Name: Peggy Sargent
Title: Director of Finance
Family: Husband Mike, and too many furry four-legged children
Education: BS in Marketing and Accounting from UAH; MS in Business from UAH
Background: Began in private sector with telecommunications and small start-ups, then onto a NASA contract. Was controller at Teledyne Brown, where she worked 11 years, before joining City of Huntsville in December 2015
What You Didn’t Know: “My first accounting job happened only because my resume looked like a novelty to the hiring director. Within the first 15 minutes of the interview, he told me, ‘I already have my candidate chosen. He’s more qualified than you are, I just wanted to see what you’d be like with that education combination. It’s very unusual.’ When I started three later, I walked into his office, and said, ‘You selected me for a reason, teach me everything that candidate had that I don’t. I plan to be your Controller in 10 years.’ I was promoted to the position in seven!
Sargent On Leadership: “Why am I here?’ Is it for the paycheck? The retirement? Something more?” For each person the answer is different. And the answer is probably different today than it was the day you started with the City and in the role you have now.
That question can even be taken a step farther. “Why am I doing what I do?” and “Am I doing it to the best of my abilities and proud that my name is associated with the results?”
I sure don’t have my answers to these questions all the time, or even most of the time. And just when I think I do figure the answers out, they change because I have changed due to the stage of my life and my career.
But because of those shifts, I always go back to something my dad would always say to me as I was trying make a difficult decision. “You only come into this would with your good name, and if you have done everything in your power to do the right thing, that is what you will leave with. All of the other material items will not follow you and will not matter.”
So, by now, you may be asking how does this relate to leadership? Well, at least for me, just do the best you can. You will never be perfect, but always try to be the best you in everything you do. Never ask more of your team than you are willing to give yourself. And always be looking to give a hand up, rather than for someone else reaching for you. Because if you are stretching to help someone else grow, there will surely be someone else reaching to pull you to your next great opportunity as well.