Amanda Gokey

Director of Operations, Tropical Valley Foods, Inc.

What do you get when you add a background in food service to a degree in accounting? If you’re Amanda Gokey, you get a brilliant career managing operations for a growing local specialty foods business. Amanda credits her success to persistence, realizing that not everything happens the first time you take a crack at it! Her father’s example showed her that she could achieve anything through hard work and dedication, and with a major leadership position on her resume after fewer than ten years out of school, that seems to be true. Amanda is a first-generation college graduate and takes the opportunity to learn new things from multiple sources—from co-workers to family to complete strangers.

Hometown: North Bangor, NY
Age: 27
Education: B.S. Accounting, SUNY Plattsburgh

What’s your biggest professional success?
Being promoted to Director of Operations for Tropical Valley Foods at the age of 26. It is exciting to be managing a business I personally believe in.

What’s your dream job?
My dream job would be to work at Google. The change Google has made on our everyday lives is inspiring. I like the quirky energy the company has combined with the desire for continuous improvement and innovation!

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I am a career-oriented person. My duty to the company comes first, sometimes to the extent of a 60+ hour work week. At the same time, it is important to schedule time off, which I do during the slow season. Luckily for me, that is the Summer time because chocolate melts! ☺ I also recommend some form of daily exercise; it helps you leave work at work.

What important lessons have you learned in your career?
I have learned to be persistent. Not everything happens the first time you take a crack at it. Find additional information and multiple alternatives to each problem. Overall, if you are passionate about something, see it through despite the obstacles in your way. “If at first you don’t succeed…”

What’s most exciting trend happening in the community right now?
To me, I enjoy seeing people take on a healthier lifestyle. I am finding more people that enjoy running & hiking. We have a great community with access to the lake, trails, and gyms. These are great features we can all take advantage of.

What would make the North Country a more enjoyable place to live and work?
Better access to the lake with more ways to enjoy it (trails, restaurants, etc.). More job opportunities to encourage young professionals to stay in the area.

Describe your personal brand in three words.
Introvert, Analytical, Leader

Who is your mentor and what have you learned from him/her?
Primarily my father. He has told me since I was a child that I could do anything I wanted to if I put my mind to it. He has shown me how much can be achieved through hard work and dedication. Professionally, I learn from everyone. If there is something I don’t know what to do with, I gather a team and have a discussion. I have been taught new things by strangers, co-workers, employees, & family, there is something to learn from everyone.

How do contribute to the culture of your company?
Being the leader of a small company allows me to do many things I would not be able to do in a big corporation. I oversee about 30 employees, I know all of their names and see them on a regular basis. I promote a relaxed work atmosphere and a very team-oriented approach to work. What does this mean? We share in our success & failures, we help each other out, no one is too big or small to make a contribution to the company. I want employees to be comfortable at work and enjoy what they are doing each day.

What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
I am not a big risk taker, I am too analytical and logical for that. Or as I like to call it, I have “life-preservation skills” that I abide by. I do occasionally dabble in gambling or drink milkshakes (despite being lactose-intolerant).

What is something that no one would guess about you?
I am the first college graduate in my family.

Write a note to your younger self…
Keep rocking on kid, you are on the pathway to success! Maybe be a little bit nicer to your brother.