Outside of Her Comfort Zone: Allison Stein ’12 BSBA (Accounting and Operations Management)
March 28, 2019
Allison Stein ’12 BSBA (Accounting and Operations Management)
For as long as she can remember, Allison Stein ’12 BSBA (Accounting and Operations Management) has been an adventurous risk taker. In fact, her Eller experience began with a leap of faith.
“I grew up in Virginia, outside of D.C.,” she says, “and was the only one in my high school class to move more than 2,000 miles away to attend college in a state where I knew no one. And I’m so glad I did. I’m a very proud Eller grad.”
While at Eller, she was highly involved both inside and outside the classroom. She was a member of the first ELITE class–a professional development program for pre-business first year students–and held various leadership roles in Alpha Kappa Psi (AKPsi), a professional business fraternity.
“My experiences at Eller were invaluable to the development of both my social circle and my professional career,” she says. “I landed a finance job at Boeingafter graduation because of my connections to AKPsi.”
The next leap in her career came a few years later when she picked up and moved again, this time to Washington State to work at the Boeing plant in Everett. After a few months there, it was that same supportive group of connections from Eller that helped her find a role at Amazon.
Her adventurous spirit had served her well, but she soon came across a challenge that did not go as planned. “I was successful in my first role at Amazon and began looking for the next big thing,” she says. “My director offered me a new position for a brand-new concept that Amazon was trying to launch. Without talking to the manager or the team to figure out what this position would entail, I took the job.”
As the single-person finance team for this new product, Stein found out that despite the many skills she had developed, they had not prepared her for the role. She sensed that she was floundering and, additionally, the product was not succeeding.
“Regardless,” she says, “the experience didn’t scare me away from taking risks. Instead, it taught me to take calculated leaps and do my research before jumping into a new challenge.”
After earning her MBA from the University of Washington in 2018, Stein made another big leap by leaving Amazon and taking on a new role as the finance business manager for Vulcan Arts + Entertainment, a Seattle-based company dedicated to the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s vision of investing in the Pacific Northwest’s cultural fabric. In contrast to the larger teams she worked on at Boeing and Amazon, she is the only one in Vulcan’s finance department.
“It’s a phenomenal opportunity,” Stein says. “As a financial analyst, I like to say that I’m a co-pilot, not a speedometer. I’m not just going to tell my co-workers how they performed last week–I’m going to use my role to help guide them toward making the right business decisions.”
Realizing she has valuable skills that small businesses find useful, Stein manages her own pro bono consulting company in addition to managing the finances for Vulcan Arts + Entertainment, and finds great satisfaction in helping a number of Seattle-area companies become financially successful.
“While at Eller, I came up with the phrase, ‘move forward, give back’,” she says. “To this day, this idea helps me feel connected to the community and reminds me to use my education to give back.”