We had the good fortune of connecting with Amanda “Jo” Erven and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amanda “Jo”, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
Quote… affirmation… mantra… motto… mission statement… whatever you want to call it, this is mine: “Good things come to those who wait… but don’t. You deserve better than good.” (By, well, ME!) I sign each of my books “Don’t wait!” because I believe from the bottom of my heart and soul that each one of us has the power to choose, change, and make our own destiny. I know there are times in life for patience, but I am a firm believer that patience and waiting isn’t going to get us to our dreams. We each need to go out and proactively seek what we want/need in life and don’t stop until we get there.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My firm, Audit. Consulting. Education. LLC, focuses on connecting “actions to values.” What in the world does that mean? Let me explain. If there is one thing I learned over my 15 years in “corporate America,” it was that too many individuals sacrifice their own personal values to achieve “success” (or what they see as success). I heard leaders say “fake it ’til you make it” and I watched individuals bend to the whim of those in power positions without a second thought to the impact it would cause. So, when I started my firm, I wanted to make sure that anyone that did business with me knew that I would not waiver when it comes to my values, and to take it a step further – I wanted to teach others to do the same. That is what I truly believe sets my firm apart. Not only do we consult on how to improve corporate cultures (whether by enhancing policies, processes, or controls), we also teach and train auditors, accountants, and other finance professionals to factor culture into their day to day lives. This is the true connection of “actions” to “values.” We all may believe we possess the correct values in our lives, such as honesty and integrity, but unfortunately, a lot of us lack the courage to always support those values. That is where my firm can help. Getting to this place in my business was not “easy” – but it was simple. Simple because I developed my concept early on, with principles I firmly believe in – and grew my business from that solid foundation. That is how I think any successful business is built. Don’t get me wrong – there have definitely been challenges along the way. I mean, hello COVID-19… I haven’t seen the inside of an airport since February of 2020, and I used to travel for consulting/speaking engagements 3-4 times a month! But if you still want it, there should be nothing that stops you in reaching your goals. You may just have to work a little harder. For example, my goal in 2020 was to not have ONE speaking/training engagement cancel, but instead move to a virtual platform or reschedule into 2021 or a later date. I am thrilled to report that with persistence and a positive attitude, this goal has been 100% met to date. These times are not easy… but breaking down your business and goals can be simple. Start small – break up those challenges into bite sized pieces – and JUMP IN! Don’t wait! It reminds me of this Chuck Swindoll quote: “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” Even if you (or your business) is facing what feels like an impossible situation – remember this can be your next opportunity. Go back to your core values. Be proactive. And start taking action that will turn that lemon into lemonade (so cliche, I know, but it works!)!!!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh… this is so hard! I am not a native of Colorado, but my husband is…. and since I have lived here for 16 years (longer than I have lived anywhere) (I have had almost 30 addresses in my almost 40 year life – that could be a whole other interview!) – he let’s me think I am “grandfathered” in to knowing almost everything about Colorado. (He is too nice, I know – here’s his shoutout for being an amazing native-CO husband!) I think the most important thing to do when you visit Denver is to rent a car and drive!! While downtown has great things to see/do – 16th Street Mall, the Denver Mint (my son and I discovered this a few summers ago and loved it), the Denver Art Museum – to truly enjoy Denver is to enjoy those foothills just outside. Go into Morrison, CO and explore Red Rocks Ampitheater/Park – eat at The Fort: “wild game, steak & other exotic regional American specialties in a frontier-themed replica fort” – and have an ice cold, draft Coors light at the Morrison Holiday Bar. Visit Golden, CO and explore the Clear Creek White Water Park – walk along the creek, go tubing, or just grab an awesome slice of pizza downtown at Woody’s Wood Fired Pizza. You really can’t go wrong exploring anywhere inside the city or outside – just EXPLORE!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My “shoutout” is definitely going to my Dad and here’s why: In 2015, when I found out I was positive for the breast and ovarian gene mutation (BRCA1), he was the first person to say – do WHATEVER you think you need to on your proactive health journey and we will be there for every step along the way. That journey led to 6 surgeries over 22 months and he was absolutely there for each and every step (and bump) on the path. And trust me, there were some bumps! I am happy to report that after a full hysterectomy and a double mastectomy, my chances of getting cancer in my lifetime have dropped from 86% to somewhere between 2-5%. There isn’t a better ending to a story, if you ask me. And yet another reason that I teach and train individuals to jump in with both feet (again, “don’t wait”) when it comes to making health and life choices. My Dad never wavered on my proactive health journey. Others said things like “I can’t believe you would have unnecessary surgeries” or “it’s not like you have cancer YET”… but this didn’t seem “unnecessary” to me, nor were my Dad and I ready to sit around and wait for “YET.” My Dad lost both his mother and sister to cancer, and I wasn’t about to become another number in his life. So we faced my health adversity and “beat” it together! Then in 2018, after fully taking care of myself and my health, I decided there needed to be more to my life than waking up everyday and going to a job I didn’t exactly love anymore with a boss that I didn’t exactly respect anymore. I wasn’t learning, growing, and challenging myself the way I needed to be… and I certainly wasn’t making the difference I wanted to be. So, I decided to jump (with both feet) out of the corporate world and – you probably guessed it – there was no one more supportive of this endeavor than my Dad. There were the same negative nancys in my life that said things like “I can’t believe you would leave your 6 figure salary without something steady lined up” or just plain “what are you thinking?!” – but not Dad. I would even venture to say he came out of his nice retirement of playing tennis everyday to start assisting me in building, strategizing, and marketing my new firm. Over two years later, I have built a successful professional services firm that focuses on consulting and training on internal audit and personal development techniques. I have published two books with accompanying workbooks, with a third on the way. And I couldn’t have done ANY of this without my Dad. So… here’s your official shoutout – THANK YOU SO MUCH, DAD!
Elissa Woog, Elissa Woog Photography