Celebrating Women’s History Month: A Balancing Act
With two young kids at home, Sara Dopkin, an Audit Manager in DHG’s Baltimore office, has had to adapt and learn how to balance her roles as accountant and mom. Continue reading as Sara shares some of her learnings and how she makes it all work.
How did your career path lead you to your current role at DHG?
I started my career as an intern with Stegman & Company (now DHG) working part-time while putting myself through college. After my internship, Stegman asked me to stay as a staff accountant and I began my full-time career in 2002. I worked really hard and progressed through the ranks, putting in the necessary hours and learning as much as possible. I found that accounting is a very challenging yet rewarding career. In 2010, I left to work as CFO for a community bank in Baltimore, a role that provided great experience and insight, but ultimately it did not give me the flexibility that I needed at the time with a newborn at home. I returned to DHG and public accounting in 2013 and have been here ever since.
Don’t feel pressured into trying to be the best at all roles in your life. Realize you can’t do it all yourself – get help if you can… I would not be able to have this career without the support of my husband, family and close friends. I truly enjoy my work at DHG, it’s challenging and rewarding and I really like and trust my coworkers. I also look forward to going home and spending quality time with my family. When I’m at home I am fully present and focused on my kids and my husband.
When I had my first child I thought I had to give up my career in order to be the best mother I could be. At the time, I forgot all about me and I didn’t realize I wasn’t taking care of myself until I started feeling stressed and forgetful, which is out of character for me. I think it all came with wanting to do my best in all aspects of my life. It took time, reading and advice from others to realize I had to take care of myself first – that’s the first step in being a good wife, a good mother, a good friend and a good employee. On an airplane, you read the in case of emergency instructions, where you are instructed to take care of yourself before anyone else – there’s a reason for that. For me, taking care of myself might mean meditating for a few minutes at night, getting up a little earlier to have some quiet time in the morning or reading inspirational quotes to stay positive. Trust me, I learned all of this the hard way after having my first child, but now with two young kids, things are better than ever because I’ve learned that you can’t be everything to everybody all the time.
As we celebrate Women’s History Month at DHG, can you think of a woman or women who have been an inspiration to you personally or professionally?
In my years as a public accountant, I have been fortunate to work side by side with some of the smartest, kindest and most confident women I have come to know. Their dedication to work has set a great example for me to follow.
My mother has also been a huge inspiration to me. I grew up in a household where my mother and her mother worked and contributed to the household financially all while raising a family. She really pushed me from a young age to do my best, go to college, and get a degree so I could be self-sufficient. My mom and her work ethic taught me that the opportunities are there but you have to work hard to achieve your goals and be successful.
Sara is an Audit Manager in DHG’s Baltimore office. She loves traveling, especially to her native Peru and the mountains. Above all, she loves spending time with her husband and two kids.