Greg Haselden Furman University Alumni

Greg Haselden '94

— Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations, Erskine College and Theological Seminary

Mentors come in practically all shapes and sizes and can range from a supervisor to a close friend or acquaintance. Everyone has mentors, even though mentoring relationships may not be formally, or structurally, created or recognized by the parties involved.


Personal/Professional Journey

How did you find your way to where you are today? Share a little about your professional journey.

While my family has several members who are teachers/professors, I did not envision working in higher education when I graduated with an accounting degree from Furman. Initially, I started with Deloitte (formerly Deloitte and Touche LLP) as a staff accountant and later moved to the position of senior accountant. During that time, I passed the CPA exam.

While at Deloitte, I joined the board of St. Joseph's High School, a new and growing Catholic high school in the Upstate, where I served as treasurer. Within two years of joining, the board realized it needed a resident business officer to grow the school and assist in negotiating financing for a move to a permanent campus away from downtown Greenville. I agreed to join the school as its first director of finance and business operations to set up a formal accounting system for the school and to oversee the physical move to the new campus on Interstate 85.

I anticipated working at St. Joseph's for one year with the goal of attending Harvard Business School to earn my MBA. Thanks to the significant opportunities to grow the business office and school through a hands-on, grass roots effort, I chose to remain for six years with no regrets.

After reaching a plateau at the school, I received the call to Erskine College in Due West, SC to help stabilize the business office. I currently serve as the senior vice president for finance and operations as well as treasurer of the board, and will soon complete 13 years.

In addition to my CFO-level responsibilities, I teach accounting classes at Erskine and Furman in the Undergraduate Evening Studies program.
What inspires you?

Personally, a career challenge inspires me, but more the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of those around me is always more important.

Within the field

When providing advice for professional development, what are some tools or resources one should consider?

  • Any professional organization dedicated to one's field of study (e.g. the AICPA and State Board of Accountancy for accountants)
  • Relevant publications from professional organizations
  • Stephen R. Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  • Chip Heath and Dan Heath's Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard
  • Keep an organized calendar. I manage mine through Google.
How have mentors impacted your professional development? How did you develop those relationships?

Mentors come in practically all shapes and sizes and can range from a supervisor to a close friend or acquaintance. Everyone has mentors, even though mentoring relationships may not be formally, or structurally, created or recognized by the parties involved. Mentoring relationships happen in the classroom between teacher and student, on the field between coach and player, among friends and co-workers, and between supervisors and employees.

Mentors must first display good, ethical behavior and then invest their time in developing and helping others achieve the best versions of themselves they can be.

As I examine 23 years after Furman, I recognize mentors throughout my life, in fact too many to list. Some mentoring relationships developed naturally and organically and others were cultivated. I would encourage anyone to be proactive in asking for help and advice. Most people respond generously to such requests.

For someone just getting started

What do you wish you would have known getting started in your field?

I planned on being an accountant from the time I entered Furman as a freshman, so there were not too many surprises. I was surprised to discover in the working world that you will meet people from all walks of life. Yes, there is a Furman bubble, and not everyone shares similar views and values as you do. However, together you must coexist to achieve the mission of the organization you serve.
What additional education or certification is required/recommended

  • CPA or CMA, or both
  • Continuing professional education (required for the license)

Furman University

How has your liberal arts background shaped your career path or supported your success?

One of the greatest attributes of a liberal arts education is the ability to think critically from a variety of disciplines. A student does not always recognize this process at work within given coursework, but it is there. The business community continues to emphasize the importance of critical thinking and professional skepticism in a world bombarded with more information available than in any other time in human history.
Any final advice for students and recent grads?

  • Be willing to take risks—calculated risks. Too often students are unwilling to take risks in the event they might fail. If some of America's great inventors had taken that attitude, we would not have the standard of living we enjoy today.
  • Be willing to go the extra mile. Too often the last 2-3 generations have given up too easily when "the going gets tough." There is no substitute for determination and true grit. As President John F. Kennedy stated in his Rice Stadium Moon Speech, "We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."

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