Christi Wilson Mankarios is a tax planning expert with a wealth of knowledge. Wilson Mankarios has worked in the development and accounting divisions of high-growth enterprises such as Venture Specialists and Dynamic National Tax Centers. Her business acumen is complemented by a thorough understanding of financial markets and analytical accounting. She has experience managing the accounts of corporations, non-profits, and family businesses, as well as tax planning and bookkeeping.
Christi Wilson Mankarios worked as a consultant for Reliant Retail Distributors, where she advised the company on process improvement projects that helped it streamline its expansion and eliminate time-consuming or redundant activities while preserving operational excellence and profit targets. Wilson Mankarios used her analytical accounting talents to develop corporate planning, budgeting, and forecasting models. She possesses a natural ability to develop camaraderie among all levels of management while maintaining focus on high-level performance and bottom-line results.
Wilson Mankarios started her own firm after working as a Senior Accountant at Shrempf and Cutler. During her time in this position, she obtained valuable knowledge in financial analysis, financial statement generation, and private company accounting. Over the course of her career in strategic consulting and accounting, Wilson Mankarios has worked with a variety of firms, including KPI Ltd., Accounting Capital, 36 & Union, and others.
Christi Wilson Mankarios has spoken about how metrics can be used to measure business effectiveness and monitor performance at a number of local schools and universities. She is an accomplished public speaker who speaks on a variety of topics, including budgeting, risk analysis, and forecasting models. She also covers a wide range of financial, tax, and accounting topics.
Wilson Mankarios enjoys spending time outside, working out, and traveling. She is widely read but enjoys business biographies in particular. She spends her free time volunteering at local schools and helping with charitable activities to give back to the community.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I think there are a few things. One of the main things that has helped me has been to stay humble, as well as being grateful for the success that I have seen and for the help that I have received along the way. Sometimes we are too quick to look at outside causes for why we have failed and then to look inward for why we have succeeded. I think having a balanced view has helped me to stay grounded, and that, in turn, has allowed me to be successful.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I like to keep an idea journal or notebook to jot down anything that comes to mind so that I don’t lose track of any ideas. From that initial seed, I like to use a variety of exercises and methods—free writing, brainstorming. I’m a big believer in getting a creative group together to hash it out and see what an idea can turn into. I think having input at an early stage opens up a lot more possibilities than waiting until editing time.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Building a strong team. My goal is always to have very bright people around me that complement each other. There’s a saying: “It’s never the wrong time to hire the right person.” It might seem obvious, but developing a diverse and highly skilled team has been, to my mind, the best strategy I have used.
Tell us, how do you deal with fear?
Everyone feels afraid at times. It’s only human. Overcoming obstacles and adversity isn’t about not feeling fear, but about having the courage to keep going. What I’ve found to be most effective is to write down how I see the situation or problem. By putting it into words, I accomplish a few different things. I get a more accurate idea of what needs to be done, what might arise, and also what will probably never happen. From there, I start formulating a plan of action. By the time I have put the problem into words and started working on a plan, those initial fears have disappeared because now I’m fully focused on what I’m about to accomplish.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I find that what makes me the most productive is sticking to a schedule. Much of my day is spent on the phone, analyzing data, sending emails or drafting other documents. It is important for me to stay on track throughout the day and not to let a five-minute conversation turn into an hour-long conversation. I try to be flexible when necessary. Sometimes, there are important or difficult negotiations that might take longer than I want them too, but they are worth it.
What is the most important thing one has to do to be a great leader?
Lead by example, and demonstrate a commitment to self-improvement. It is important to maintain a balance between expecting independence from your employees and showing a willingness to work side by side with them. By working alongside them, though, you can both get a great sense of their strengths and weaknesses and boost morale by building a sense of camaraderie.
What is something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?
The phrase “It is what it is” is meaningless. It is really just a way to try to end a conversation. It means the person has given up on the topic or doesn’t want to explain what they really mean. When trying to negotiate or lead meaningful discussions, though, it is just a barrier thrown up. I never let that phrase be the ending of a topic of conversation.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I try to look at my own performance with the same objectivity that I look at our company’s performance and to do so on a regular basis. Just as a business looks at its financial results with quarterly reports, I like to look back on what I have achieved or not on a quarterly basis. Every three months I set specific goals for myself and then if I haven’t met them I will continue to work on them. I’ve found that having specific metrics to meet has made me more effective.
Tell us, how do you deal with rejection?
No one likes to be rejected. That is for sure. But I remind myself that for those times I’ve been rejected, there are even more times that I’ve been the client’s choice. But it’s also true—nothing ventured, nothing gained. If I had worried about rejection, I would never have succeeded.
What’s a personal self-talk, mantra, affirmation, or self-belief that contributes to your success?
You can only get out what you put in. Whether it is the time to learn something, or the effort to teach someone, or the struggle to overcome adversity, you will see the results if you put in the effort.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t sweat the small stuff. If you are going to run your business effectually you can’t let yourself get derailed by inconsequential matters. That isn’t to say you should not be detail oriented. Worrying about small matters and checking the details of a transaction are two different things. Feel comfortable delegating to your team functions that are time intensive, so you have time to address important transaction details.
What book would you recommend and why?
“The Effective Executive” by Peter Drucker. It is a great book on understanding how to be a good leader in business.
What is your favorite quote?
“Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.”