Don’t give up. Even when people around you think your idea is played out, it’s your dream, keep at it. Own it, make it yours.

 

Julia DePinto-Perez is currently the Vice President of Business and Finance for Pillar College located in Newark, NJ. As the college’s chief financial officer, she has direct responsibility for Pillar’s financial operations, as well as areas such as facilities, human resources and information technology.

As a member of the senior leadership team at Pillar College she works closely with the President directly, as well as all the senior staff. Within the first few weeks of her tenure, Ms. Julie DePinto-Perez quickly realized that an overly optimistic revenue budget, below target student enrollment and uncollected accounts receivable were projecting that the fiscal year would end in a large deficit for the second consecutive year. As part of her actions to mitigate the impact she took action to implement a purchase order system, perform a budget reforecast and implement an aggressive collections effort, to minimize the forecasted fiscal deficit. Ms. DePinto-Perez continues to monitor our progress weekly through the creation of a financial “dashboard” to measure our cash flow vs. expenditures to re-project our financial outcome.

Over the course of more than 20 years, Ms. DePinto-Perez has helped build financial organizations and streamlined business operations to drive growth, productivity and results – all critical elements in education in the non-profit environment.

Ms. DePinto-Perez also brings a significant understanding of corporate strategies and efficiencies– some of which apply to education and non-profit.

Ms. DePinto-Perez, a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University, and Saint Peter’s University
where she earned her Master’s in Arts with a concentration in Educational Administration.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

My typical day starts with a written list of the tasks I wish to attack that day. It keeps me focused and on task.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I think about how the idea will affect those around me, making sure that I include all aspects of how it will help others.

What’s one trend that excites you?

That more and more organizations and people are concerned about social responsibility and community awareness.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Don’t give up. Even when people around you think your idea is played out, it’s your dream, keep at it. Own it, make it yours.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t take life to seriously. Inevitably something will go wrong, and eventually it will work out. Stop and smell the roses.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

People often talk about forgiveness, and you really try your best when you are wronged, however, more often than not you can’t really let those feelings go 100%.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Keep reviewing your business and business plan. Stay fluid and relevant.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Word of mouth. Be in the marketplace. When we first started we had nothing. Then in meeting people and having conversations they had a need and we were able to fill it.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

The failure was the fear of starting. You have to do the self-talk and convince yourself to go for it. The hardest part is getting started. Once you get started there is no stopping you.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I don’t have one at this time.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Every day for the last 2 years, I drive past a homeless man who sells water. It’s a very busy intersection and hard to stop for him. One day, I mustered up the courage to park my car and walk over to him to give him a few dollars. We got to talking and I learned a lot about him and how he got to where he is today. It became quite emotional and we both started to cry. I make it a point to stop when I can, chat with him and give him whatever I can.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I love google. It’s my go-to. It’s my dictionary, my navigation, helps me find the best products for whatever I may need, be it a lipstick or a new computer.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
It symbolizes the importance of determination and never giving up helps define the type of people we are.

What is your favorite quote?

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”.
Martin Luther King Jr.

Key Learnings:

  • I always think about the other person first.
  • Failure is not an option.
  • Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how your respond to it.