UNIBusiness - University of Norhtern Iowa College of Business

Dawn Hafner uses her own career transition to teach others

DawdInline.jpg

Dawn Hafner knew she had to take a personal risk. Considering her personality, it was a big risk.

Working as a certified public accountant specializing in retirement and qualified plan designs, Hafner (Accounting ’92) was working 60- to 65-hour weeks. But her second child was on the way. She knew she had to make a change to her work/life balance.

She started talking with RSM McGladrey, now known as Verisight, in 2003, and they worked out a hybrid schedule so Hafner could work and have time for her family. She worked four days a week — Monday through Thursday — as the engagement leader for the ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) Consulting Division. Two of those days she worked from home. 

At the time, work/life balance wasn’t at the forefront for most companies. Hafner worried the cut in hours and pay would stall her career. That made the transition a hard one for an ambitious and goal-oriented person like Hafner. 

“It was really hard to get to that point,” she said. “Before then, I was so driven in my career. I always wanted to reach that next level and always wanted the success that comes with career advancement. It was a big risk to take that cut in pay and change my schedule.”

Looking back, Hafner is thankful. Now the chief operational officer and senior vice president at Kidder Benefits in West Des Moines, Hafner has reaped the rewards of balancing her work schedule with home life and family. She has even turned it around and helped other people through writing and life coaching.

“It’s been amazing,” Hafner said. “The other thing that has come out of all this that I can teach people is slowing down actually makes you more effective.”

Hafner grew up just north of Cedar Falls and chose the University of Northern Iowa because of its proximity to home, its affordable tuition and its successful accounting program. She graduated in 1992, with CPA title in hand.

“The accounting program, it was all geared toward  ‘you're going to take the CPA and you're going to pass the CPA,’ ” Hafner said. “A lot of business schools, you're kind of left on your own for that.”

Beyond her career as an accountant, Hafner has become a well-known author and life coach. In 2014, she wrote blog posts touching on events in her life and how she processed them emotionally. At the time, she was also journaling as a way to grow personally and reflect on her daily experiences.

She combined the two and self-published a book titled “The Mapmaker.” The book teaches readers how they can use journaling to explore different aspects of their life. Hafner uses her own stories to help the reader toward self-exploration.

One of the chapters in the book is called “You’ll Never Catch Up.” It tells the story of how people, including Hafner, can fall into the trap of defining success by completing their to-do list, even at the expense of working extra hours.

“I think people fall into that mindset of ‘If I just work tonight and I just work Saturday, I'll get my to-do list done and then I'll feel better and then everything will be great at work,’ ” Hafner said. “But the truth is the more high-performing you are, the more projects you are given, which is great. But no one is going to set work limits for you other than you.”

After the book’s release in 2017, it hit Amazon’s top-sellers list in multiple categories. Hafner also received the 2018 New Apple Award for Excellence in Independent Publishing.

Before the book, Hafner moved into the life coaching realm with a business called “Be Where You Are.” She uses some of the points in her book to speak and inform her audience of the importance of balancing work and life.

Because of her own life transition 15 years ago, her words leave a bigger impact.

“It has given me a lot of credibility with other people that I'm living what I preach about work/life balance,” Hafner said. “Having that downtime to journal, meditate, think, just relax or read self-improvement books makes you so much better at your job while you are at your desk, at your computer or with your team because you're approaching it refreshed and fulfilled and thinking in more effective ways for your team."

Posted on 17-Apr-18


  






UNIBusiness News

submit a story

Dawn Hafner uses her own career transition to teach others

DawdInline.jpg

Dawn Hafner knew she had to take a personal risk. Considering her personality, it was a big risk.

Working as a certified public accountant specializing in retirement and qualified plan designs, Hafner (Accounting ’92) was working 60- to 65-hour weeks. But her second child was on the way. She knew she had to make a change to her work/life balance.

She started talking with RSM McGladrey, now known as Verisight, in 2003, and they worked out a hybrid schedule so Hafner could work and have time for her family. She worked four days a week — Monday through Thursday — as the engagement leader for the ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) Consulting Division. Two of those days she worked from home. 

At the time, work/life balance wasn’t at the forefront for most companies. Hafner worried the cut in hours and pay would stall her career. That made the transition a hard one for an ambitious and goal-oriented person like Hafner. 

“It was really hard to get to that point,” she said. “Before then, I was so driven in my career. I always wanted to reach that next level and always wanted the success that comes with career advancement. It was a big risk to take that cut in pay and change my schedule.”

Looking back, Hafner is thankful. Now the chief operational officer and senior vice president at Kidder Benefits in West Des Moines, Hafner has reaped the rewards of balancing her work schedule with home life and family. She has even turned it around and helped other people through writing and life coaching.

“It’s been amazing,” Hafner said. “The other thing that has come out of all this that I can teach people is slowing down actually makes you more effective.”

Hafner grew up just north of Cedar Falls and chose the University of Northern Iowa because of its proximity to home, its affordable tuition and its successful accounting program. She graduated in 1992, with CPA title in hand.

“The accounting program, it was all geared toward  ‘you're going to take the CPA and you're going to pass the CPA,’ ” Hafner said. “A lot of business schools, you're kind of left on your own for that.”

Beyond her career as an accountant, Hafner has become a well-known author and life coach. In 2014, she wrote blog posts touching on events in her life and how she processed them emotionally. At the time, she was also journaling as a way to grow personally and reflect on her daily experiences.

She combined the two and self-published a book titled “The Mapmaker.” The book teaches readers how they can use journaling to explore different aspects of their life. Hafner uses her own stories to help the reader toward self-exploration.

One of the chapters in the book is called “You’ll Never Catch Up.” It tells the story of how people, including Hafner, can fall into the trap of defining success by completing their to-do list, even at the expense of working extra hours.

“I think people fall into that mindset of ‘If I just work tonight and I just work Saturday, I'll get my to-do list done and then I'll feel better and then everything will be great at work,’ ” Hafner said. “But the truth is the more high-performing you are, the more projects you are given, which is great. But no one is going to set work limits for you other than you.”

After the book’s release in 2017, it hit Amazon’s top-sellers list in multiple categories. Hafner also received the 2018 New Apple Award for Excellence in Independent Publishing.

Before the book, Hafner moved into the life coaching realm with a business called “Be Where You Are.” She uses some of the points in her book to speak and inform her audience of the importance of balancing work and life.

Because of her own life transition 15 years ago, her words leave a bigger impact.

“It has given me a lot of credibility with other people that I'm living what I preach about work/life balance,” Hafner said. “Having that downtime to journal, meditate, think, just relax or read self-improvement books makes you so much better at your job while you are at your desk, at your computer or with your team because you're approaching it refreshed and fulfilled and thinking in more effective ways for your team."

Posted on 17-Apr-18







Contact Us | Safety | Equal Opportunity/Non-Discrimination Statement
Maintained by UNIBusiness webmaster
Copyright ©2013 by University of Northern Iowa College of Business Administration
The University of Northern Iowa Diversity Matters
Contact Us | Safety | Equal Opportunity/Non-Discrimination Statement
Maintained by UNIBusiness webmaster
Copyright ©2011 by University of Northern Iowa College of Business Administration