Celebrating Women’s History Month: Crystal Certain, Director Financial Services

How I Began my Career in Public Service

I was born and raised in Gastonia, so coming from a mill family and city, working in city government was considered a stable job. I started my career in government as a deputy tax collector for Gaston County over 18 years ago.  I have served as a delinquent tax collector, an administrative assistant, a finance officer, a city clerk, and town administrator. Being exposed to these various areas of local government helped me realize that I like the area of finance the most, and then decided to seek the additional certifications and knowledge to focus on this area. I then went on to serve as the finance director for a period of years. I joined the City of Gastonia about five years ago as the Director of Finance. I’m responsible for all financial decisions made within the City. The areas covered by the Finance Department are accounting, budget, and revenue administration. This covers payments made for utilities, payroll, warehouse purchasing at the Garage, and meter readers are all covered by my department.

My Earliest Memory of Women’s History Month

In school I learned about some really important women in history, but I never knew there was a month that celebrated Women’s History until now.

Women who Inspired Me

One woman who had a positive influence over me was Ms. White, an algebra teacher at Southwest Junior High. In a previous class of hers, she had taught deaf student. Due to this, she had to learn to write on the board while facing the class so that they could read her lips. This clearly illustrated her compassion and understanding of the need of the student. She adjusted her behavior for the benefit of the student. This experience has always stuck in my mind.

My Advice to Women working in Public Service

Always use integrity. Recognize that you are not only working for an organization but you’re also working for a community. Your decisions are impactful so having integrity is critical to having success in public service.

Why Women’s History Month Should Be Recognized

I think Women’s History should be celebrated more often. Women bring a unique perspective to the table. In order to be considered, women have to be recognized. It takes everyone across the City making an effort to pull more women into discussions so that their input can be heard. By doing this, it will help women to recognize that their opinions, thoughts, ideas are appreciated and a valued part of the organization which will foster more beneficial input.