Director of Surety Operations at Rosenberg & Parker in Wayne, PA, Elizabeth Cervini was recently recognized as one of CFMA's 40 Under 40. She took time out of her busy day to answer our questions so we can get to know her better. Check it out!
Q: What is your favorite thing in your office?
A: My favorite thing in my office is the camaraderie. I manage a team of truly awesome surety analysts and work directly with just about every department, from marketing, to accounting, and, of course, the producers and principles of Rosenberg & Parker. It’s a cohesive group, up and down, side to side.
Q: Do you have any regrets?
A: Regrets get in the way of a happy life, so I try my best to live without them. Though I did lease a BMW once. No offense to any of the BMW fans out there, but I’m much happier with my Jeep.
Q: What are you reading right now?
A: Right now I’m reading “Women Don’t Ask.” Rosenberg & Parker has a Diversity & Inclusion Committee that I am proud to be part of, and “Women Don’t Ask” is this month’s book that we’ll discuss as a group at our next meeting.
Q: What energizes you at work?
A: I am energized at work when I’m learning new things. In surety, we touch a vast array of industries and view dozens upon dozens of financial statements, from publicly traded 10K statements, to a mom and pop’s Quickbooks printout. In 2020 (and beyond!), our lives were inundated with new programs and procedures that impacted financials, and I found it all fascinating. We were able to dig into details of bankruptcies, credit ratings, acquisitions, divestitures, government loans, strategies for payroll allocation – it was never ending! I teach continuing education classes to our team here and I may be a bit of a nerd – as exhibited by how my audience laughed as I lit up talking about financial analysis – sharing what we learn is rewarding and makes us stronger.
Q: What have you learned about being a leader?
A: I have learned about being a leader that having a title means nothing, earning respect is imperative. Also, being a leader doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help – no one knows everything, nor can any one person do it all solo.
Q: What do you do to unwind from work?
A: Where I find zen is with horses. They’re how I unwind from work. Every morning, I’m at the barn around 6:00 a.m. I take care of 17 horses before I get into work (my friend runs a farm and I help out as much as I can). I own one horse, Quinn, and I ride most mornings. I also found an affinity – as apparently many did during quarantine – for the Peleton. Also, weekends are for naps.
Q: What is one thing you have to have with you in meetings?
A: One thing I have to have with me in meetings is back up pens! I ran out of ink one meeting early in my career and my client loaned me one as he joked, “Rookie mistake” with a smile. Still haunts me a little. (This was before iPads were a thing – but batteries die too!)
Q: Are you married?
A: I am not married – but I will be soon! My fiancé and I are in the midst of planning.
Q: Describe yourself in three words.
A: In three words I would describe myself as upbeat, dedicated, evolving.
Q: What was your first job?
A: My first job was at a therapeutic equestrian facility, Thorncroft, when I was 12. Caring for horses ingrained a work ethic in me pretty early; horses need care regardless of rain or snow, holiday or weekend. Even when my parents couldn’t take me, I used the Yellow Pages and called a cab (seriously, pre-Google, and yes I really am under 40). Frankly, I learned a ton there. The range is uncanny: how to muck a stall, how to clean puncture wounds, how to use a wheelchair lift to help a disabled rider mount his horse, how to stop a 1000 lb. animal who got loose, the list goes on...