Writing your own story isn’t always easy – but it’s yours alone to write. That’s a message Tina McCormick, the founder and CEO of global tax technology company Enterprise Tax Solutions, Inc. in Mt. Pleasant, wants to share with young people on the precipice of their own careers.
“Be the driving force of your story,” she says. “Do not accept the restrictions others place upon you.”
It’s just some of the wisdom she’s gained after beginning her career in 1985 as a staff accountant at a firm in Mt. Pleasant, working her way to a director role at a large company in Chicago and ultimately launching eTaxSolutions in 1999.
McCormick was recently recognized as a Michigan Chamber of Commerce ATHENA Woman for her leadership and was featured in the chamber’s #LeadLikeAWoman interview series. The series highlights working women for attributes like learning constantly, acting courageously, fostering collaboration and giving back – the sort of leadership traits that come to mind among those who work closely with McCormick.
“Through McCormick’s entrepreneurial insight and leadership, she has created a company culture that leads to strong talent retention,” says Erin Strang, president and CEO of the Central Michigan University Research Corporation, a coworking space with programs focused on entrepreneurial success and business growth. “Her ability to utilize talent from Central Michigan University and offer high growth positions has allowed her company to expand on a global scale.”
A Michigan native, McCormick moved eTaxSolutions to Mt. Pleasant in 2008 – a decision that felt like coming “full circle.”
“The small town that I once left for a new adventure now offers me the opportunity to grow my company and give back to the community,” she says.
Instead of defying expectations, McCormick says she looks forward to the day that “a woman in leadership becomes common.”
“That she is considered extraordinary, not due to her leadership position, but rather for her leadership abilities,” she says. “My hope is that girls everywhere, when asked about becoming a leader, respond, ‘Of course I can!’”
She wants boys and girls alike to know that defining success is in their hands, whether it’s being a CEO or raising crops. The idea of “choice” is key, she emphasizes; the choice to keep learning, to chart your own course, to “stay or go” when faced with a leader or workplace that isn’t right.
Try to “be the person that asks more of themselves than the others around you,” she adds, and don’t let anyone put limits on your potential.
“From my experience in business, the companies, organizations and people worth working for and with will not care about your gender. They care about your abilities. They care about your work ethics and if you are trustworthy, kind and have a positive attitude. They care that you’re the best candidate for the job and will compensate you accordingly,” she says. “If they don’t, it is time to move on.”