Team Q&A: Chelsey Lawton – Office Manager/Assistant Controller
For months now, our Office Manager/Assistant Controller Chelsey Lawton has worked diligently to make our work environment hospitable and eco-friendly, whether that’s in the office or for our remote-first staff. Please join me in a long-overdue welcome for Chelsey to the Virtual Peaker team!
How did your previous life prepare you for Virtual Peaker?
Working in multiple different industries, from the cheese business to the car business, really helped prepare me for joining VP. I look at the past as learning experiences that got me to where I am today. Virtual Peaker has allowed me to spread my wings. While working with companies like Sargento and Harley Davidson I was able to adapt my skills in both the accounting side of the business and the office/administration side of things.
I had the opportunity to start from a lower-level position within Sargento and grow with the team to become the finance manager of the Central US. I was able to go from simply processing check requests to helping plan the financials and spending for the whole year. I attended sales meetings where I got to learn about marketing and new strategy.
With a military fiance staying in one location was not an option so we relocated often causing my departure from Sargento and opening the door for new endeavors. While at Harley Davidson I took on all the day-to-day financials and incorporated all of the HR/Payroll functions, which set me up for success in my role with Virtual Peaker. Having the time working so hands-on in multiple areas is what gave me a leg up for my current role.
Daily, I was interacting with every backend part of the business, not unfamiliar with my role here at Virtual Peaker. I handled not only the Harley Davidson side of the business but also the BMW side. This meant handling two separate sets of accounting and also managing two separate ways of doing EVERYTHING, from the ways commission was paid out to how inventory was processed and audited.
Tell us about your role at Virtual Peaker.
I’ve been lucky enough to join the team as the office manager. With this role comes a lot of responsibility spanning from payroll and accounting to HR. I get to assist in the continual growth of the company by assisting with our hiring. While getting to work closely with team leads and finding new candidates, I get the opportunity to speak with potential new hires and people that are interested in Virtual Peaker all while being able to promote this amazing company.
When I am not handling HR and hiring, I am working on our books and making sure everyone gets paid, from employees to vendors. I have also taken on the invoicing for VP and have been learning all the ins and outs of each customer’s billing and contracts. Building relationships with AP teams throughout all our customers is one of my favorite parts of the job. Customer relations are an important part of any business and having the ability to be part of that process is great. The hands-on experience I have had in the past has helped me jump into this role and build out my processes for how to handle a schedule that is always changing.
While at Virtual Peaker, I’ve also spearheaded a new payroll system swap and the implementation of an AMAZING 401k plan. While handling HR and payroll I get to be hands-on in our benefits packages as well. Working closely to make sure our employees have the best benefits possible and that things are as easy and clean-cut as possible.
How do you personally engage in sustainability efforts?
As part of the sustainability committee, I not only practice sustainability at work but also at home. We use motion sensors for light switches throughout our house to make sure no unnecessary lights stay on. This has been a huge help in our home as my fiance tends to leave a room without thinking about turning the light off. We changed smart plugs throughout the home as well, while this does not save a ton every bit counts. We also recycle and try to use as many reusable bags as possible to avoid plastic and paper waste.
Anytime I go out shopping whether for groceries or VP supplies, I use cloth bags to hold our items. Not only do these bags benefit our environment they’re also convenient for bringing in all the things in one trip. No more having to line both arms with plastic heavy bags to avoid multiple trips, I now just grab my one or two large bags and head right in. Reusable bags are not the only thing that we practice using, we use reusable glass bottles for our cleaning supplies and buy sustainable eco-friendly brands like Grove Collaborative, Seventh Generation, and Dropps.
One thing that I believe everyone should do that takes zero time and effort, is to go paperless. This one small step can make a big difference, we set anything and everything we can to be paperless to avoid all the unnecessary paper waste. We also use washable cloths in place of paper napkins and paper towels.
What can you tell us about yourself?
I grew up in a military family and then ended up with someone who was also in the Air Force, so I’ve been blessed with the ability to move around and live all over. I have been lucky enough to live in Las Vegas, California, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Illinois, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, and Germany. With us moving around a lot I learned to be quick on my feet and very social. I adapt quickly to change, but not only that, I truly enjoy change. This is why I’m so happy to be in the role I’m in with Virtual Peaker having the opportunity to interact with the team and potential new team members.
I was diagnosed with ADHD at a young age and while some look at that as a hindrance, I have learned to use it to my advantage. I am an excellent multitasker by nature because of my ADHD. I credit my ability to wear many hats to this skill that I developed as I got older and began working.
While I’m not working I spend a lot of time with my fiance and dog exploring new parks, which usually ends abruptly when my Frenchie, Dozer, decides he is done walking and plants himself like a potato firmly on the ground. One of our favorite places to go exploring is Bernheim. Recently I have started to dabble in the world of Cricut and all the endless possibilities that it has, so making decals and shirts is becoming a new hobby.