Christi Wilson Mankarios is a tax planning professional with many years of experience. Wilson Mankarios has experience working in the development and accounting divisions of high-growth companies including Venture Specialists and Dynamic National Tax Centers, as well as small local firms. Wilson blends her business acumen with an in-depth knowledge of financial markets and analytical accounting. She has managed the accounts of corporations, non-profits, and family enterprises and is skilled in tax preparation and bookkeeping.
Christi Wilson Mankarios served as a consultant for Reliant Retail Distributors, where she provided guidance on process improvement projects that helped the retailer streamline its expansion and minimize time-consuming or duplicate operations while maintaining operational excellence and profit targets. Wilson Mankarios also applied her analytical accounting skills to planning, budgeting, and forecasting models for businesses.
After working at Shrempf and Cutler as a Senior Accountant, Wilson Mankarios went on to start her own firm. She gained great experience in financial analysis, financial statement generation, and private company accounting while working in this role. Wilson Mankarios has worked with a range of companies over the course of her career in strategic consulting and accounting, including KPI Ltd., Accounting Capital, 36 & Union, and others.
Wilson Mankarios is an active part of her community, serving on the New Horizons Housing Aid Program’s Board of Directors. She has also served as Treasurer of the Global Fundraising Collaborative and as a member of several other non-profits and professional associations. Christi Wilson Mankarios is an animal lover who is dedicated to helping homeless animals through her work with the Pet Pals Animal Shelter’s Adoption Program, from which she adopted her own dogs, Buddy and Princess.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
I have always been an entrepreneur. I’ve worked for Fortune 500 companies but it never sat quite right with me. I’m a people person so I felt like there had to be another way to practice business where you could actually engage your clients on a real relationship level. Because of my background, I was already knowledgeable about taxes and financial strategies so the idea just sort of fell into place and that is how I launched Christi Wilson Mankarios Tax Specialists.
Of course at first, everyone thought I was crazy because they are used to seeing CPA firms as contractors who do tax returns all day long, but that’s not what our firm does – we work primarily with business owners and self employed individuals – teaching them best practices.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
First thing I do to start the day is to eat a good breakfast. Then I drink a bottle of water, take my vitamins, and then sit down to work. Each day I have 4-5 meetings that are either in person or on the phone. I also spend time on the computer working on projects. I work with great people in offices in Los Angeles, California, New York, New York, and Europe, so I have to switch between time zones to be productive. I have to be able to take calls at any time or send out last minute documents in the middle of the night. It’s a fast-paced, fun, and demanding job, but I love it!
How do you bring ideas to life?
I don’t. The clients do. Really. I am the facilitator who helps them get there. I ensure that they are correctly implementing their ideas.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Tax Planning and financial consulting isn’t an industry that has a lot of trends. There are always changes to tax codes and the introduction of new financial tools and investment vehicles, but the nuts and bolts of the business stay pretty much the same.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
One habit of mine that makes me more productive is that I continue to ask questions. Asking questions builds relationships. It also helps me gauge people’s level of investment in their work. It is surprising to see how many people do not want to be held accountable for what they are doing.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Follow your dreams as you envision them now. Don’t wait for someone to confirm they are valid, because you will never achieve your potential doing that. And if you make a mistake, learn from it.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Kindness is not a sign of weakness. You would be surprised how often a show of kindness can end up working out in your favor in the end. And in a business that depends so much on building relationships, kindness goes a long way in creating trust.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
In order to be truly successful, you need to have your finger on the pulse of both your industry as well as what is going on in the world around you. That means staying up-to-date with global and national news–not watching or reading just one source because that’s how we tend to get our biases confirmed–but instead trying to stay as open-minded as possible about what the facts are and who is well informed.
This also means keeping up with industry trends–again, not just relying on one source for your information. It’s important to have a decent understanding of how various factors impact different businesses within any given industry, whether it be finance, technology, or any other factor.
This is how we become well-rounded and sophisticated in our fields, which enables us to make better decisions with the resources we have and helps us avoid pitfalls.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Focusing on the global footprint of the development of your brand, not just domestically. We are often comfortable with what we know. But don’t make assumptions about what is global.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I had to let go of a business partner who did not share the same values and mindset. I did not adhere to my own advice of “do not work with anyone you cannot trust.” I learned from my mistake, though. Since that happened, I have been more aware of my instincts about people and I don’t settle for working with someone out of expediency or necessity. I only work with the best.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
There’s a need for more businesses aimed at women, run by women.
Even though people might not realize it, there is a strong desire for this–women want to shop and support other women–we just haven’t been given a lot of options. I think there are a number of paths that could be explored here–a place where you could buy or sell clothes, shoes, jewelry, handbags; a high-end beauty salon offering only the best products and treatments; a spa that eschews the “typical” experience.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I just bought myself a new pair of good running shoes. Running helps keep me healthy, lower my stress levels, and to clear my head.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Evernote. I use it both personally and professionally for taking notes, making to-do lists, storing articles that I want to refer back to later, keeping track of random thoughts or observations–it’s an invaluable tool.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
There are many books I recommend, but the one I reference most often is Business Success Secrets: Entrepreneurial Thinking That Works. It is a great book about how to develop your entrepreneurial mindset. It is full of useful information, insightful examples, and useful strategies for success.
What is your favorite quote?
You must have long term goals to keep you from being frustrated by short term failures.
- Don’t work with anyone you cannot trust.
- Asking questions builds relationships and holds others accountable.
- Let your clients provide you with ideas.
- Kindness is not a sign of weakness.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.