Execellence in Leadership Award
To be successful in life, you must follow your passions and make them pay the bills. That’s the philosophy of Laurie Ben-Amo, senior executive vice president and COO at Abel/Noser Corp.
And Ben-Amo has let her passion for accounting lead her along that journey – all the way from the classrooms at Hofstra University, to several Big 8 accounting firms, and now to Wall Street.
“You have to follow your strengths and let them guide you to a career and not a job,” she told Traders. “I knew I wanted to be an accountant at an early age.”
Her journey began back in 1983 when she worked for Touche Ross in its audit group, part of the financial services division in downtown New York. It was her first real exposure to all things Wall Street and its move toward cutting-edge technology – from wipeboards to mainframe computers and PCs.
“I looked around and said, ‘This is where I want to be.'”
After three years at the Big 8 firm, Ben-Amo moved to the brokerage world with E.F. Hutton. In its commodities accounting group, she learned all she could about automation and the world of finance and trading.
“Something new happened there that helped propel my career,” she remembered. It was there that she acquired a staff, and the fire for the financial services world was really set ablaze.
After a brief four-year hiatus between 1988 and 1992 to raise her family, Ben-Amo returned to the workforce doing some consulting work. She then returned to her first love, accounting, at Bernard Katz & Co., the accountants for her current employer, Abel/Noser. After working with her as an outsider contractor, Abel/Noser lured her away in 1998.
“I was already familiar with Abel/Noser, contributing to their automation and working with their financial group,” she said. “The transition to from outside accountant to controller was a natural fit.”
Once there, she was mentored by Paul Rosenthal, who taught her that hard work and a passion for what one does are the keys to success. It’s a lesson she shares today with her own children.
“If you work hard, you can be recognized,” she remembered Rosenthal telling her. “When you love what you’re doing, it can positively impact everyone around you.”
And that impact has been felt by Ben-Amo herself, who has been able to rise within Abel/Noser’s ranks with hard work and that same passion she first had while attending college.
“It’s something I learned at my first class,” she said, “that accounting is the language of business and it gave me the ability to know business, understand it and love it.”