Marsha M Evans

Member Spotlight

Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.

I run an accounting firm providing outsourced and fractional accounting to small/mid-sized businesses. In my career I've helped a number of companies start up and get profitable, many of them boutique executive search firms. I wanted to do something on my own while engaging in conscious capitalism so I set up Prana Partners and brought on a great team of experienced and well educated multi-industry accounting people. Currently we are focused on getting our Cannabis Accounting Practice off the ground and bringing on more Health and Wellness Industry and small manufacturing company clients.

How would you define your professional mission?

Conscious Capitalism: My goal via Prana Partners is having our CFOs and controllers partner with businesses to help guide them in their operations and decision making. The team I've chosen is focused on sustainability, employee empowerment, and wealth equity. These ideals are met through vendor choices, bringing employees (at all levels) into company conversations, managing books in ways that allow for job security, planning for pay increases and providing bonus opportunities.

What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?

Strong ethics that overrule requests for accounting that aren't above board and following GAAP rules is key. A love of the work and the vision to see that working someone's books is much, much more than data entry. Continual learning - not just of what's going on in accounting but of what's going on in the world. It all connects. It all helps you understand how people think and what drives them.

What are some career challenges on your radar?

I'm not a big fan of business development. I would prefer to sit in my office and have clients magically come to me. My challenge is to keep meeting people, keep talking to people, and to make sure that I have quiet time when I need it.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

It's mine and I get to create it. Sometimes I feel like the conductor and my team the symphony. Sometimes I feel like the lyricist and my team the choir. And sometimes I get to be the audience and my team the play.

What legacy do you hope to leave through your work?

I hope, through Prana Partners, that I'm able to leave a legacy of kindness, generosity of spirit, and calm. I want to be a drop in the bucket that helps open the consciousness of business. I want us to have been a player in defining the role a business plays in society.

What is your morning ritual?

I work with an executive coach, Heather Picken, who asked me to write a flexible mission statement surrounding who I am, what I do, how I make it happen. First thing every morning: I feed the cats, feed the dog, turn on the computer and read this statement. Then I go outside and just stand for a while. It brings the calm.

What would you say your personal superpower is?

Tenacity.

Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?

I work hard to keep this balance but, in start-up mode it's hard. So many calls to make, so much to do. I'm an introvert, an INFJ. If I don't make time for balance I begin to melt down. I have two tactics I use to assist - the first is putting my exercise on my business calendar in order to make a point of not scheduling over that time. It took a while, but I don't step on those appointments anymore. The second is what I call "No-People Time." This time to me is precious. My no-fail tactic for no-people time is this - being direct with people. Saying no firmly and offering alternatives. As women we try to make everything nice, to adjust for others to our own detriment. When we don't set our own boundaries around our time and feel guilty for saying no, we lose ourselves.

What is the best career advice you ever received?

My father once told me, "Learning is a lifetime experience. The older you get, the more you see you don't know." He said, "In my 20's I thought I knew everything. In my 40's I realized I know nothing." This advice continually opens my mind.

Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?

Starting my own business has been very different than working to get others going. Among other things, you lose a layer of objectivity. You can also find owning a business to be a lonely place to be. I joined Ellevate Network to socialize with other women making their mark on the world. I'm energized by talking to the diverse group of women at the events and I always walk away with new and helpful information. My favorite event was the event with Jen Mueller who works with the Seahawks. Her discussion of the basics of networking, and what we are all looking for when we network (it's engaging, not selling...and everyone is nervous!), opened me up to engaging others in conversation. I'm better at my job for it!

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