• Cass Polzin

Accountant Turned Partnerships Pro: How Casey Padgett is Growing Partnerships at Gravy

Updated: May 7


This article is part of our Women in Partnerships series, highlighting female professionals in the partnerships space. To learn more about the series and the Women in Partnerships group, check out the series intro.


Today, Casey Padgett joins us to discuss how she ended up in partnerships from accounting, her experience as a woman in the industry, advice for other partnerships professionals, and more.


Meet Casey

Casey Padgett works at Gravy Solutions in Atlanta, GA, where she recently joined the team as the Director of Partnerships. She didn’t start her career in partnerships, though; Casey’s degree is actually in Accounting. “Right before I graduated, I was recruited by LeaseQuery, working in accounting. After a few months there, I realized I had a sales mentality. I was a people person and needed to do a little more. Moved into a few different roles there before building the channel platform for LeaseQuery.”


Like many professionals we’ve talked to, Casey kind of stumbled into partnerships. “Quite frankly, when it was introduced to me, I had no idea what it meant. All of that was foreign. In the past few years, I've really hit the ground running with channel.”


Gravy is different than anywhere she's ever worked. Casey was brought in to help expand on channel partnerships and alliances that have largely been informal for the last few years. “It's great — what we're doing is very unique and interesting. Everyone coming in is passionate to help others. Our mission is to ‘accelerate freedom’. We really do keep that at the forefront of what we're doing. It's very unique, but an awesome experience.”


Opening Doors Online

Last year’s COVID-19 pandemic changed the way business was done, forcing everyone to innovate or struggle. Casey shared one of the proudest moments in her career so far was her decision to pivot sales efforts during the pandemic. “While I was still with LeaseQuery, we were realizing business was slow due to COVID-19. For that software specifically, since it was tied to an accounting function, we were worried we would lose thought leadership. With my relationships, I proposed the idea to do an online virtual summit. We had 5-6 partners join us for two days talking about all the different areas and aspects of accounting. It was super exciting, and a really successful event. The LeaseQuery team did a great job putting it on and actually continued holding the summit.”


Not just seeing her idea come to life, but also having it be successful enough to continue after her departure was a huge win for Casey.


Obstacles in Progress

Casey has been fortunate to work and get in at a very low employee count at the organizations she’s work for. She shared that it was great to have lots of room to grow and have an impact.


With that in mind, Casey shared that the biggest obstacle she’s still working past is herself. “I wake up every day wondering if I should be here. I try to think through ‘Here’s what I did. Here’s what I can do.’ You can’t be your own critic — there are so many other people doing just that. I’ve really been working on getting over my own fears of ‘am I enough?’. Especially coming from the accounting field, there are lots of men and power challenges. I’m still learning to work through that.”


The Value of Women Mentors

On how women mentors have impacted Casey’s career, she shared, “They have probably done more for me than college did for me. Women mentors have helped me find my voice and be confident enough to share it.”


While she was surrounded by lots of men coming from the accounting field, there are female leaders at Gravy today. “I have been very blessed to have female leaders, ever since college. I immediately had that impact and that person to look up to. I now have a few different mentors to look up to — either in partnerships or sales in general. It's been interesting. I think, luckily, we're progressing and getting to a place where it's not so taboo to have strong successful women in leadership roles. It's definitely not as accepted yet, but we're getting there. It's been great to be surrounded by strong women. It’s great to have that kind of influence pushing me to be my best.”


Casey shared a memorable moment from a colleague at LeaseQuery. Jennifer Booth encouraged her to have a different outlook. So now Casey shares, "When I wake up in the morning and I'm looking in the mirror and thinking about what I do, I'm a Director of Partnerships. I don't need to state that I'm not a man. I just need to push to be the best that I can, regardless of age, gender, or identity.”


With that quote in mind, Casey shared, “I've been very lucky to work in environments where women are celebrated. Sometimes you can get caught up in yourself focusing on it. You need to bring awareness to the problem and make conscious decisions to solve it, but doesn’t have to be your main focus 24/7.”


Casey’s Advice for Success

Casey’s advice for partnership success was rooted in finding your confidence and going for it. “My advice would be to not hold yourself back. If you think you can do it, put your mind to it and you can. If there is anyone in your life who has told you you can't do something, that was just a projection. They can't do it. Live by your own desire and your own goals.”


“I focus on pushing the envelope and not being scared to share it. If I have an idea or input, it’s important not to be afraid to jump in and say it, regardless of what position you're in. Now it's more comfortable in a director role. But, in an entry-level role, it's just as important to share your thoughts and have your voice heard.”


The Importance of Groups Like Women in Partnerships

On why groups like women in partnerships are valuable, Casey shared, “It's something that gives you a community to rely on. If you do work in an environment that's not very forward-pushing and you're not super supported by other women in leadership it's great to have this community to come back to that you can share your highs and lows with. A lot of us have experienced similar things in our careers. If you going through a challenge, it’s important to know first that you’re not alone as well as how you can overcome and get better than you are today.”


It’s so important to be able to connect with our professional women who have experienced the same challenges you have. Being able to chat through experiences and solutions, as well as vent when necessary can be hugely beneficial for everyone involved. That’s why we developed Women in Partnerships; to highlight the fantastic women in our group and provide a way to connect with like-minded individuals.


Partnership Leaders enables personal and professional development for professionals in partnerships. Learn more about the other features of Partnership Leaders.