted leotards & tights!

2. What do you like most about your current job?
The relationship part. Financial Planning is so much more than the technique of money management, it is really about listening, learning about others, empathizing and then making plans & setting goals together for the future. When you set up a plan this way you move beyond trusted advisor to a friend and confidant. When the relationships grow to this level, you aren’t just advising them through the bad times and scary markets – you get to enjoy the triumphs and joys of their lives too.

3. What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Suck it up, honey.

4. If you weren’t a Financial Planner, what would you be doing?
Probably taxes…

5. Do you have any pets?
Yes, a cat & a 200Lb pot belly pig, wanna see a picture?

6. What are you currently reading?
Mitch Albom’s latest, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto

7. How do you handle stress?
Massage Envy & Pinot Noir

8. What do you make time for no matter what?
Massage Envy & Pinot Noir

9. What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
The aforementioned sow, Miss Piggy Sue

10. Who is your role model?
Mom for sure. She is the lady that when everyone meets her, says how lucky I am she’s mine. I adore the effect she has on people and especially the way she makes people feel.

Bonus Question!
11. What “lesson from mom” do you still live by today?
Make good choices, go to church & read the bible. Although its spoken like this:
“Make good choy – sez, go ta chuch, and read ur bye – bull”