Amanda (West) Kastler

Name: Amanda (West) Kastler
Degree(s) Earned:  Bachelor of Arts in Accounting; Minors:  Criminology, Business Administration, and Global Studies
Graduation Year(s):  December 2003
Current Profession:  Partner at Elliott, Robinson & Company, LLP

We’d love to share more about your professional success with our current and future students – please describe your career path to this point as well as your current profession:
In January 2004, I started work with Elliott, Robinson & Company, LLP as a junior accountant.  The size of the firm allowed me to experience all aspects of accounting, from payroll tax return preparation to assisting in financial statement audit preparation.  Throughout my career at Elliott, Robinson & Company, I continued to develop my technical skills and abilities which included earning the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) designation.  However, several intangible skills have allowed my career to flourish.  These intangible skills include training staff members, mentoring staff members, and improving my written and oral communication skills.  I have had incredible mentors in my ten years in the profession.  Their guidance and willingness to place an investment in me have been invaluable.  After ten years in the profession, I prepare and review audits of non-profit organization, for-profit businesses, and government-funded organizations and businesses.  I use my CFE credentials to provide preventative and detective services to businesses and organizations in the Springfield community.   Elliott, Robinson & Company was established in 1973.  After forty years of serving the Springfield community, I became the firm’s first female partner on January 1, 2014.

How did your experiences in the Breech School of Business prepare you for your professional career?
I, without a doubt, had the best technical training of any one of my peers.  The curriculum in the School of Business and the professors provide an outstanding educational base.  However, what has helped my career excel was the organizational and time management skills that I learned.  The School of Business provides so many extracurricular activities, and all professors encourage student involvement.  By being involved in numerous activities (SIFE and Delta Mu Delta – just to name a few), I had to learn how to balance a full school load and the commitments that came from the extracurricular activities.  In my current career, I have to balance multiple client requests and multiple staff requests, while being a wife and mother.   

Were there any specific courses or areas of study that were especially useful to you?
All the courses I took while at Drury have been useful in my career.  However, the intangible skills of time management, organization, individual responsibility, and personal ownership that I learned while attending the Breech School of Business are by far the most useful.

Do you have any favorite memories inside the Breech building?
Dr. Clayton – not that I didn’t have other amazing professors at my time at Drury, but the relationship I developed with Dr. Clayton is still impacting my career today.  There is no better professional cheerleader and mentor.

The Breech Lounge – I believe I spent more time in the Breech Lounge than I did at my residence while in school.  My classmates and I watched TV, worked on homework, studied, attended SIFE meetings, etc.

I also believe most, if not all, of my accounting classes were held in room 105.  So if I wasn’t in the Breech Lounge, I was sitting in the second row, in the second seat, on the left side of the classroom.  As you can see, I had accountant characteristics while in school!

What advice would you offer to a new student beginning their course of study in the Breech School of Business?
Don’t focus entirely on your technical skills and learning.  The lessons and skills you learn from all the other activities and programs offered in the Breech School of Business are just as valuable.