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Employee Spotlight

March 2014

 

Sharon “Shari” Whiting

Controller and Director of Budgets

 

“If the shoe fits …”, a common phrase, amply applies to Shari Whiting, who came to Hamilton in February 2007, and is Hamilton’s controller and director of budgets.


After working at the University of Albany Foundation for 16 years, Shari decided she had reached her professional potential and wanted to grow in her career. She started looking for a new position and literally traveled from one side of the country to the other in search of the perfect job. She liked the setting of a small, private college and the environment at Hamilton, and has found the perfect fit.


Taking a non-traditional route to becoming a certified public accountant, Shari majored in math at SUNY Albany. After a little encouragement from her older brother, she also took some accounting courses, which led to a minor. Her plans to become a teacher were set aside as she further explored her love of working with numbers. To become a CPA she had to take additional classes and work in the field of public accounting for two years before sitting for the exam.


Shari wears two hats at Hamilton. As controller, she is responsible for the proper recording and reporting of all College financial activities. She oversees the preparation of the financial statements and the annual audit by an outside accounting firm. August and September are busy months for these activities. One thing that you probably don’t think about is that the College files a tax return. Shari prepares Hamilton’s tax return, Form 990, during the early part of the calendar year.


Shari is also the director of budgets so she spends several months overseeing the preparation of the budget for trustee approval in March. In November and December she is busy gathering information from campus departments, and January and February are spent putting the budget together, analyzing trends and changes, and considering different scenarios. Shari said her work is made much easier by the cooperation of everyone on campus. In fact, that’s what she likes best about her job — the collegiality of her colleagues. “Everyone works well together providing information and making decisions.”


Shari has two sons. Corey, the oldest, is an attorney living in Hong Kong, and Shari has enjoyed visiting there. Her other son, Andrew, lives in Washington, D.C., and works for the public school system as a coordinator for strategic staffing and special projects in the human resources department. Shari convinced him to join the ranks of higher education, which he did for a while, when he first moved to Washington, D.C.


Shari still has close ties to the Albany area. She enjoys tennis and plays on a USTA team in Albany with the teams playing locally. Some of the teams go on to bigger tournaments, but Shari hasn’t done that yet. She also likes to ski and tries to fit in an annual ski weekend in Vermont with friends. She feels it’s important to have a balance of work and play in life.


If she weren’t at Hamilton, Shari says she would be retired and living near a beach. But, because she loves working here and with so many cooperative and friendly co-workers, the shoe certainly fits for Shari. If you need a tennis partner, give her a call. Or if you’d just like to stop in and say hello, you’ll find her at the Philip Spencer House.