Sheila Briesch is the controller for the City of Edmond, Oklahoma, and has been a mentor to two women this year–both of whom we’ll hear from below. Sheila also serves as a member of the WPFN Mentorship Committee. As this was Sheila’s first year as a WPFN mentor, she was excited to get involved.
“I wanted to share my knowledge and experiences,” expressed Sheila. “My favorite part of being a mentor is watching my mentees get excited about ideas, paths, and directions they can take to fulfill their goals in their jobs and lives.”
Sheila plans to continue as a mentor in future years with WPFN, and wants other women in public finance to share their experiences and expertise with future leaders.
“I wish I had a mentor as I went through my early career in governmental accounting. I would have received direction from someone who had gone before me, and could help guide my path.”
Aimee Ferguson is the budget director for Celina, Texas. After her first year as a mentee, Aimee was able to share her experiences with Sheila and learn from her.
“I can examine different ideas and methods with my mentor…we share approaches to similar problems but in different environments. She has been able to give me insight as well as ask me hard questions, which have made me look internally at where I want to be in my future career path.”
After Aimee’s experience this year, she’d recommend mentorship to other women in the field– especially to get open, honest feedback from a third party.
Aimee shared, “I think that when you work directly for someone it is more difficult to add a mentorship component to an employment relationship. Through the mentorship program, there is no judgment, no risk of reprisal, and you can learn a lot from someone in your field.”
Daisy Torres serves as the financial services division director for the Harris County Public Library. While Daisy has been involved in WPFN prior to this year, she couldn’t pass up the opportunity this past year to join the Mentorship Program.
“I really enjoy meeting with my mentor. She’s full of positivity, encouragement, and great advice. I can tell she has a true passion for encouraging women to pursue careers in public finance,” Daisy shared. “As women, we have so many shared experiences in the workplace and dealing with work/life balance. It’s great to talk to someone who can relate.”
As Daisy thought about pursuing the CPFO certification, mentorship gave her the extra push.
“I didn’t really have a start date to study for the program–it was one of those things I was planning to do “one day.” As soon as I shared this with my mentor, she encouraged me to sign up right away–and I did!”
Erika Coombs is a senior vice president with Piper Sandler, and also serves as a co-chair for the WPFN Mentorship Committee. As a long-time mentor, Erika’s work with mentors and mentees is her favorite way of “filling her cup.”
“The Mentorship Committee is at the soul of WPFN’s mission. We all have highs, lows, and aha moments in our careers. The mentorship experience is flexible and is an avenue to explore and be curious with other like-minded women. It’s a support system to assist you in achieving your goals, listening to you, and providing perspective.”