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Early Life

I was born in Chimacum, Washington which is a small agricultural town in Washington State. I have nine siblings in total, and my parents divorced shortly before I was born. As the youngest of my mother’s six children, I learned the importance of independence – as well as resilience – from a young age which gave me the important tools I needed to set me on the path to success later in my life.

When my parents divorced, my father moved to Florida where he worked in the import/export business and as an artist. I stayed in Washington with my mother, who had found herself a single mom of six children. She was a seamstress which was a job that didn’t pay a lot, so money was extremely tight. We relied on food banks to put food on our table, but it wasn’t always enough.

Despite our hardships, my mom had a passion for giving back to the community and she always kept her charity work local. In contrast, my dad had grown up in a very wealthy family of diplomats who were involved in philanthropy work on an international level. I was inspired by my father’s family and dreamed giving back on a global scale. At the same time, my mom’s volunteer work also rubbed off on me as I grew up witnessing her contribute to many important local initiatives.

Helping those in need became one of my core values very early on. Charity was in my DNA, but it was also something more: it was the reason I was able to go to school on a full stomach, which helped me get good grades and therefore an education – opening a world of opportunities that I never imagined was possible for myself.

In the second grade, I saw my chance to help those in need on an international level. A guest came to a school assembly and talked to us about a parasite that was killing cattle in west Africa, as well as its villagers. People were dying of starvation, as entire herds would have to be slaughtered to avoid spreading the parasite. But then he said something that shocked me: it was all completely preventable, and all it took was a 25-cent shot.

My little second grade self shot up my hand, and asked this man if I could go volunteer to help vaccinate the cattle. He told me I was too young, but that volunteers can usually start at 13.

That’s when I got to work saving up money for my plane ticket to west Africa. I worked all kinds of jobs, like babysitting and lawn care, and I saved every penny I earned. When I turned 13, I had saved enough for my flight and fees and joined the Youth With A Mission program. I was so excited to go, and it was an amazing feeling to know that I had earned the money for this experience all by myself.

Humanitarian Work

When I landed in west Africa, it was an incredible experience. A lot of the villagers I met had never seen a white person before and were very confused when they saw me. Some of the kids even tried to scrub my arms, and the translator told me they thought I was covered in paint! It felt surreal to be the first white person they had ever met.

But what happened next was even more surreal, and also terrifying: I contracted a very rare strain of malaria that has a 98 per cent mortality rate within the first two weeks of illness. In a remote village, with no method of communicating with anyone and no proper medical facilities, my chances of survival were bleak. Somehow I pulled through, but the experience didn’t deter me from going to Africa again. If anything, contracting malaria gave me a sense of what people endure when they develop these horrible diseases, and what little options they have to survive in the third world. This experience motivated me to return every summer, and as I got into my older teen years, I organized fundraising efforts so I could lead entire trips for high school and college students. We helped distribute food and clothing, built playgrounds, provided childcare, and served in soup kitchens in the Gambia, Senegal, Morocco, Uganda, and South Africa.

One summer, I spent two and a half months hiking to remote villages that were on the brink of starvation and told villagers where they could find beans and rice that were donated to a nearby town. When I left, I knew they would be OK for another season because they were able to finally feed themselves and their children.

This part of my life was so many things to me: it was fun and exciting, but also meaningful and fulfilling. I would have never had these experiences if I had been a typical teenager. As I entered adulthood, my time in Africa always had a place in my heart and inspired the journey I would take in the next phase of my life.

College Education and Career

I believe education is vital. It opens a world of possibilities and is the foundation of a successful life. As a young adult, I learned that education would be my ticket out of poverty and would put me on the right path.
In 2007, I graduated from Olympic College in Bremerton, Washington with an associate of applied science in business degree. While attending school full-time, I also worked at a coffee shop and interned at a tax practice in Silverdale, Washington. The owner, Frank Warner, was not only my boss – but also a mentor who played a significant role in my career.

