Merchant & Gould is pleased to announce that Tracey R. Skjeveland, the firm’s Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer, has been selected by Finance & Commerce as a “Top Women in Finance” 2016 honoree.
Each fall, Finance & Commerce recognizes accomplished women in the finance industry who are making an impact in their professions and, most importantly, in their Minnesota communities. Honorees are chosen based on leadership and mentoring efforts, significant career accomplishments and community involvement. The 2016 class of honorees includes chief executive officers, chief financial officers and other high-ranking executives, as well as entrepreneurs, attorneys, CPAs and financial advisers.
Throughout her 17-year career at Merchant & Gould, Tracey has demonstrated effective, sound leadership and has been a mentor to many of the accounting specialists under her supervision. Tracey refers to the concept of this guidance as “coaching” instead of mentoring—partly because of her affinity for sports—and tries to be available for her staff.
Mary Eiden, Merchant & Gould’s Director of Finance, said “It doesn’t matter what time of day it is or how busy she is, Tracey will always stop and answer your question, and she will always share her wisdom.”
Tracey has spearheaded some successful initiatives to open inter-department communication channels at the firm, encouraged collaboration between groups, and implemented ongoing process improvements across departments. With all of her accomplishments, she keeps a humble attitude about her leadership abilities.
“It’s not about me, though,” Tracey explained. “It’s the people around me. A good manager acknowledges the people who make successes happen. We achieve our goals through a full-team effort; we rise and fall together.”
One of Tracey’s most significant accomplishments at Merchant & Gould has simply been the journey from where she started to where she is today. She was first hired as an entry-level financial analyst in 1999. She was quickly promoted to financial analyst manager, then to director of finance. In 2006, she was nominated to CFO, and most recently to COO/CFO in 2014.
“I started as a staff accountant and was given opportunities along the way. People trusted me and saw that I didn’t have a personal agenda – just the best interest of the firm,” Tracey said.
Some of Tracey’s other accomplishments at Merchant & Gould include updating various systems and infrastructure across the firm, effectively managing conflicting priorities between the firm’s stakeholders, assuming the role of trusted financial advisor, and relocating four offices in the past five years. She also has recently begun to see how her role can support the firm’s business development efforts now that many of her personal contacts have risen to similar positions in their companies.
“There are a lot of ways that I can make a difference here,” said Tracey. “I just need to be patient.”
Tracey’s influence extends past the corridors of Merchant & Gould. In the greater Twin Cities metro, she is involved in the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA), Minnesota Chapter, serving as both the Chair of the Certified Legal Manager (CLM) study group and the Chair of the Large Firm Administration committee. She also sits on the Finance Committee for the Children’s Law Center of Minnesota. Outside of her financial vocation, Tracey also gives back to her community with her family and friends by volunteering with local organizations.
“We are so proud of Tracey and her many contributions to the success of our firm—and many organizations in the Twin Cities community,” said Brian Batzli, CEO and Managing Director of Merchant & Gould. “We are lucky to have her on our leadership team, and we congratulate her and the other honorees on this well-deserved recognition.”
Read the press release from Finance & Commerce.
View Tracey's interview with Finance & Commerce.