Fluent in the Language of Business
January 19, 2012
At first glance, it might seem like ballet and hip-hop have nothing to do with business. Alicia Ridley would beg to differ.
“I was always the leader of the team,” says Ridley of the time in her youth when she was involved in dance. “There I picked up leadership skills. I enjoy the team camaraderie, working toward a common goal.”
Leadership and competitiveness on the drill team translate directly to the boardroom for Ridley, president of ATMEquipment.com, a leading supplier of automated teller machines, parts and supplies.
“We have such a great support team,” she says. “[We’re] a family away from home. It’s a fun atmosphere; we have a great time and get the job done.”
When Ridley studied at and later graduated from Weber State University, she chose the field of Accounting with a desire to understand it from both a financial and a communication standpoint. “Accounting is the language of business. If you don’t know the financial side, there are so many opportunities that you miss out on,” she says. “I love being able to look at our financial statements and see how profitable we are.”
Ridley began her career with a small tax and accounting firm. In 2005, she was hired on as accounting manager at ATMEquipment.com, where she was only the second employee at the company. Five years later, the company now has 15 associates and has experienced phenomenal growth including a 116 percent increase in revenue from 2008 to 2009. Ridley was promoted to president in February of this year.
The company may be small, but every employee is referred to as an associate who brings unique talents and strengths to benefit the company as a whole. That sense of unity has been especially important in recent years when, a few short months after giving birth to her first child, Ridley was diagnosed with colon cancer.
“I had to take off three months consecutively,” she says. “The team stepped up and made things run so smoothly while I was gone.”
Although Ridley is relatively young and a minority in a predominately male industry, she sees those qualities as assets in her work, rather than as drawbacks.
“My management style makes me unique. I have an open respect management style. I love to celebrate great things. [The associates] respect me as their president, but they [interact with me with me] as a friend.”
Ridley is quick to credit her parents for setting the example of hard work and loyalty to the companies for which they worked. “[They] taught me dedication,” she shares. “[They] taught me that you stick through it—face your challenges head on. I’ve never been afraid of failure. My philosophy is, if you don’t put yourself out there, you’ll miss out. I put my whole heart and effort in doing the best job for [my associates].”
In spite of difficult times experienced across the board, “We still kept going strong,” she says. “We continue putting money into our associates’ 401k. We want to continue to take care of our associates.
“The industry we’re in is an ever-changing environment,” she says, eyeing the prospect of branching into new international markets in the future. And what about the recent growth of wireless connectivity? “You never know. We’re going to jump on every opportunity that comes our way.”