Pamela Z. Clary in the Memphis Business Journal

First job: Cashier in neighborhood department store.

Education: B.S. in design and textiles from Drexel University; MBA in finance from LaSalle University Last year was $40,447. We are quoted at $33,090 this year. Maybe $35,000 to be on safe side.

Residence: Memphis

Business philosophy: Think outside the box.

Best way to keep competitive edge: Provide a service to the client that they need and cannot possibly perform themselves.

Guiding principle: Honesty and integrity are two things you must maintain in order to be successful in business. There are no gray areas.

Yardstick of success: Referrals from satisfied clients.

Goal yet to be achieved: The perfect three: profits up, expenses down and no debt. We are working on it.

JUDGMENT CALLS
Best business decision: To become a business owner

Worst business decision: I made a costly decision to hire a Web designer without getting any references. Lesson learned: Always check references.

Toughest business decision: Not being able to give raises to extraordinary employees because of the economy.

Biggest missed opportunity: The majority of our clients are governmental entities. We failed to become certified to do business in a certain jurisdiction. When the request for proposal came out, we could not become certified by the due date.

Mentor: My biggest fan and mentor was my Mom.

Word that best describes you: Pragmatic

TRUE CONFESSIONS
Like best about job: Problem solving.

Like least about job: Lack of time to do everything I need to do.

Pet peeve: Lack of cell phone etiquette whether driving, in an elevator, in a restaurant or a grocery store. Not everyone is interested in your conversation.

Most important lesson learned: Everything in the world is affected by the politics of money.

Person most interested in meeting: I would have loved to meet my paternal grandfather. He was a former slave.

Most respected competitor: Our industry has a few firms that are consistently at the top; PFM and PRAG come to mind.

Three greatest passions: Working to build the company, spending time with family and friends, and currently remodeling my home.

First choice for a new career: Scuba dive master on a live-aboard boat in the Caribbean.

PREDILECTIONS
Favorite quote: “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

Most influential book: Obviously, The Bible, but more secular, The Summerhouse by Jude Deveranx about a group of women who get an opportunity to go back in time and change their lives.

Favorite cause: I serve on the Board of the Women’s Foundation. We focus on funding organizations that help to bring women to economic self-sufficiency. “When you educate a woman, you set her free.”

Favorite status symbol: I am not into cars, jewelry or designer handbags but if I had a piece of beachfront property — now that would be a status symbol.

Favorite movie: “Imitation of Life” with Lana Turner and Juanita Moore, a real tear-jerker.

Favorite restaurant: Tsunami in Midtown.

Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere with an ocean and a beach but Costa Rica is one of my favorites.

What is on your iPod?: I lean toward R&B, mainly the ballads and especially Motown oldies but I have everything from Streisand to II Divo to Jay-Z on my iPod. When I workout at the gym, I listen to music with a serious beat in order to get motivated.

Favorite way to spend free time: I like anything that can provide a complete, relaxing experience such as walking through a museum, reading a book, strolling along the beach or playing cards with friends.

The Memphis Business Journal