Monday, May 20, 2013

Lisa Kentzell - Brief Overview of my Career

People continue to ask about my career and what I did before I arrived at TWiT.  Here's a brief overview of my background:

My career started at age 11 with babysitting and a paper route, which I refused to give up, until I  acquired what I thought was a real job at age 16 at a fast food restaurant.  I lasted for almost a year when I couldn't wait to get out of the industry and took several small jobs by working at a bakery, restaurant, and bank.

Then I stumbled upon my very first real job at a small insurance office that made an impression on me.  I started out as an Office Assistant and during my first year I was promoted to Office Manager.  At age 19 I was provided with a platform to learn, build, and work on a team to help grow a small company.  I was also attending college full-time and cleaning two houses on the side.  Most of my friends didn't understand why I cleaned houses until they learned it paid $100 a week in cash and the $400 I made each month paid my rent.  My work ethic excelled as I increased my business knowledge and accounting/finance expertise while supporting myself and going to school full-time.  I was with this small insurance office for three years which allowed me to graduate from our local junior college with high honors and take the next step.

At age 21 I reached out to bigger jobs and worked as an Assistant Controller for a marketing company, Accounting Manager for a manufacturing company, a Controller for a wine distributor, and several temporary jobs until I turned 26 when I found a position with a business developer.

This company was my second real job because I stayed for ten years and started out as the Accounting Manager overseeing A/P and A/R while performing all the work and oversight in G/L for three projects.  This grew to twenty in three years and each project had multiple buildings and tenants attached to them.  I then advanced to the Financial Analyst position and started underwriting projects and executing acquisitions and dispositions of land and projects.  I was also setting up the entities to purchase new projects and had a hand in setting up the convoluted equity structures that accompanied them.  Our equity structures were complex and  projects had their own set of investors and different layers of distributions.  In three years I was promoted to Corporate Controller and inherited all of the challenges of overseeing close to sixty projects with convoluted equity structures with commercial, apartment, retail, mixed-use, and hospitality projects with multiple buildings in each project spreading throughout California and Nevada.  This was my continued education.  I had a hand in taking a company from ten employees to over a hundred while working in or with every aspect of the business.  I gained more experience here than I did in college and this set my foundation and sealed my integrity.  In addition, I accomplished my own long-term goal that I set in business at age 18, which was to reach the position of Corporate Controller at a small to medium sized business by age 35.  I reached my goal at age 33.

At age 33 I decided it was time to test my expertise and knowledge and established my own consulting business by securing two small clients with 50 billable hours per month.  I had a taste of being an entrepreneur and decided it was time to quit my job as Corporate Controller and work full-time for myself.  Therefore I established a new long-term goal which was two-fold.  I was either going to grow my own business and have a staff of ten working for me by age 45 or I was going to find the next company that I would partner with for five to ten years.  Oh what a ride this was!  Because I quit my job on excellent terms with my former company, I secured contract work with them and I took every consulting job I could find within a 30 mile radius.  The jobs ranged from bookkeeping clean up to establishing books for new companies, from assessing accounting processes to recommending changes and implementing them, from hiring teams to evaluating operating costs, from establishing goals to growing small companies.  I started to hire employees within the first year because I grew too fast.  At the peak of my consulting career I maintained the CFO title at three companies, oversaw twenty different entities in all different industries, and I had three bookkeepers working for me.  I was selective in choosing the work that I performed at my company and then I was introduced to TWiT.

At age 39 I walked into the TWiT cottage and met Leo Laporte and his small team.  TWiT grabbed me as I was intrigued the moment I was introduced to the industry.  After consulting with Leo for a year he told me he wanted to hire a Business Manager and then he painted his vision of growing TWiT to be the next CNN of Tech.  I found the business that I wanted to partner with and decided to join TWiT full-time.  It took about a year to wind down my consulting business, as I had to properly train and transition duties to other people, and was hired at TWiT as the CFO.  Shortly thereafter my role evolved into the CEO role and I am still at TWiT today.