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A Discussion with Beth Zastawny On Staying Inspired and Motivated in these Dark Times

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Beth Zastawny

Currently residing in Ludlow, Massachusetts, Beth Zastawny is a CFO in the manufacturing sector and a philanthropist.

Born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts, Beth Zastawny began playing sports at age 11. This taught her not only about the importance of hard work and dedication, but about the importance of working in a team. After graduating from high school with honors, she attended Nichols College. She graduated in 1987 with a degree in Accounting and achieved academic Deans List honors and Athletic recognitions. In 2012, she was inducted into the Grafton High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

Beth Zastawny was offered a job immediately after graduating from college at one of the “Big 8” accounting firms, Coopers & Lybrand, which is now known as Price Waterhouse Coopers. She later earned her CPA designation. She spent 14 years working in public accounting, working with clients in different industries, including manufacturing, retail, banking, healthcare, and nonprofit. Through this, she realized her passion was to work with privately-owned, small to medium size businesses in the manufacturing space. She has now worked as a CFO for privately held manufacturing companies for over 15 years. Through her work, she has implemented accounting systems, established human resource systems, started health and safety programs, and implemented cost systems that have resulted in millions of dollars in savings. She has also raised capital through commercial and bond-financing offerings and has been involved in the expansion of operations into countries such as Mexico and China.

As a philanthropist, Beth Zastawny has volunteered both time and money to various causes she believes in. She has volunteered with nonprofit organizations including Junior Achievement, Big Sisters and Big Brothers, and Springfield School Volunteers. Because she herself had a difficult upbringing, it is important to Beth to give back to children in the community and give them hope. She also donates to various nonprofit organizations that are aiding the fight against Multiple Sclerosis.

 

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

No two days are alike for me given the diversity of functions and responsibilities across all departments within the organization. To stay productive, I need to stay focused and on-task prioritizing my tasks to serve the best interest of the organization. Most days I am the first in and last to leave.

 

How do you bring ideas to life?

As I think through an idea, I begin to feel what it would be like if this idea became a reality and vision of how this idea could impact my life or the life of someone else.

 

What’s one trend that excites you?

The continued breakthroughs in MS treatments and new therapies around treating and managing Multiple Sclerosis due to new technology and research.

 

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Prioritizing my tasks so that I can produce the most value and results for the organization and myself.

 

What advice would you give your younger self?

Appreciate the people in your life as their tomorrow is not guaranteed, and life is a series of meetings and departing’s.

 

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do that you recommend everyone do?

Your employees are the key to your success. Make sure to take time out of your busy day to show your appreciation towards your employees. A “thank-you” goes along way to making an employee feel appreciated and part of an organization’s success.

 

What is ow your business? Please explain how.

“Cash is king” whether you are a start-up or growing business is an important strategy for a CFO. As CFO, I maintain a cash flow projection and it is aligned with corporate strategy. I am always looking for ways to improve on collecting receivables and managing payables. Cash reserves allow a business the opportunity to invest in new equipment, launch new products or reduce debt to save on interest costs.

 

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

I use Microsoft Planner to assign – organize and manage project tasks.  I have the capability to attach files, maintain meeting notes, checklists and setup deadlines. All members of a team project have access to this information.

 

What is your favorite quote?

“You don’t know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice”

This quote is from Bob Marley, and it touches me because many people do not know how strong they really are. Anytime I face some adversity, I can always assure myself that I can get through it and it will make me a stronger person. These experiences can be extremely beneficial to me and there’s always positives that I can take away.

 

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