Veronica A. Cram
Founder & CEO, InSight Strategic Solutions
Veronica brings a wealth of both education and experience to her leadership of InSight Strategic Solutions. With more than two decades working in financial operational capacities, and eight years studying accounting and business, she has cultivated her gift for identifying “any holes in the boat,” providing solutions to plug those holes, while setting a successful course to a business’s destination.
Veronica earned her Bachelor’s degree in Accountancy from New Mexico State University, her Master of Accountancy from The University of Alabama in Huntsville, and her Executive Master of Business Administration from Auburn University.
Veronica has worked in a variety of industries, including nonprofit healthcare clinics, vehicle fleet management, manufacturing, defense, and for-profit education. She works with clients today to lead them to success by continuously exceeding goals, resulting in higher cash flows and increased profitability. From one-person start-ups to multi-faceted businesses, Veronica has helped a variety of companies realize their financial goals.
Her deep understanding of business, combined with the appreciation of what work-life balance really means, has allowed Veronica to become a successful entrepreneur who uses her extensive education and professional experiences to solve the financial and accounting challenges her clients face on a daily basis.
When you were little, what did you dream of being when you grew up?
I don’t recall having one specific dream for my future when I was a child. I always dreamed of moving away from home though! Having spent most of my childhood in Huntsville, I knew that I wanted to spread my wings and see what awaited in me in other parts of the country. I went to college at New Mexico State University, worked in Baltimore, Md., for a time, and then, as we often do, made the decision to come back home to Huntsville. And guess what? It was the right decision! The Huntsville of my youth has grown, not just in size, but in mindset and offerings available to people from varying backgrounds, communities, and cultures. I’m so happy to be a part of this beautiful thriving community once again.
What circumstances or people helped shape you in your career?
There are numerous people who have helped shape me into the woman I am today, starting with my parents. It was from them that I learned that success comes through hard work and continuous learning. I’ve been blessed to have been exposed to many different leadership styles throughout my life. Some were the types of leaders I aspired to one day be, others were a perfect example of “what not to do!” But I believe both experiences were crucial for both my professional and personal growth.
I worked for Tom Moore, the CEO of Education Corporation of America, for approximately eight years. His leadership through words AND actions, taught me that if we do right by our teams and our communities, they will do right by us. Secondly, must value the team above all else, it’s always best to have the entire team rowing together.
John Schuman, Regional VP of Education Corporation of America, taught me to ask questions constantly, especially about the data. Numbers are numbers, but if you dig into the people and the processes, you’ll more fully understand the best way to move the numbers.
How did the pandemic affect your career?
As it did for many, the pandemic changed my life. In early 2020 I was working long days with back-to-back client meetings; but when the pandemic hit, I suddenly needed to be available for my daughter, husband, and also myself A LOT more. At first, I did an overcorrection. I started work as a government contractor which allowed me the flexibility to be at home to help my daughter with her virtual schoolwork, and generally just be more available for my family. But even though I was more present for my family, I felt my inner fire slipping away. Eventually, there wasn’t even a tiny spark. I suddenly realized I could never be the best version of myself without that spark of passion for my work. That’s when I decided to start my own consulting business, and the spark is back! I now have the flexibility to work with clients, make my own schedule, be present for my family, and keep that fire for helping others help themselves, alive in me.
What is the most rewarding thing about your work?
The most rewarding thing about working with my clients is when I see the lightbulb go off. As a consultant my role is to enable business owners and other decision makers to see their financials in a clear way, so that they can make the best decisions for their companies. There is no better feeling than when a client says I have provided them clarity and insight into their business and numbers. Their gut has gotten them to a very good spot most of the time, however, at some point in time, owners want to actually understand the data and the “why” behind certain decisions. Helping them achieve that is why I love doing what I do.
What differentiates you from your peers or competitors?
I’m not sure I have any locally! I am proud to offer a very unique service to the business owners and decision makers in our area. Accountants and their teams record what has already happened and remind owners how much to pay in taxes. Financial planners help owners manage their finances and investments, insurance, taxes, planning for retirement. Business/Executive coaches help owners gain self-awareness, clarify their personal and professional goals, improve leadership skills, and think strategically. I’m the piece that connects all of these. I use the accounting data to help forecast future profitability and cash flow; my understanding of the business operations to help set operational goals for the company; create compensation plans that will only lead to increased profitability; and plan for tax payments. And I work with the owner’s business coaches and financial planners to ensure we are all heading towards the same goal for the owner. My job is to help the owner increase profitability and cash flow so that they can continue to grow, increase their company’s value, or simply, hold it steady for years to come.
What civic organizations or nonprofits have you been involved with, and why have those been important to you?
I am proud to serve on the board of the Fantasy Playhouse Children’s Theater Academy. Through my work with this organization, I see the children grow more confident and more comfortable with public speaking, something which will benefit them one day in their professional lives. I currently serve on the Board of the Women’s Economic Development Council as the Treasurer and value being a part of this organization that helps business leaders connect, grow, and give back to our community. I was honored to be part of Leadership Huntsville’s flagship class 33 and participate in several local volunteer projects including Randolph School’s Under the Christmas Tree, Huntsville Hospital Foundation’s Swim for Melissa, and serve as a Mentor with the AUM Foundation.
What awards, accolades or accomplishments are you proudest of?
Being a mom is definitely the accomplishment I am most proud of. My daughter sometimes leaves me little sticky notes with positive sayings on them. One that I keep on my desk is a preprinted stickie note that says “You are a…” and has multiple boxes that can be checked. She checked “multitask master” and wrote: “You are always being an awesome mom while still being a successful business owner and helping others. I love you mama.” There is no higher accolade that I could ever be given and no greater accomplishment that I could ever achieve.