Throughout 2021, United Way Young Leaders Society (YLS) is highlighting our members through a YLS Member Spotlight series that will connect you to their stories, professional expertise, and history with United Way of Santa Barbara County. YLS is a United Way affinity group that promotes philanthropy and volunteerism among young professionals in Santa Barbara County. YLS hosts professional development, networking, volunteer events, and fundraisers that support United Way.
Kyle Guthrie is an Accounting Manager at Community West Bank. In the Q&A below Kyle shared about how he got involved with Young Leaders Society, his favorite events and some of the best career advice he has received.
You can contact Kyle at KGuthrie@communitywestbank.com.
Q: How long have you been a member of YLS and how did you get involved?
I’ve been a member of YLS I believe since mid-2016. The firm I was with at the time was involved with United Way and had various opportunities to volunteer. I participated in events like Fun in the Sun and Day of Caring, and really enjoyed the experiences!
Q: What do you like most about YLS?
The fact that I met my girlfriend Michelle at a YLS event is probably the right answer here. Kidding aside, meeting other young professionals in a relaxed atmosphere is a good way to network and meet other like-minded people. It’s a great community to add into your professional social scene.
Q: What is your favorite YLS event and why?
The Sonos event where the CEO Patrick Spence shared about his path to CEO. He talked about his life and experiences that brought him to his CEO position. It was really cool to be part of a relatively small group that had the opportunity to ask a CEO of a large company questions about his career and hear about the successes and failures that happened along the way. Events like this don’t happen every day and it was really cool that YLS hosted an event like that. Also, met Michelle here. Should probably mention that.
Q: What’s your biggest (or one of your biggest) professional accomplishment(s) so far?
I think my biggest professional accomplishment so far is getting my CPA license. That was a lot of work, especially since I was working full-time while studying and taking the exams. I’m really glad I went through the experience, though, because you develop an in-depth “big picture” of how different business applications of accounting work. So far it has been very useful for my own career and knowledge.
Q: What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
I have gotten a lot of good career advice, and it’s hard to pinpoint “the best.” However, I think that a good one is “Comparison is the thief of joy.” People have different levels of success at different times of their life, and if you constantly compare yourself to other people it is hard to see how much you have grown relative to your own history and background. Whatever you are doing, be curious about how to do a great job where you are right now and have a growth plan for yourself. Where do you want to be in a year? 3 years, 5 years, 10 years? How can you get there? Are you stagnant at your current position, or is there more you can “dig into” to perfect your skills? And lastly…keep that resume updated! I update mine every 3 months usually with new responsibilities, skills, or grammar/wordsmithing updates.
Q: When you’re not working, how do you enjoy spending your time?
Most of my free time is spent either surfing, weightlifting, cooking, playing video games, or hanging out with my girlfriend. Weekends are great for going out with friends or planning a dawn patrol session (surfing very early in the morning.) I also practice meditation just about every day for 10 – 20 minutes, I find it helps with my concentration and keeps me emotionally balanced during both stressful and non-stressful situations. It’s a great way to step back and rise above the daily mind chatter that can cause distractions from the important things happening in the present.
Do you want to be featured in this YLS Member Spotlight Series? Click here to fill out our nomination form!