Senior Manager, Finance

Gisela Simonitis

Gisela Simonitis Spotlight

Exponent's culture is very cohesive. We all work together, and everyone tries to do their best for our clients, which in turn expands our business. To that end, we leverage various teams with multi-level expertise to analyze, advise, and solve problems for our clients and answer their most challenging technical questions.

Broad Exposure

I joined Exponent in December of 1995, shortly after receiving my bachelor's degree. I had worked at a couple of other firms before joining Exponent as an office administrator at our Miami location, where I gained a wide breadth of experience in various operational and financial areas.

Gisela-Simonitis

In 2017, I was offered the position of business manager for our Transportation Group, and I relocated to Phoenix. As a business manager, I worked with multiple business units and various engineering practice directors and vice presidents on annual budgets and in developing, implementing, and monitoring various financial policies and procedures.

The best part of my job is that I get to interact with all kinds of groups across the firm, including senior leadership. 

Today, I'm a senior manager in accounting and part of the finance department where I oversee several corporate functions including corporate billing and accounts payable, as well as assist in other operational roles. A large part of my day is ensuring that the invoicing for our clients is accurate and encompasses the monthly labor and expenses, that it's within the communicated and approved budgets, and that it's processed and sent in a timely manner.

My work involves working with consulting and administrative staff across the firm at all levels, so I feel I'm exposed to the best of both worlds, because I get to be a team member interacting with various groups.

A Steadfast Commitment to Service

Before I came to Exponent, I worked for a large cruise line that had a strong and defined corporate mindset. At the time I joined Exponent, it was a small entity and there was more of a team atmosphere, where our goal was to work together to solve our clients' technical problems and advise them on a path forward with excellent client service at the forefront of everything we did. It felt more like a family-owned business, and we were all part of the family working toward the same goal.

As the firm has grown, I feel like we've stayed true to that central mission over the years. We keep growing and expanding, but our core commitment never changes. 

Word of mouth is one of the best forms of advertising, and because of the great work we perform, our clients keep returning and sharing their accolades about Exponent with other clients. The fact that we've established a solid trust with them, where they retain us regularly as their go-to expert to assist with their problems and answer their questions, is very satisfying.

The last 27 years have been incredible and super exciting because I've been involved in and witnessed so much growth, not only the increase in our core business and staff, but also with new technologies, projects, and clients.

Inclusion and Opportunity

I started out as an office administrator, and I moved up the ranks to business manager and then to my current role of senior manager of accounting. When I started, I didn't think that kind of advancement would be open to me because of the administrative type of work that I performed.

My work and achievements in my office administrator role were consistently recognized, and when a position became available, the leadership team approached me for an advanced opportunity. That was significant to me, and it was evident that the company strives to create growth opportunities for its employees. 

Exponent takes steps to be proactive in terms of diversity, so people feel comfortable and included.

I've never felt that I've been discriminated against because I'm Cuban or a woman, and that to me, speaks volumes about Exponent, because I've always felt very included and never felt held back from advancing within the firm due to my gender or ethnicity. I do believe that historically, ethnic minorities and women have been underrepresented for quite some time in the corporate world, and I applaud the efforts at Exponent to promote DEI and consider myself a good testimony to those efforts.

Excitement and New Experiences 

Shortly after my daughter received her Ph.D., she told me about a fellow student who had just finished his Ph.D. in biomechanics engineering. He was a very talented individual and had been looking at different opportunities after graduation. So, my daughter told him, "Hey, why don't you talk to my mom? She works for this great engineering consulting company, and I think you would really enjoy it."

He and I spoke, and he told me about some of the other opportunities he was looking at, which were also very attractive, but he was open to learning more about Exponent. I told him, "All those other companies and opportunities sound great, but I can tell you that if you join Exponent, you'll be excited to come to work every day and you will never be bored."

"Chances are you'll never do the same thing twice. You're not going be stuck in a cubicle analyzing data all day, but instead, you'll be going into the field performing challenging work, meeting all kinds of clients, and engaging with top engineering and scientific talent. You'll also be analyzing various products, using some high-end equipment, and solving problems in different scenarios. I think you will be a great fit here!"

We hold true to engaging the best minds for solving problems for our clients.

I believe that the opportunities I mentioned really attracted him to Exponent, and he ended up joining the firm, which contributed to the talent we have.

Fun While Building Your Career

When I interview someone for a finance position, I share with them my longevity and my growth within the company. They feel like that's impressive because these days most people don't stay with companies very long and often feel stuck without opportunities for growth.

I've done a good share of hiring over the past 5 years, and it's reassuring to the applicants I interview that I enjoy my job. I like where I work and what I do, and I like to think that's a great selling point for candidates.

I share with them how much I enjoy what I do, what a dynamic company this is, and what a fun place it is to work. It's challenging work, but it really is fun, too; just the exposure to the variety of clients and the projects we assist them with, and not to mention the people we get to work with, makes for an incredibly interesting job.

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