Donna Sandoval, CGFM
ASD Deputy Director
Co-CFO Human Services Department
2015-2016 New Mexico AGA Chapter President
A; I got involved with the AGA when I started working at the Human Services Department (HSD); there were several members in the Administrative Services Division.
Q: How did you choose government financial management as your career?
A: I have a BBA in Accounting, and the security of state government convinced me that I wanted to work in government. My first job in state government was with the Taxation and Revenue Department; I started working in the financial management area at HSD. The amount of federal funding and complexity we have at HSD has made every year interesting.
Q: What’s the most important issue today in government financial management?
A: Remaining compliant with federal and state requirements is the most important issue. If you add the program or system changes that are normal course of doing business non-compliance can result in loss of federal or state funds.
Q: Do you have a mentor and how has this person helped you?
A: I think several managers I worked for have influenced me. I also learn from co-workers, the more years I work the more I am able to contribute in my job.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally and how did you overcome it?
A: The biggest challenge has been trying to overcome the loss of federal funds because of reporting problems. The loss of federal funds forced me to find ways of knowing the signs if we are going off track, and how processes that I used in prior years did not provide the information we needed. Over the past two years I have been able to identify major processes that I should review in-depth and high-level balances that give me a snapshot of where we are on federal reporting, such as cash balances.
Q: What advice would you give a new college graduate joining the field?
A: I would tell a new college graduate that they should consider pursuing a Master’s degree. I would also advise them to study for a certification; this would help them in finding a job and moving ahead in their career.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you never received but you wish you had?
A: The best advice that I never received was “you will have successes and failures in your career but knowing how to learn from both is the key to long-term success”.
Q: What the best thing about AGA?
A: I like the opportunity for CPE and learning from the members. I learn skills from participating in training events that will help me in my career.