“Live your life in service. Your life is to give to others and to take care of others.”
These words, spoken by her grandmother, laid a crucial foundation for Justine Townsend’s formative years. The actions behind them shaped her future.
While she was born in Opelousas, Louisiana, Justine spent summers with her “tour de force” grandmother, aiding in altruistic initiatives across East Dallas.
“Almost every day each summer, we taught [English as a Second Language], passed out food to people from the church pantry, sorted through donations, delivered food to homes when they couldn’t make it to the pantry, took donated clothes to refugees, or drove people to AA meetings,” she recalled.
Justine’s days of service segued into nighttime tales told by her grandmother. A particular favorite was Miss Rumphius, which detailed a girl’s mission to uniquely “make the world more beautiful.”
As the seasons and stories passed, and Justine grew into a young adult, she embarked on a similar journey to that of the protagonist in Miss Rumphius. However, she never thought that accounting would be the starting point.
On how her eventual career came to be, Justine stated, “When I went to college, my mom pushed me to take an accounting class. I was resistant, but took one, and it all made sense to me—it was just the way my brain worked. I decided I was going to get an accounting degree and use that to make the world a more beautiful place. That book and those summers with my grandmother are what created my need to better the world.”
Since then, Justine has been doing just that.
Following school, Justine became an auditor at a firm that worked with nonprofits. After a year and a half—and almost three dozen clients to her name—she noticed a pattern: Houston-area nonprofits had dire accounting needs, but fiscal limitations made it difficult to secure qualified accountants. So she stepped in.
“I ‘crossed the desk’ and became a fixer for these nonprofits. Every nonprofit has the same issue: limited resources with maximum heart. I would give my maximum heart so that they could maximize those resources,” she said.
Justine worked with nonprofits in this capacity for several years until she began to burn out from the level of commitment it required. Because of this, she sought a change—she didn’t want to stray from the path she had already cultivated in her career, but she sought more work-life balance.
In 2018, Justine met Your Part-Time Controller, LLC (YPTC) Manager Teresa Henderson at a Houston Theater District accountants meeting. The two connected, and Teresa eventually suggested Justine apply for a position at YPTC.
It wasn’t difficult to convince Justine to follow through on Teresa’s suggestion. To Justine, finding a place that allowed her to aid nonprofits while maintaining a personal life felt like fate. So, she applied, interviewed, and became an Associate by the end of that same year.
Now a Manager at the Houston office, Justine plays a pivotal part in the firm’s continued success—a role that continues to bring her closer to bettering the world.
In her five-year tenure, Justine’s supported clients and colleagues through a pandemic, functioned as a thought leader at events and in the media, and built the firm’s Arts and Culture specialization from the ground up.
And, in her own words, Justine’s able to give “maximum heart” because of the resources YPTC offers—a dynamic exemplified by what she finds most rewarding about her work.
“YPTC invests in staff long-term. I love working with people that I can believe in and coach into greatness, and vice versa,” she said.
Unsurprisingly, Justine doesn’t stop serving others come Friday or five o’clock.
She remains an active member of the Arts and Culture community in Houston, with her spouse being an Executive Director in the sector. She teaches Financial Management for the Arts at the University of Houston’s Master of Arts Leadership program.
And, for the past fifteen years, Justine’s volunteered as a free birth and postpartum doula to those who cannot access services.
Justine’s path of service would undeniably make her grandmother—and Miss Rumphius—proud. Filled with creativity, perspective, and unwavering dedication to others, Justine’s portrait of the world is already beautiful, and it’s not even close to being finished.
Your Part-Time Controller, LLC is currently hiring nationwide. If you are an accounting professional looking to use your skills for good, contact us today or apply now. We can’t wait to meet you!