I Mrs. Samantha Banks am a proud wife, a mother of three beautiful daughters, and the Chief Executive Officer of S. Oakley, Inc. tax preparation firm in Atlanta, GA. Also, I hold the title of Chief Financial Officer, in partnership with my husband, Javares Banks of Dobbins, Banks, & Associates. In addition to I am the creator and owner of “Wife, Mommy, CEO.” Many of you have asked me “How did I do it?” Well, let me share my journey how I reached this point.
Growing up, I saw my mother work super hard trying to start a small business and care for her three children. Eventually, she began operating as an in-home child care provider, and after a few years in business, she was fortunate to purchase a location. Based on my mother’s endeavors I would say that entrepreneurship is in my blood.
Not only was my mom a great business woman, but she was also an even better mother. Even with her busy work schedule, she noticed that I was inquisitive and asked questions most children wouldn’t fathom. She took on the task of teaching me about money and how to run a business. I learned many things; how to write checks and balance a checkbook, and we even counted a lot of money together, lol. I attribute this as the reasoning for my career in the financial industry.
When I was old enough to work, I bounced around from various jobs because none of them appealed to me, I hated the mere thought of mundane tasks.
Even though I knew I would own my own business someday, it wasn’t clear exactly what I would do. Then I took a job as a bilingual customer service rep at a tax software company, and it was at that point my vision became clear. I would start my own tax preparation business.
To ensure this was what I wanted I worked at the software company for two tax seasons. My thinking was, I’m 21 years old, new to Atlanta, and a single mother I have zero chances to make mistakes. After consideration, I took a leap of faith, a few courses, got certified by the IRS and by next tax season I was self-employed.
At the age of 23, I officially opened S.Oakley, Inc. In my first year, I only offered mobile services to save on overhead. My second year I utilized a virtual office to increase my visual professionalism, and I drove uber to help cover my costs. It was this same year that I met my husband. By the third year in business, my husband and I were renting neighboring office suites. My tax clients benefit from his services, and his customers were offered my company’s assistance with their taxes. A year after, we leased an office together, and before my fourth year began, we moved to our current location which is a much larger space that includes a production studio and Financial ID Studios, our 2nd venture together was born.
Many people tell me that I make all of this look easy, but my journey to becoming a CEO has not been an overnight success. It included plenty of doubt, fear, trials, and errors. Trust me there were a few setbacks that made me want to quit, but I found out that there is a solution to every problem, and the benefits are far greater. The most significant advantage about the journey to becoming a CEO was the time I spent with my first born during the process. Life has come full circle; now I can show her what my mother taught me.