Jenna Wollmuth, Senior Accountant, Butler Machinery Company

Written by: Brady Drake

Tell us about yourself.

I grew up in small-town Washburn, ND where I met my amazing husband. I graduated from UND in 2012 with my Bachelor of Accountancy and Bachelor of Business Administration degrees. I dabbled in public accounting but found my true love of accounting at Butler Machinery Company. I have spent the last 10 years growing my knowledge of the industry, accounting and leadership in the accounting department. After work, I enjoy spending time with my husband Paul, kids Noah (six) and Natalie (four) and labrador retriever Riley. We spend our summers hitting the road with our camper making adventures along the way. I jump at the chance to take a break from electronics by soaking up the sun, swimming in a lake, playing at the park or traveling to new places.

After graduating from the University of North Dakota in 2012, I began working for Brady Martz in Grand Forks where I gained experience working in audit and tax. In June 2013, the opportunity to join the team at Butler Machinery Company popped up. I have spent the last 10 years learning about the industry, applying my knowledge of accounting practices and expanding my leadership skills in the accounting department. I enjoy coming to work every day with a fantastic team at Butler.

What is important to you about the work that you do?

Working in the accounting department allows me to interact daily with employees throughout our 20 locations. Most people envision taxes, financial statements and budgets when they think about accounting, but I spend my days utilizing my knowledge of our ERP systems and accounting principles to problem-solve and create new processes. I know my timely answer or solution has a direct effect on a customer at the store level. Butler Machinery works with a wide variety of industries including construction, agriculture and mining. One day our team helps a farmer get a combine in the field back up and running to beat the snow and the next day our team delivers new machinery that is used to build the diversion. Knowing even the smallest details can have a huge ripple effect throughout the communities we serve makes me proud to come to work every day with our Butler team.

What drives you?

Knowing things are done right and learning to do new things are very motivating for me. As an accountant, I strive to ensure financial statements are accurate and follow accounting principles and never compromise on ethics or integrity. I also enjoy being challenged by learning new things. If I had to do the same things over and over again every day, I would be incredibly bored. The more I can learn the more I feel I can contribute to the accounting department and company.

What are some important lessons you have learned in your lifetime?

Growing up watching Disney princess movies, I dreamed about meeting my prince and living happily ever after in a castle. My mother told me over and over my dreams will come true someday. The naive child in me always thought this meant growing up to be that princess I dreamed of. Fast-forward a few years, I entered college and quickly realized life wasn’t easy. I started thinking that what I had envisioned as a life for myself was unattainable. My mother was right there to keep reminding me to dream big, which at the hardest times in my life was hard to hear when I couldn’t see the whole picture. It wasn’t until recently that I finally understood what my mother was really teaching me. She taught me to set goals even if I thought they were unreachable and work hard every day to know life isn’t made up of one end goal, but the adventure along the way. Even if I don’t become a princess in a castle someday, I am proud and thankful for every opportunity and experience along the way.

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

I enjoy spending time with my family outside in the summer in our community. I tend to hibernate indoors during the winter so when the snow finally melts, I jump at the chance to get outside. I love that you don’t have to walk or drive more than a few blocks in Fargo to find a park to play at. The best way to start off a Saturday is soaking up sunshine while watching my kids run around at the playground. I also enjoy walking along the river in Lindenwood park with the dog and watching the wildlife. In today’s world, we spend a large majority of time in front of computers, tablets and TVs with our fast-paced lives. I jump at any chance to turn off electronics and start an adventure with my family. Seeing the world through my children’s eyes reminds me to slow down and enjoy the small things.

Do you have any book or podcast recommendations for our readers?

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. This book focuses on looking inward to see why your team has failed or succeeded. When leaders are honest, humble and truthful, they begin to lead by example and not by authority. There is nothing worse than a leader that points fingers and never admits their own faults. By approaching every day at work with the mentality of what can I do better and how can I help my team, I help to create a place where employees want to work and encourage the growth of others.

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

Knowing I can help to influence and grow people around me has accelerated my desire to lead. Leadership comes in many different forms, and I don’t need to have a management title to lead. With this program, I will have opportunities to learn from other leaders within my community and cultivate multiple skills. The women in this program all have unique backgrounds, careers and experiences to bring to the table. I’m hoping to gain knowledge, leadership tools and a network of businesswomen in our community. Individually we are good at what we do but together we can be great.

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

With social media, email and messaging options, we forget the powerful effect face-to-face interactions can be. As a business community, we need to learn how to get involved and work together to benefit our community. Friendly competition can be used to our benefit and not a barrier. We can see members of our community as assets by sharing our ideas, experiences and knowledge. We all bring unique perspectives to the table and can be valuable when we need encouragement, support and comradery.

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