35 Under 35: Amber Gillespie, Director of Finance, Pentex Restaurant Group

Written by: Brady Drake

Tell us about yourself. Tell us who you are and what you do.

I grew up in Park River, ND, and moved to Fargo after graduating from UND with a degree in Managerial Finance and Accounting. This is where I found my passion for financial accounting while working at Sterling Management, an advisor to two REITs operating in the Midwest. I have recently taken on the role of Director of Finance for Pentex Restaurant Group where I am in charge of long-term financial health and growth. My family and friends are my whole world, especially Asher, my mini schnauzer! In my spare time, I like to read as many books as I can, explore the world, and watch sports (Go Vikings!).

Who are some people who have been influential in your journey and why? Who inspires you?

I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had wonderful mentors along the way! I would like to mention a few of them here: My mother, who has always supported me no matter what, and taught me the value of hard work. I owe Jill Cederberg and Ingrid Scantlebury for teaching me the value of self-advocacy, having the guts to venture outside of your comfort zone, and having empathy for others. They have also been an amazing source of support because they are constantly willing to listen and encourage my personal and professional goals.

What drives you?

I am motivated by my passion for learning. I find inspiration in the process of delving into new subjects, gaining insights, and leveraging that knowledge to enhance my life. My love of learning influences how I handle obstacles and fosters a strong sense of curiosity and resilience in me.

What do you think can be improved in our business community?

I would like to see the continued push of supporting small businesses. Spotlighting these businesses through events such as the Red River Market connects the community and enables these businesses to thrive.

What are some important life lessons you have learned?

I’ve discovered that errors are opportunities for growth and learning. It’s a fantastic chance to think things through and emerge from a circumstance as a more well-rounded person. My second life lesson is how crucial it is to lead with empathy in order to make others feel appreciated, heard, and understood.

What are some of your favorite things to do in our community?

Going to local concerts, enjoying the various coffee shops, shopping at all the boutiques, and walking my dog around the trails are all things I enjoy about our community.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years, I want to be living a purposeful life doing the things I love! I want to be traveling, giving back to the community, and spending as much time as possible with friends and family.

What are you hoping to gain from the United Way 35 Under 35 Women’s Leadership Program?

I am hoping to learn from other local women about their various industries and perspectives, and ways to be more involved in the community. I hope to gain new friendships, foundational leadership skills, and confidence in my leadership abilities.

What are your passions outside of work?

Whether it’s reading, working out, or taking naps with my dog, I usually manage to make time for one of my passions each day. When time allows, one of my favorite passions is traveling where I love experiencing new cultures and food.

Tell us about 1-2 books, podcasts, or professional development experiences that have changed the way you view leadership.

“Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek. This book emphasizes the importance of prioritizing the well-being and success of each team member, practicing empathy, and having integrity

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.