He was a very successful accountant and business owner, and like me, had come from humble roots. He went from growing up poor in Appalachia to owning a successful tax practice. I set up a coffee with him to pick his brain, because I wanted to achieve the same level of success but didn’t know where to start.

Frank was the one who encouraged me to get a business degree. I earned my bachelor of science in business administration from DeVry University, and while earning my degree, he gave me a job in his tax practice. In lieu of retirement benefits, he funded a portion of my tuition – which combined with my academic scholarships, paid entirely for my tuition and allowed me to graduate debt-free in 2012.

Frank has been my biggest champion, and I owe everything in my life to him. He’s the one who encouraged me to go to college, gave me accounting experience, and has been my greatest cheerleader along the way. He was the first person to tell me he believed in me, which is such a powerful message to hear – and one that I often relay to young women I meet in my own charity work to this day.

I continued to work for Frank until he retired, and worked at several different firms including one in California. When I became a mom of three and had my twins in 2015, I moved back to Washington that same year to be closer to family.
After we moved, I accepted a job as a tax compliance manager at a firm in Bainbridge, Washington that was both a law firm and tax practice. Under my leadership, I helped the company bring in $1 million profit. I felt I had demonstrated my value, so I decided to ask for a $2/hour raise. When I didn’t get the raise, I knew it was time to make a change. That’s when I decided to open my own tax practice in 2020.

Balancing Business, Motherhood, Pageants and Volunteering

I was always scared to open my own business because I worried nobody would give me a chance or take me seriously. Accounting is a very male-dominated industry, and when I worked in other tax practices, clients always thought I was the receptionist because of the way I looked. But when I was turned down for a raise, it gave me the confidence and the motivation to open my own practice.

I knew I had it in me to run a successful business, and after only one year, I was awarded the 2022 Best Bainbridge Accountant – selected out of a group of professionals who have been in the business for decades.

My father never got to see my success because passed away a few years before I started my own business. But his death motivated me to leave a legacy for my own children. I felt empowered to try things I always wanted to do, but was held back by my own fear of failure. In 2019, I became an Enrolled Agent – which allows me to represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service and is a requirement for becoming a chief financial officer. Earning this designation includes an exam that is nearly impossible to pass after the first try. I was extremely intimidated but refused to let fear get in my way. I studied hard and managed to pass these tests the first time around. I was left with an overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment for what I had achieved.

Triggered by my father’s passing – and my newfound confidence – I decided to compete in my first beauty pageant. I wanted to find new, interesting ways to be involved in my community and pageants seemed to be a great avenue for helping promote charitable organizations and causes. I also loved the idea of being part of a network of people who volunteered and helped one another’s charities.

I won my first bikini competition in 2019, and went on to win several other titles including Mrs. Poulsbo, Mrs. Washington World International, Ms. World America, and Ms. World International.

In 2021, I was named the World Class Beauty Queens North America Ambassador, and most recently in 2022, I serve as Miss Bikini WA Fitness, Miss Bikini Spokesmodel and World Class Bikini Models Ambassador. I was also recently appointed Editor in Chief of World Class Bikini Models Magazine.

These titles have given me a platform for raising money and awareness for causes I truly believe in. Just by putting on a crown and sash, I can go to a charity event and draw a huge crowd of people in a way that never happened before. I have realized that I can really leverage this to do something more meaningful on a larger scale.

My role as a mother has also shown me that I can do things that I didn’t think were possible. My oldest son, Brycen, and twin boys Brodi and Bronx have made me see everything in my life completely differently. Being a mom has heavily influenced my volunteer work because it gives me a higher sense of compassion and empathy – especially when I meet the children who need my help. I see these kiddos through the lens of a mother, and often, as my own children.

As I look to the future, I am excited to continue to build my tax practice and charity work, as well as dabble in some new projects. Looking back at my life up until this point, I believe all of my experiences, even the negative ones, have transformed me from a young, shy girl from humble backgrounds into an award-winning financial executive and humanitarian leader.