Binghamton University - Bachelor of Science, Accounting
As a CPA in the fast-paced world of Wall Street, Debbie Adler realized she was bored. She had a good job, but felt as though her passions lied in something a little more appetizing. So with a lot of determination and a dash of chutzpah, Debbie quit her “fallback” job and dedicated herself to creating delicious desserts at her very own bakery, Sweet Debbie’s Organic Cupcakes.
With an eye for quality and all-natural ingredients that leave refined sugars and allergens behind, Debbie now produces baked goods that leave her customers — like Gywneth Paltrow — smiling from ear to ear.
What you want is out there waiting for you; waiting to present itself when the time is right.
What inspired you to leave your job as a CPA and launch an organic cupcake business?
When I was working on Wall Street as a CPA, I found myself wishing I wasn’t so bored. My interests outside of work were really much more exciting and flavorful than accounting. I was also interested in nutrition and knew that the sugar I was ingesting wasn’t doing me much good. Since I couldn’t find any healthy alternatives at the time, I decided it was up to me to come up with healthy and delicious desserts for me and for all mankind. And when I quit my job and told my boss the reason, he sounded so excited by my idea, I thought he was also going to quit and go shopping with me at Whole Foods.
What does your job involve on a daily basis, and what types of responsibilities do you have in your position?
On a daily basis, I need to take inventory and make sure we have all the ingredients necessary to make the orders for the week. I help bake the orders and pack and ship them. I answer phones, talk to customers and make sure their needs are met, however needy they may be, and that’s okay.
I'm responsible for every aspect of the business: everything from customer service to finances to sampling what comes out of the oven for quality control. It's all a part of my job.
What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part is seeing the smiling faces of my customers when I hand them a box of cupcakes.
What challenges keep you awake at night?
When there's a big expenditure, which happens occasionally, it's a little scary and can make for some sleepless nights. But I know making capital investments in your company is how a business grows, so I have learned to calm down a bit.
Is work/life balance ever a problem with you? If so, what is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
Work and life are never in balance -- the scales are always tipped to one side or the other. So, to ensure my husband doesn’t forget he has a wife or my son a mom, I prepare a homemade dinner every night so we can eat together. I also take yoga class once a week, which adds to my balance therapy.
Was there ever a moment in your career where you’ve thought, “I made it!” What was it?
When Gwyneth Paltrow became a customer, I felt like my business was put on the map, but I've never really thought that I’ve “made it.” I’m not sure I’ll ever really feel that way. I’m always striving to do better.
What are some of the rules you live by?
I live by the "Ring Around the Rosy" rule -- as in, “We all fall down.” I’ve spent my whole life falling down and picking myself up. It just always works out that I wind up in a better place.
What qualities does one need to possess to be successful in your line of work?
You just need determination and chutzpah. It doesn’t hurt if you like cupcakes.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could tell a 21-year-old version of yourself?
Follow your passion and don’t listen to anyone who tells you to have a "fallback career." Because if you fall back on something you’re not passionate about, you’ll wish you could fall back into your grave.
If there was one message you could send to every woman, what would it be?
Don’t settle for less than what you really want. And that goes for career, relationships, etc. It may not happen exactly when you want, but what you want is out there waiting for you; waiting to present itself when the time is right.