Welcome to the Employee Spotlight Series! This week, we are featuring Ashley Normand. Ashley is an Auditor and joined the SpendMend team in 2016! When asked to describe SpendMend in three words, she stated, “Welcoming, Collaborative, and Enterprising.” It was great getting to know Ashley better, and hearing about her hobbies and passions! Ashley is from the Houghton area of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, she states that her friends refer to it as, “The Frozen North.” She graduated from Grand Valley State University with a degree in Finance. A fun fact about Ashley is that she also graduated with a theater minor! Ashley has been involved in theater since she was about 12 years old through school clubs and local community theater. Since the end of college, Ashley has been working with The Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company! Her resume includes musicals such as Seussical and Once Upon a Mattress, as well as premier/original shows, like Princess Story by a group, called MY Musical World. The most recent show she participated in was The Blue-Eyed Hag by Jim Lair Beard. If anyone is looking for recommendations for live theater performances, Ashley is the expert! During the workday, Ashley likes to listen to audiobooks and music. She has a wide range of music she enjoys during the day, from pop to musical theater. She is a huge Hozier fan but hasn’t had the chance to see him live. When it comes to music performances, she prefers going to festivals! She is a frequenter of the Irish Music Festival in Muskegon and the St. James’s Society Highland Games. Ashley states, “Stone Clover and Crossbow (both MI bands, btw) are always fun to see!” Another hobby Ashley enjoys is cooking and baking. Her love for cooking started because she was a picky eater as a kid. Cooking gave her the opportunity to try new foods and experiment with recipes. Ashley loves playing around with recipes and tweaking them to her liking. Although she loves tasting her food, she loves sharing her food and seeing others enjoy it too! Her favorite dish to prepare is a red wine, and goat cheese pasta recipe she has been working on perfecting for years. Can we request that dish for the next SpendMend potluck?

Ashley does a wonderful job as an Auditor and is well-respected by her team. Seth Glaser, Audit Supervisor, “Ashley is an outstanding auditor who always put the company first and is an extremely valued member of the SpendMend Team. I have had the pleasure of working with Ashley for several years now and she is always someone I can count on. She’s always willing to assist in helping and training new auditors. Ashley has been tasked with moving around to other supervisors whenever needed in the Blue POD and always approaches this with a positive attitude and is willing to help the team. Ashley is exactly the type of employee SpendMend is looking for and I’m extremely thankful to have the pleasure of working alongside her.” We couldn’t have said it better! Thank you Ashley for all your hard work and always giving 100%.

Interview with Ashley:

What is your role at SpendMend?

How long have you been with SpendMend?
Since September 2016 (including Temp agency placement)

How did you first learn about SpendMend?
Matched through a temp agency

What 3 words would you use to describe SpendMend?
Welcoming, Collaborative, Enterprising

Why do you look forward to coming to work?
Every day is a new puzzle to solve.

Before working at SpendMend, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
I briefly worked in a T-shirt printing/design shop.

Where are you located/from?
I’m from the Houghton area of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, or as many of my friends call it: The Frozen North.

Where did you go for higher education? What did you study and why?
Graduated from GVSU with a degree in Finance (plus that theatre minor).

What is one fun fact about you?
I have a Minor in Theatre from GVSU

What piqued your interest to get a theater minor?
I was originally a Theatre Major at Grand Valley and when I switched to Finance just happened to have enough credits to qualify for the Minor.
What is your background in theater? What shows have you been a part of?
I’ve been involved In the theatre scene since I was about 12 (school clubs and local community theatre) and it seemed like the natural choice to continue when I was graduating from high school. At this point my resume is pretty eclectic: I’ve done some musicals (Seussical, Once Upon A Mattress), a few premier/original shows (one was called Princess Story by a group called MY Musical World, and most recently The Blue-Eyed Hag by Jim Lair Beard), a couple more contemporary shows like WASP (which was written by actor Steve Martin), and a whole lot of Shakespeare. I’ve been working primarily with the Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company since the end of my college days so I have several years’ worth of The Bard under my belt.

What type of music or podcasts do you listen to during the workday?
I usually go for audiobooks over podcasts – most recently Shakespeare’s Winters’ Tale. My taste in music ranges from Pop and Musical Theatre to Alt-Rock and Heavy Metal.

Who is your favorite artist to listen to (any genre)?
I’m definitely a big Hozier fan, though I haven’t had a chance to see him live yet, unfortunately.

Have you seen any of your favorite artists or musicals live? If so, which one(s) and do you have a favorite?
If I’m catching live music, I prefer more of a festival setting – I’m a frequenter of the Irish Music Festival in Muskegon and the St. James’s Society Highland Games. Stone Clover and Crossbow (both MI bands, btw) are always fun to see!

Do you have any hobbies or participate in any activities outside of work?
Most of my time outside work is spent working with a local touring theatre company. I also enjoy cooking and baking when I have time, and dabble in many other things.

When did you start cooking and baking for fun and why?
I mostly started cooking (then baking) because I was a bit of a picky eater as a kid – I preferred making my food to asking my parents to cook separately for me. Once I got into cooking, I started trying more new foods and experimenting with recipes, and I’m not nearly as picky anymore (I still don’t really care for brussels sprouts, though!).

What do you love about cooking and baking?
I still love playing with recipes to see how I can improve them, but I think other than eating to results myself my favorite thing about cooking/baking is sharing what I make and seeing others enjoy it.

What is your favorite meal to cook and bake?

When I bake I usually prefer baking things like cakes since it means I get to decorate too, and for cooking my favorite dish is this red wine and goat cheese pasta recipe I Frankensteined a couple of years ago and have been tweaking ever since.

Do you interact with

Can you describe an interaction when you helped a client or a supplier that stands out in your mind?
There have been several times I’ve assisted suppliers with severely delinquent accounts, but typically I prefer to focus on current challenges rather than past successes.

What was the best compliment you’ve ever been paid by a client or supplier?
I can’t recall any specific compliments, but I think developing a good working relationship with suppliers is compliment enough.

What is the best part of serving the healthcare market?
It’s that hopefully, the work we do translates to better, more efficient care for patients by our clients.

What is your favorite Recovery Room Activity?
I haven’t been to the Recovery Room in quite some time, but I have enjoyed hearing about teammates getting competitive over the games.

What has been your experience with SpendMend community service events?
Unfortunately, my schedule hasn’t allowed me to participate much in the events outside working hours. It is always great to see the updates, though.

What is your favorite in-house event? (specific potluck, chili cook-off, bring your kid to work day, etc.)
My favorite was probably the Open House held after we moved to the current office location. Very fun!

Do you want to shout out a co-worker who has helped or inspired you at SpendMend?
Seth Glaser has always been super helpful and great to work with basically since I started at SpendMend.

What advice do you have for prospective candidates who want to join the SpendMend team?
No advice here – The company culture is great and really welcoming, which I think is just about the most important aspect of a job.

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