By Susan Caba
and her husband both grew up rooting for the Cardinals, and both
their sons play baseball. That made her appointment in February
as managing partner of BKD LLP’s St. Louis and Decatur, Ill.,
offices all the more exciting for the family.
from BKD’s Colorado Springs’ office, where she had been the partner
in charge of the not-for-profit and government practice.
Henry was also involved in the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the Colorado
Springs Leadership Institute and the Christian Management Association.
She intends to pursue those interests in her community activities
here, as well.
“I love zoos,
animals and kids,” she says. Henry has joined the United Way Board—BKD
is conducting an advance campaign this year—and the Regional Business
Council, where she is serving on the subcommittees for higher
education and K through 12 schools.
around, doing a lot of visiting, finding out where the needs are,”
she says, adding that she and her family are also visiting churches
to find the best fit. “I have a very strong faith, and I’m making
sure that’s a part of my thinking and everything I do.”
the most efficient or productive time of day for you?
I am not a morning person—if something is important, don’t talk
to me first thing in the morning, because I am not “all there.”
If there is
something important I need to work on, around 4 p.m., that’s the
time I work on it. I try to close the door and limit contacts
and interruptions, when possible.
the most creative aspect of your work?
When we can
pull together really great solutions for our clients, that is
is in audit. Right now, I’m running the office. When I was purely
in audit, the most creative part was how do we make sure the client
is doing what needs to be done. Probably the best example is sitting
(in Colorado, after a new law was adopted governing institutional
funds) and saying, “This could have a very significant impact
on how you manage and invest your funds. You need to be pro-active
now, so that you don’t have a surprise on the other end of the
the recent financial scandals—the Bernie Madoff case, for example—put
the accounting world more in the spotlight?
firms have ended up being more in the spotlight in the last few
years, because of the accounting and business scandals. They have
helped our clients understand a little better what it is that
we do. Clients are really beginning to understand that there can
be a difference in CPA firms.
A common perception
of the audit is that we come in “after” and look at the books.
We need to be pro-active and make sure the client knows the law
and is prepared to comply with it from the beginning of the process.
Accounting rules are changing so much—the changes are just constant.
It’s really important that we are up to date on the changes, and
keep our clients up to date, so that they don’t have any surprises
at the audit end of the process.
or inspires you?
A lot of things.
Things that we’ve just talked about—helping our clients do what
is necessary to maintain their integrity. I like, also, watching
our people grow and helping them get to the next level. When they
have wins, it’s really gratifying. For example, mentoring someone
who has just taken over an industry area and watching him or her
take those things and get excited about it.
your management style evolved?
been very outgoing and very open. I want people to know and understand
what we’re doing and why. I’m also very demanding, and I think
I’ve increased that level of expectation over the years. When
I was younger and the jobs were smaller, it was easier to be less
formal about what the expectations were. Now, when the projects
are bigger and more complex, I find I need to be more formal about
setting out what the expectations are upfront, and making sure
that both sides agree to those expectations.
do anything unusual in the way of time management?
My kids are
both baseball players and there are a lot of evenings during baseball
seasons that I’ll want to be at their games. I’ll pack things
up at the office so that I can go be with the kids and then, after
the games, I’ll sit down at home and work through things. When
you have a family and a job, you make it work.
you use devices and electronics—Blackberries, cell phones, iPods—to
manage work flow? Are they, on balance, more often a tool or a
I fought technology
for a long time—when I left the office, I wanted to be able to
step away. But in today’s world, you have to be able to plug right
back in when you have to. I have a Blackberry and I keep my calendar
on it, I sync it with my office. I check (my e-mail) all the time.
There is just too much going on to wait, you have to make sure
there are no crises.
look at it every half hour, except when I’m in meetings. I shut
it off during meetings and I think that everyone should. When
you are in a meeting, you need to be focused on what is going
on there. Firm wide, we have a policy—if your phone goes off during
a meeting, you have to make a contribution to our foundation.
You have to be present in what you are doing.
the most distracting element of your workday/workweek? How do
you manage it?
it’s probably the fact that we’re planning to move our offices.
There are always two or three e-mails to be answered on the move.
It will be nice to focus on business things, not on picking a
paint color or ordering furniture.
is one thing you would like to do differently in the average workday,
what is it? Why don’t you do it?
I’d like to
find more time to connect with our younger staff on a regular
basis. That’s hard to do. That is one thing I miss out on. I’ve
started having a regular lunch with small groups of people every
other week, six people at a time. I’ve gotten some good information
from those lunches. I hear about their frustrations as well as
their ideas and their thoughts on what is going well.
some of your rules for success?
biggest thing is in the developing and maintaining relationships.
You have to care very deeply about people, about your clients
and what it is you are doing. And you have to care about your
community, too. Make sure you are focusing on developing those