After landing a co-op position at Kellogg Company as a student just over 22 years ago, alumna Stacie James ‘98 worked her way up earning the position of Plant Finance Controller. Stacie has balanced the books, managed international finance relationships and now manages the finances for one of the largest cereal plants in “Cereal City USA.” Learn more about Stacie and how she grew into the position of controller below.
Tell us about yourself, Stacie.
I was born and raised in a small town in southwest Michigan called Union City. After high school, I attended Davenport College in Battle Creek. In my sophomore year at Davenport, the Dean, at the time, was teaching my accounting class. He approached my friend, Karen and I, to see if we were interested in a co-op position at Kellogg. While Karen took the job, I was hesitant given I was only in my second year of schooling, therefore I declined. It was three months later when she reached out to me, stating there was another opening. Given her experience and satisfaction with the job, I just couldn’t let the opportunity pass by again. That is where it all started. I took the student co-op position which lasted just over two years, then I got hired for full time during the latter part of my junior year. I have worked at Kellogg for more than 22 years in multiple roles and now I am a Plant Finance Controller.
Why did you pick DU?
My parents encouraged me to go to college. I was a numbers person and was good at math, so I decided to try accounting. I got good grades and enjoyed it. Davenport’s staff was very friendly and I enjoyed the small classes.
You have been at Kellogg for over 22 years, can you tell us about how you have grown there – your promotions and jobs?
I started with simple work like balancing accounts and journal entries. A couple years later I was hired as an Account Reconciliation Assistant. After that, I was able to explore a few different roles. I was put in the Corporate Controller’s Group as a Staff Accountant. In this role, I had an attention-grabbing job – I prepared board books and executive summary books for the executive staff. I learned very quickly that formatting was very important – decimals, number of zeros, spacing, font. Next, I was promoted to Senior Financial Analyst for financial reporting. In this role, I was able to experience interactions with the international locations because I managed and administered the database to collect their financials. I made friends with people in Europe, Latin America and Asia. I learned how to listen very carefully to all the diverse accents for understanding and to make conversions with the different currencies. Next, I was promoted to Associate Manager of Corporate Financial Planning. Then, it was on to multiple Global Supply Chain Finance roles, where I’ve provided support for more than 10 years, focusing on the cost of goods sold, capital spending, overhead and management of the Operations P&L. All of my roles have prepared me for my position today.
In a nutshell, what do you do now?
Currently, I am the Plant Finance Controller. I serve as a member of the Senior Leadership Team, in addition to overseeing a high functioning finance group driven towards customer service in support of our operation’s team. Continuous improvement and price efficiency is always top priority.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about honesty. I also believe you should always do your best and always look for ways to improve.
What do you do when you are not working?
I enjoy watching Tiger baseball, bowling, fishing and taking my 14 year old daughter, Payton, to the movies.