We had the good fortune of connecting with Kathy Still and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kathy, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
As a full-service accounting firm, we offer a “commodity”–expectation being that a good tax return or audit or bookkeeping services will be obtained from us. What makes us successful is that we believe in including everyone in our organization–from the partners to the staff to administration–in brainstorming ideas for our clients and for the firm. Lots of organizations say they are about teamwork but in my experience, few actually live up to the words with their actions. At Still Burton, we literally bring everyone to the conference table and discuss ideas. Everyone’s perspective is important, even freeing to “leadership”. Valuing our people this way naturally leads to our people treating our clients as they deserve, with respect and partnership in reaching their goals. We are not in the accounting business serving people; we are in the authentic partnering business bringing peace to people’s accounting needs and concerns.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My career journey began with 3 years in the accounting department for telecommunications companies. From there I entered the public accounting world, working from the bottom up to partner and now business owner. The challenges (and therefore growth) came as a woman in a “man’s world”. I was part of the change as more and more women became CPAs and the glass ceiling began to be broken. Additionally, I am a mother who raised five kids during this same period while working full-time., not an easy feat. My Christian faith is where my strength and perseverance come from.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My best friend and I would take a history tour of Dallas, starting with downtown at the 6th Floor Museum (related to John F. Kennedy). Next we would join the JFK tour trolley that takes the route his motorcade took on that fateful day of his assassination, with video showing the news footage of the route as we travel it. This tour takes us to the boardinghouse (now a museum) where Oswald went after the shooting and then to the Texas theater where he was apprehended. Other areas of interest we would visit include the Dallas Arboretum, Klyde Warren park, cattle drive statues, Dallas Zoo and Dallas World Aquarium. We would enjoy a meal in the restaurant atop Reunion Tower that revolves with views of the city. Lots of interesting and delicious restaurants to try during the visit. The Bishop Arts area is a fun and eclectic area with plenty of things to do, including just have coffee and people watching.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Three years ago, my partner, Brett Burton, and I were at the precipice of a cliff. We either took the risk to jump into the unknown (demerge our Dallas office from a regional firm) or stay in our current unhealthy but “known” situation with this regional firm. Jim Hodges, our former partner and mentor, helped us make the decision to jump and encouraged us (still does). He also introduced us to an organization, Mazzi Partners (www.mazzipartners.com) who helped take our vision and give it a solid foundation on which to build. We built this foundation together with all our employees and called it our “organization life plan” (it is on our website at www.stillburton.com). We also each created with Mazzi our personal life plans, to remind ourselves who we really are, our authentic selves, and how this integrates in all aspects of our life–from personal to business. Mazzi is in the business of “awakening and transforming” and Still Burton is thriving as a result.