Jodi Stevens, CPA

The day I walked out of corporate America to start my own business, my boss thought I was crazy. But I knew that I was ready to work for myself. I grew up watching my parents run a successful real estate business, and entrepreneurship always seemed like the dream of “someday.”

Like many people who come to entrepreneurship, my path wasn’t linear, but every single experience along the path—from property management to managing million dollar sales accounts—was preparing me for it. After graduating Xavier University with a B.S. in Business Administration, I first worked for a large local CPA firm, and then managed a large staff for a life insurance company. I soon became Controller for a small investment company, and got my CPA in the process.

Seeking the corporate experience, I moved into accounting for a large privately held tool manufacturer, and eventually transitioned into sales and business development. I got a chance to do a little bit of everything, including managing national sales accounts for the three largest home improvement retailers in North America. Even though I loved this company, after 10 years there, things began to change because of the downturn in the housing industry. It bothered me that valuable and loyal employees with 20 plus years of service were losing their jobs. It did not matter how much they had sacrificed over the years; the new management had moved in and they were on a mission. What they were doing made sense on paper, but the human element was missing. Not only did I watch this evolve, I also had to lay off four of my own loyal employees. Not only that, the extensive travel was killing my family life. At that moment, I vowed to be in charge of my own destiny, and although it was not an easy decision, I decided to leave my national sales position.

In search of stability and a good environment, I accepted a sales and financial analysis position with a publicly traded pharmaceutical company. My only customer was a large national grocery store chain. The travel was minimal, but I had zero variety in responsibility. I had an assigned job and that was it. Although I was making a very good living, I wasn’t challenged. It was like I was put on an island and told to stay put and wait until I was picked for the next level of my career. It became very clear to me that I could not let my destiny be decided by the whims of the corporation I worked. I had to create my own opportunity.

My husband, John Stevens, had started his independent brokerage company Stevens Investment Group, Inc., in 2006. With his wealth advisement business moving forward fast, I left the stability and sensibility of my good corporate job in 2008. The first company I started was Stevens & Associates, LLC, which focuses on taxes and business advising. In 2009, I earned my insurance certificate, and started a partner company, Stevens Insurance Agency. I have Dave Ramsey ELP endorsements for both of my companies.

My husband and I are lucky enough to work together under one roof (literally), guiding individuals and small businesses through all aspects of money management, wealth planning, and business growth. I help people understand money, but really, I’m in the business of educating and empowering people. I love watching my small business clients move through the same motions I did, from, “Am I crazy?” to “I think this will work,” to finally, “I am in control of my destiny, and it’s better than I ever thought!”

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