Melinda B. Spisso
Age as of Jan. 1: 39
Title: Certified Public Accountant
Company: Spisso CPA
Savannah neighborhood: Ardsley Park
Q: What is your top business growth accomplishment?
A: More than doubled client accounts since the firm’s inception in 2014.
Q: What are your top business awards/accolades?
A: Generation Next: Savannah’s Top Rising Stars of Business
A: Leadership Savannah Graduate 2012-13
Q: What are your top philanthropic leadership roles?
A: President and finance committee chair, Blessed Sacrament School Board
A: Girls on the Run — coach and running buddy
A: Junior Achievement — classroom volunteer, teaching the JA program in the classrooms for Blessed Sacrament School
A: Treasurer, Kensington Park pool board
Q: How will you do business differently in the coming year or decade?
A: I started my practice to have a work life balance. I have developed business relationships with other professional women and men that have done the same thing. We are passionate about our careers and our families.
I believe this is increasingly important for everyone in the work force. As the job market improves, I believe you will see more companies offering work-life balance incentives to attract the best employees. This is something that I would like to keep in mind as my practice grows and I start to employ people.
Q: What technological or cultural advances are you looking forward to in the coming year or decade?
A: Technological advances are continuing to create efficiencies in how we do business in the accounting field. Enhanced software with research capabilities is helping us to prepare tax returns with more information.
Federal and state governments are increasingly improving their technological capabilities for things like e-filing returns and researching client accounts. We can attach support documentation to an electronic tax return as a PDF. More and more firms are operating as a paperless office, and I hope to move in that direction as well.
Q: What qualities or assets will distinguish Savannah and preserve/advance our local economy?
A: We will continue to build on the growth of the manufacturing sector with our port, railways and airport. We have Ft. Stewart as a large military instillation. Tourism will continue to grow and develop as we look at continuous investment and preservation of our historical buildings.
The healthcare sector will grow. Georgia has worked to improve our state’s ability to attract retirees to the area. I think as the housing market improves, we will see retirees increasingly choose Savannah over Florida.
Q: What economic drivers and business sectors promise the most growth in the next year or decade and why?
A: We are seeing the commercial warehousing sector coming back. There are fewer vacancies, and I believe this will continue. The health care sector will continue to grow in Savannah as our population of those over 65 increases.
I am also seeing technology start-ups that are not tied to geographic locations choose Savannah for our quality of life and affordable real estate. I think this is going to be an area of growth in our community as the economy improves.
Q: What college degrees will be the most in-demand in the Savannah area and why?
A: Computer science or information systems, nursing and health care administration and also graphic and interior design.
I believe technical college degrees will be in-demand as we look to lure manufacturing to the area. As the cost of higher education escalates, I think parents and students are looking at technical, community and trade schools as options for people not looking for a traditional four-year degree.
Q: What advice do you have for other Savannah leaders in the coming year or decade?
A: To listen and observe before speaking. In the age of social media and constant video cameras, it’s more important than ever that our leaders remain objective and not quick to place judgement or blame.
Honestly, it’s important advice for all of us to remember. It’s a delicate balance and something we will continue to deal with in the future.
Q: What innovation of yours do you hope will be remembered by future generations?
A: I am a Christian, a wife, a mother of three daughters (10, 8, 4) and a business owner. It is within that order that I try to live my life to the best of my ability. I try to teach my children to know that with everything in life you have to have balance.
I firmly believe that you should always leave something better than you found it, and I hope that is how I am remembered.