Women in Business: Traci Sowersby

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,222 views 

Class of 2021 Women in Business Traci Sowersby Vice President-Controller and Chief Accounting Officer ArcBest Corp., Fort Smith

Residence: Fort Smith

Education: B.S., accounting, Indiana University

Professional background: Sowersby assumed her current job in April 2015. She established a Shared Services organization within the company during a restructuring and implemented its enhanced market approach. Prior to joining ArcBest, Sowersby spent 17 years with Ernst & Young LLP, where she most recently served as executive director in the firm’s Phoenix office. Sowersby is a Certified Public Accountant.

What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishments or wins in your current job? Establishing a Shared Services organization within ArcBest during the restructure was an intense growing period in my career. It required extensive research and collaboration amongst all departments. Policies, methodologies and new systems were all needed to have an effective new process.

Additionally, it allowed me to work across the entire organization with all department leaders to educate them on the new processes, understand their needs and gain their acceptance of the new processes.

What is a leader’s best asset? Listening. As a leader, listening to others provides insight and knowledge of how best to serve the organization, fellow leaders and employees.

What was your dream job as a kid and why? I’ve always loved animals and my dream job was to be a zoologist. In high school, I was in Future Farmers of America. I raised sheep and realized it is a labor of love to take care of animals. I ultimately decided that my future would be better served with a business/accounting degree.

What is something distinctive that people would be surprised to know about you? I was previously a surgical technologist in the U.S. Army reserves. Also, I recently restored a 1952 Chevy truck and plan to restore a 1965 Mustang fastback soon.

How do you spend your time away from work? What are your hobbies? Hiking and photography. I love to be outdoors. I think because my job is indoors. Any chance I can get outside I either want to be on a trail exploring or taking pictures of the world around me. I recently hiked Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park for the second time. I also enjoy long-distance multi-night backpacking on the John Muir Trail in the Sierra Nevada.

What advice would you give young women who are currently at the beginning of their careers? Set goals. I am a huge believer in setting goals — either work or life goals — no matter how far-fetched they may seem. Once you set a long-term goal you can break it down into smaller steps and each smaller step that is achieved is progress toward your ultimate goal. If you don’t know where you’re going, any path will take you there.

What’s the best way to encourage productive collaboration? Collaboration requires each side to understand the viewpoints of the other. Listening and fully understanding those viewpoints is critical to successful collaboration.