Debbie Willis | Ceres Talent Controller & Managing Partner

Debbie Willis
Controller

Debbie is one of Ceres Talent’s secret weapons. She oversees finance and accounting operations, including cash management, accounts receivable, accounts payable and payroll processing, among many other functions. Debbie manages our day-to-day operations and works closely with our consultants to ensure they are onboarded onto our team and, most importantly, compensated in a timely manner. As a crucial internal partner, she ensures that Ceres’ marketing recruiters can do what they love—matching exceptional candidates with clients. Prior to joining Ceres, Debbie worked as an environmental consultant for eight years and then shifted her focus to providing bookkeeping services to small businesses. She has a degree in Biology-Geology from the University of Rochester.

Advice I Wish I’d Received Earlier in My Career

Make yourself happy and don’t worry so much about pleasing everyone else. It’s important to do your job well, but don’t burn yourself out in the process.

My Dream Job If I Weren’t at Ceres Talent

Playing as a lounge pianist. I’ve been playing piano for as long as I can remember. In high school, I often accompanied the chorus, played the spare piano parts for our band and orchestra, and accompanied singers for their performances and auditions. I had briefly considered going to music school, but gave up that idea when I figured I’d be more starving than artist. I was classically trained, and I’ve always been in awe of performers who can improv their way through jazz and show tunes, making it look and sound so effortless. My two kids take lessons, and it’s so nice to now be in the audience watching them perform.

My Very First Job

Playing the organ during the Wednesday night Christian Science meetings in Woodstock, NY. I made $15 an hour! Although it was only one hour a week, it was easy money and far more than my minimum-wage friends made at the time. I got the job when I was 14, and I was pretty shy and nervous about performing in front of others. Performing on a regular schedule really helped me learn to manage my stage fright. It also helped me improve my awkward teenage social skills because the church members were so kind and always wanted to speak with me before I headed home.

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