Amanda Smith - Highlight
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
I am a Senior Treasury Manager at Essendant, which is a wholesaler of workplace essentials, including items like office, janitorial / sanitation, industrial, and automotive supplies. Our headquarters are in Deerfield, Illinois. Annual revenues are ~$5B, thought secular decline in office supplies continues to put pressure on the company. In January of this year, we were acquired by a private equity firm and one of our main competitors, Staples, became our “sister” company.
Essendant’s Treasury department includes credit and collections, so we have a total of about 65 employees in the department. The “core” treasury function includes 6 employees. My areas of responsibility include debt compliance, merchant processing, corporate credit card program administration, bank administration, and some pension duties.
Getting to Know You
I have a bachelor’s and master’s degree in accounting from Northern Illinois University. Most of my professional career has been as an auditor. I started in external audit and moved to internal audit after about 18 months. I earned my Certified Professional Accountant in 2008, followed quickly by my Certified Internal Auditor credential in 2009. I’ve worked in all kinds of industries as both a professional service provider and in industry. Pharmaceutical companies, wholesalers, retailers, and manufacturers as well as hedge funds and insurance companies comprise my client base.
I joined the Essendant internal audit team in 2015. About 18 months into this role, in late 2016, the company was refinancing its debt, moving from a cashflow-based revolver to an asset-based loan. The Treasurer at that time needed someone to project manage the due diligence, which was essentially a specialized type of audit. I was asked to fill that project manager role and my love for Treasury was born.
When the project successfully concluded, they needed someone to build the new debt compliance process and I was offered a permanent role with the team. In 2017, I earned my Certified Treasury Professional certification to get a firm grounding in this new field.
I grew up in Downers Grove and then moved around quite a bit before settling back in to the Chicago area. My son, husband, and I now live in Mundelein. Our immediate families are close by and our extended families are east. Mine are mostly in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and my husband’s are mostly in North Carolina.
Down Time / Fun Facts
I love being outside. Camping, swimming, hiking, biking, running, picnicking – any excuse to be outdoors. My husband and I usually go camping several times throughout the year (yes, even winter), though my son has lost his love for it and no longer joins us. I just bought a kayak to add to my summertime outdoor activities and am excited for its maiden voyage when it gets warmer. We are also frequent concert goers, particularly in the summer when we can attend them at outdoor venues like Ravinia and Northerly Island.
Last year, I felt like my workouts needed a boost so I joined a roller derby league in Chicago, the Windy City Rollers. They are currently ranked #27 out of almost 500 leagues in the world. I started with their “basic training” program, learning things like the proper ways to skate, stop, and turn as well as some contact skills. These are a sample of the minimum skills required by the Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby Association before a skater is allowed to play the sport in a chartered league, like WCR. Just this last weekend I passed the minimum skills and am now ready to get out on the track and play the game.
Back to Business / Joining TMAC
My first exposure to TMAC, like many, was the Windy City Summit in 2017. In my new role, the Treasurer thought that would be a great introduction to our local professional community and recommended I attend. The programming for that event is consistently outstanding and I really enjoyed the social aspect of it as well. Being so new to the profession, I really appreciate the education and networking offered.
I came to a meeting a few months back as a guest and joined as a new member shortly after that. Everyone has been welcoming and I’m enjoying being part of this group.