Interview with Kasey Hobbes

June 27, 2022
Yasmina Ibsen

Kasey is our Controller and one of our most treasured team members.

Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school?    

I grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I didn't go very far, in the sense that I've always lived here. I was going to go away for college, but I am a homebody. I'm super tight with my family and we have a university in our backyard practically, so I actually went to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. I went there for my undergrad and also went there for graduate school. They have an accredited business school, so I thought “there's this good school in my backyard and I'll just stay home and save money.” I love Chattanooga. People are like, “don't you wanna try other places?” I do love to travel, but I love the mountains and the lake, and we're really tapped in with our community here, so I'm just a Chattanoogan through and through.

Did you have any specific role models? If so, who were they?

I probably didn't recognize it growing up, but now that I'm an adult, I realize that my grandfather was my role model. He's passed now, but he was such a cool guy. He grew up in Hungary, but he left home when communism was hot and heavy, back in the fifties. He left as he was outspoken and his life was in danger. His friends were disappearing off the streets.He didn't tell his family or anybody. He was 20 years old when he came to the United States. He couldn't speak a lick of English. He said he taught himself how to speak English by watching cartoons, which I find to be hilarious. He joined the US army and always spoke about how much he loved this country. It has freedoms that he didn’t have where he was from.

He paved this way, his whole life, just plowed through it, and I guess there's several things I can take away from looking at him as a role model. For example, he stood up for what was right, even if it wasn't the popular decision, wherever he was at the time and I really admire that. I can also admire how he taught himself how to speak English, made himself a home in a place where he didn't know anybody, and created a community. I feel how lucky I am to have him, but also how lucky I am to have been born with the rights that I have. I wish I could have just one more day with him. I didn't get to say goodbye to him. He died suddenly, but I wish I could have one more day with him and pick his brain now that I'm an adult and would just love to talk to him about life, fill him in on what's going on, and would love feedback from him.  

What would you say to a young person considering a career in Accounting?

Stick with it. I guess you could say that with any career, but I went to a talk recently where I was trying to get some CPE and there was an educator who was speaking. She's an accounting professor and she was saying that our industry is turning out less and less accountants these days. There's just so much you can do with your life and so for some reason, people don't want to be accountants, but, I would just say stick with it. It's a rewarding career. It gives back to you. In our industry, you can do so many things. If you like one aspect of accounting, you could do that. There's taxes, audit, operations, etc. There's probably so many different things you can do, I can't even list them all, in so many different industries. I worked in manufacturing for 10 years and then made the jump and now I'm working for a bio IT type company. I love it as somebody who's pretty logical and likes to solve puzzles. It's a fun career.

What is important to you personally? I.e.what things do you value most in life?

The most important things in life for me are the love of God and people. I know religion can be a taboo subject but it's a piece of me and it's important. So is loving people. There's been so much grace, opportunity, and love that's been shown to me in my life and I feel like it's only right that I show that to other people as well. You know? I think about it every day. How can I love on this person? Can I buy this person coffee? Or can I send them a note or can I provide my professional services to this non-profit to help them? That's what's important to me in life, just loving on people, however, that looks, it's a wide spectrum.  

What are some of the challenges you have faced either in your career or personally that you feel have helped you become the successful person you are?  

I would say working in manufacturing for 10 years in the South as a young female. It made me grow so much. I'm thankful for that experience and I wouldn't trade it for the world, but it definitely had its challenges. That industry is not as progressive as others, so as a young female and a manager, I had to grow up a lot and learn how to work with different personality types in a difficult industry. It thickened my skin and it made me quite independent, but at the same time I made some really great friendships while I was there. I had great mentors so I wouldn't trade it for the world and I'm happy that I did it. That industry is always changing too. I learned a lot of hard work and how to be a mature professional who controls their emotions even when things are not fair. I straight up had a manager tell me life is not fair. And it's not. I learned a lot of interesting lessons.

What excites you about being a Controller?

Being a controller specifically, you get to have your hands in everything in accounting. I don't like jobs where I'm in a funnel. With the controller job, you make sure the bills are paid, you get to talk with the customers and make sure that they're paying their bills, you do payroll, and get to work with the employees. You also handle the financial statements so it's like you get to touch all of the accounting. You're not siloed or funneled into one little thing. Especially with a company, the size of Studylog, you're involved in everything. When you work in the financial statements in the books, you just understand that business backwards and forwards. I love that and I love being able to provide management with information that they need to make better decisions. Like “here's your financials and here's my take away from it or you may wanna make these changes.” I love that partnership and being able to give them information that's useful.  

What do you enjoy about being part of the Studylog team?

I really enjoy the culture, how everybody treats each other with an underlying respect, and that it's genuine. It's not a cliche, you really don't get that everywhere. For some reason, people think it’s okay to talk to people like they shouldn't talk to them, but I haven't come across that at all at Studylog. It seems like people really do like working together and like the work that they're doing so that's pretty special. I also love the partnership. A job is like a partnership and I love giving my time to Studylog, but they also take care of me too. Like I said, I made this change in my life, a change in careers and I had a kid, which drastically changes everything and Studylog accommodates that so well. I just appreciate them understanding that people have lives outside of Studylog.