Kim Adriano mixes adventure and opportunity
For 22 years, Kim Adriano ('79) called the corporate world of SC Johnson her professional home. Starting as an entry-level accountant in the early 1980s, Adriano worked her way up in the organization to the position of vice president and corporate controller.
Then the phone rang.
"A phone call came in one day from a recruiter," Adriano said. "My normal reply is, 'it would have to be something different and out there; a bit of an adventure for me to make a change, as I'm very happy at SCJ.'"
This time it was something different and "out there." The opportunity came from Bacardi Limited, the largest privately held spirits company in the world, based in Bermuda.
When she went to Bermuda, she liked what she saw and what a chance it was to mix adventure and opportunity.
Adriano first honed her financial skills as a business student at UW-Parkside, earning a bachelor of science degree in accounting. Because she was turning 17 years old when she graduated from Racine's Washington Park High School, her parents encouraged her to attend college close to home. Between the summer classes she took and the extra credits from College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams, Adriano was able to graduate from Parkside in close to three years. Soon after she took the CPA exam and earned exceptionally high marks.
Adriano's interest in accounting came early, and she knew she wanted to work in the business world. Initially, however, "I wasn't nearly as goal oriented and didn't fully understand my potential," she said. "My parents didn't push me in the same way they did my brother, which was typical of that era."
When asked to define her rise from UW-Parkside accounting student to a high-ranking officer with some of the world's most respected private companies, Adriano reflects on her career. "First of all, you have to do your best in whatever position you have," she said. "You may like some jobs more than others, but that shouldn't affect your performance. You have to recognize opportunities when they arise - and take advantage of them despite any risks you might foresee."
She is appreciative of her circumstances, and recognizes that there's always a bit of good timing to any successful career. More importantly, Adriano is thankful for the quality of the people she's been able to work with as managers, co-workers, and employees. "What makes people successful is much less about the technical skills and more about the interpersonal skills," she said.