June Face of Ensemble – Laurie Gerstman
The June Face of Ensemble is our Senior Accounting Executive (Long Beach Office), Laurie Gerstman!
When did you join Ensemble and what do you do?
My journey with Ensemble started as the Sr. Property Accountant for the Long Beach World Trade Center. I began working with Ensemble when they acquired that property in March 2002, but I didn’t become an official employee until November of that year. I’m still working in the Accounting Department, but I’ve been much more involved with all of our hotel and multi-family projects in recent years.
What do you like most about working at Ensemble?
I like the talented and dedicated people I work with, the quality of the projects we do, and the overall camaraderie of the company. I think Ensemble’s employee retention and longevity speaks volumes for the company as a whole. We’ve experienced some growing pains in the development arena, but I think we’re moving in the right direction now.
Why or how did you get into your current line of work?
Although my degree is in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance, since graduating from college I’ve always worked in an accounting role. It’s ironic because I intentionally did not choose accounting as my emphasis because I naively viewed it as too narrow (i.e., the Big 8, now Big 4 accounting firms). In my pre-Ensemble life I actually went to graduate school to become a Marriage and Family Therapist, but realized three units short of my Master’s Degree, that working in the left-brained accounting world while interning in the right-brained counseling world was too exhausting. Paying the bills (my own) won and accounting it has been ever since.
Where did you grow up and what was your first job?
I grew up in Torrance, CA and I am a SoCal native. Although I babysat and had a couple of seasonal jobs during high school, my first job of any length was working at a local movie theater. It was probably the most fun job I’ve ever had – I worked with great people, some of whom are still friends today, and the free movie perk was a not only inexpensive entertainment but also a great bargaining chip for a very cash poor college student.
What do you do for fun after work?
When time allows, I enjoy making jewelry, but I seem to have more time to accumulate beads and inspirations, than I have to make anything. I also enjoy gardening and like to plant a container vegetable garden in the summer. I’m also a big fan of live theatre, especially musical theatre, and my husband, Cliff, daughter, Sara, and I see as many musicals as our schedule and budget will allow.
What is your favorite or most memorable vacation spot?
Alaska! Two years ago I had the good fortune to go on a bucket list trip that included Vancouver, Canada, an Alaskan cruise and a few days in the interior of Alaska, including Denali National Park, home of the peak formerly known as Mt. McKinley. It was the most incredible trip and something I would do over again in a heartbeat if given the opportunity. We cruised among glaciers, whitewater-rafted in a glacier fed river, explored a rainforest, saw lots of marine and wildlife, and I even held a giant banana slug (Google it).