Although we don’t see much weather variation in the changing of seasons in southern California, the coming of spring is a welcome time. Cold, gray and rainy weather turns to warm and clear blue skies. We see the hills turn green and colorful flowers blossom everywhere.
The change of seasons also brings March Madness, the start of baseball, vacation planning, and Mothers’ and Fathers’ Days. High school seniors anticipate the end of the school year while watching their mailboxes looking for college acceptance letters. College seniors are cramming for finals, planning for graduation and hoping for great careers. For students, spring is filled with the anticipation of both optimism and anxiousness.
The seasons of life are similar. Planned changes can bring hope and optimism, while unplanned changes can bring fear and anxiousness. A nice long engagement provides couples enough time to make plans and organize their wedding and life together. Nine months seems about right to prepare for a new baby to come into your home. My wife and I enjoy the year we typically take to plan our vacations, since it helps us study our destinations and get the travel arrangements right and affordable.
As one who enjoys being in control, I like to plan. No matter what the event is, I make checklists, study options and seek opinions of others. The bottom line is, I like predictable results that go according to plan. Yet, my plans and wishes are not always an option.
I do not know about your life, but mine is filled with both big and small surprises. Most good, some not. Some easy, some challenging. But in the end, life continues to move forward whether I like the options or not. And yet, in spite of the ups and downs, when I take the opportunity to look back, my life is remarkably wonderful. As it turns out, many of the best things that have happened in my life, initially looked like a challenge. Difficult. Bad timing. Expensive. Unprepared. Without know-how. Yet, the results ultimately worked out better than I could have anticipated when the event or issue first presented itself.
Sixteen years ago, Jill, our Office Manager and Controller, told me she was moving back home to Louisiana. The season of bearing children changed Jill’s plans and she wanted her kids to grow up with her family. Understood. Jill is bright, knows accounting, and has a unique gift for understanding people. After more than eight years, I had become dependent on her to make our company operate efficiently and keep clients happy. She also become (and still is) a close friend. So I did the smart thing and asked her to hire her replacement.
Jill posted an ad, reviewed resumes and conducted interviews. After a few weeks, while I was on vacation, she called me and told me she had the perfect fit, but we needed to hire her now! Without me meeting her? Yes. Jill told (not asked) me to trust her. I did. The following Monday I was back in the office and met the “new girl”. Her name was Michelle. As usual, Jill was correct.
Fifteen and a half years later, Michelle Gottbrecht has had more impact on our business than any other team member throughout our 38 year history. She is gifted with people. She is smart and witty. She more than cares, she loves us. And she takes care of clients by making them feel special. She mothers the young, and advises her peers. She is a teacher at heart and she cannot stop teaching and developing those in her care. She has enriched the culture of Sackett Financial Group beyond measure.
Over the years she has challenged me, encouraged me, irritated me, and rewarded me. She loves and cares for me and my family, our team members and their families, and our clients and their families. She is one in a million. And I love her, and her family too. This is what makes SFG unique – we really care about one another.
Michelle is now entering a new season called “retirement”. She has earned it. She has a new grandson and another grandchild coming soon. They need her and she needs to be with them. Her career has spanned teaching, office management, executive assistant, event planning, soccer mom, coaches’ wife and grandma. She is vibrant and energetic. Fun and funny. Intellectual and wise. She really is one in a million.
We will move forward with someone new who we do not currently know. Another person will sit in Michelle’s chair and at her desk. They will use her phone and keys to the doors. We will search for the perfect person to join or team, who will get and pass out their new SFG business cards. And although we will find someone with their own unique talents and skills, they will never replace Michelle Gottbrecht.
We will close the office at noon on Friday, April 27th to celebrate Michelle’s career and retirement.
New Team Members
Our firm continues to grow, and with it, the need for talented and smart staff who get our culture of care. I am delighted to introduce some new members of Sackett Financial Group, their capabilities and the beginning of their new season of life.
Shaun Sackett has passed the tests and met the education and experience requirements to attain his Certified Financial Planners designation. As his father, I am very proud. As president of our firm, I am delighted to add more depth and expertise to our team.
Jacquelyn Jaro joined us in December and brings a Masters Degree in Accounting and many years of experience with small businesses and Not-for-Profit Organizations. She is smart, skilled, talented, and cares for clients and their quest to grow and improve.
Jewel Zolman also joined us in December and brings us extensive Controller and QuickBooks expertise. Jewel is a classic “bean counter” – focused, detailed and relentless. Again, she really cares about accuracy and getting her clients’ accounting perfect.
After eight years, Harshal Mahangare was promoted to Director of IT and he has hired Jeff to assist him manage our extensive technology network and our e-Commerce program.
In all of our lives, seasons change. We have no choice but to manage through the unknowns, seek answers to questions, evaluate options and stretch ourselves. In our efforts, we will make mistakes, break a few promises and just plain screw up. When we do, it is a good idea to admit it quickly, humble ourselves, learn from our mistakes and get on to the remedy as fast as possible. Technology changes and we adapt. Ideas change and we adapt – or not. Seasons change and we adapt. It’s what keeps life interesting.
We will continue to monitor economic conditions, stock market behavior, business and tax law changes, and provide clients with the information we believe is relevant to them. And at least annually, I will continue to share a glimpse of life that catches my attention or interest. Remember, our mission is to “provide reliable information for confident decisions”. Contact our office for any of your questions.