Considering your background, what experience did you have before joining the company?
Before Lucasfilm, I worked for a public accounting firm as an auditor and eventually obtained my Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license. That experience was invaluable, not only because I learned a lot, but also because it helped me to identify what I wanted from my career going forward. Because I had public, private and governmental clients, I was exposed to different types of industries and companies out there.
The Entertainment industry was something I was always interested in. In the early 2000s, the options in the San Francisco Bay Area were limited, so I actually started with LucasArts, Lucasfilm’s former games company, in 2002.
What were your first impressions working at LucasArts?
When I came into the office for my first interview, I noticed all the employees coming through the front door acknowledged and warmly greeted the receptionist with genuine smiles. That really gave me this sense of family in the company. I also loved that there was no dress code and people were free to express themselves through their clothing, hairstyles and accessories. Sometimes people wore pajamas and someone once even came in a wetsuit!
Everyone had different backgrounds and styles. I loved how diverse it was and I was happy I wasn’t in a stereotypical finance setting with people in suits talking about numbers all day. Instead I could walk into the kitchen and interact with game testers, artists, and engineers who I may not have the chance to be around if I had taken a different path.
I really came to love Lucasfilm for all those reasons.
In what role did you first start in, and how did your position evolve?
I started out as the International Accountant. I was responsible for processing and analyzing all the publishing statements from our international distribution partners, like Ubisoft or Activision. I then moved into a royalties supervisory role where we consolidated project financials based on individual contracts for royalty participants. Later I moved into Financial Planning and then moved on to be the Accounting Manager. This all took place while I was at LucasArts.
The difference between financial planning and accounting may not be very clear for those outside of finance, but I felt very fortunate to be at a company like LucasArts and Lucasfilm where I had the chance to move between both the financial planning and accounting worlds. When I transferred to Lucasfilm, I ended up doing both, which is what I still do today. Many other companies separate the two functions. I feel lucky to straddle both words and exercise different parts of my brain. I truly feel like we have a well-rounded team because everyone on our team practices both their accounting and analytical skills on a daily basis.
So you’d say that’s something more specific to Lucasfilm?
Of course, we’re not the only company that does this, but at Lucasfilm everyone wears multiple hats. To some people it can feel chaotic, but I really like that our workday isn’t repetitive and we are constantly being challenged to learn something new. In many larger organizations, responsibilities are carved into very specific lanes. In our group, we are fortunate in that we have some non-traditional finance responsibilities to break up our day. For example, we participate in supporting worldwide facilities needs and management of our different campus spaces. We participate in conversations about company events and snacks in between discussions about production and marketing programs. It’s like having a front row seat to all the activity.