When Ethel Johnson was in college pursuing her bachelor’s degree in accounting, she worked part-time at a local restaurant in suburban Chicago. Little did she know that the restaurant would bring her not only her job at IPM, which she began in 2011, but her future husband, as well. These days, as a financial analyst on the finance team at IPM’s Chicago headquarters, she uses her powers for good—like the DC/Marvel heroes she and her sons enjoy seeing on the big screen.
How has your previous work (or life) experience prepared you for working at IPM?
I am No. 7 in a family of eight: four sisters, three brothers. Growing up in a large family taught me to be productive even in the midst of chaos, and later, my restaurant experience taught me how to juggle multiple responsibilities all at the same time. I was a waitress and bartender at an Italian restaurant where I met not only my future husband, but also (IPM CEO) Rich Panico and his wife. I knew I wanted to be an accountant; I have always been a numbers person.
What are you passionate about?
My family, especially my two sons: one is attending college to become a nurse, and the other is currently in high school. I love to spend time with them, whether it’s having family dinners, a family game night, or catching a movie. We especially love seeing all the Marvel/DC Comics movies at the IMAX theatre.
What do you find to be the best thing about working at IPM?
Besides the intelligent and caring people I work with, I love IPM’s commitment to continuous improvement. I enjoy learning new things and appreciate IPM providing training to empower professional growth. Last year IPM gave me the opportunity to expand my skill set by attending the Microsoft Data Insights Summit in Seattle. I learned about creating dashboards using Power BI and PowerPivot, which has been instrumental in my job of providing business intelligence to the IPM management team.
What are some of your other personal interests?
I enjoy traveling to new places, especially taking cruises so I can visit several countries during my vacation. I enjoy cruises so much that my husband and I decided to get married on a cruise. So far we’ve visited Mexico, Honduras, Belize, and the Bahamas. My destination goals include Australia, Egypt, and Ireland. I am also a devoted Chicago Cubs fan and was thrilled to see them win the World Series in 2016!
Do you have a favorite charity or philanthropic cause that you support or volunteer with?
I enjoy donating my time at IPM’s quarterly Project Mercy charitable events, which allow us to support multiple causes throughout each year. In 2016, IPM Project Mercy supported Gilda’s Club Chicago’s Teen Camp, and I volunteered to be a camp leader for teens affected by cancer. We took the teens to a Chicago Cubs game. Prior to the game, we met Anthony Rizzo, who shared his own struggles with cancer. It was heartwarming to watch the kids smile and have a great time. The camp allowed the kids to put their troubles aside and enjoy the moment.