The Portnoy file Featured

8:00pm EDT August 26, 2010

Born: New Jersey

Education: Franklin & Marshall College; Lancaster, Pa.

First job: My first job was at a bakery, and I learned how to make jelly doughnuts. Not something that you want to share. I was 15 probably.

What did you learn that still applies?

That’s an interesting question — in any retail business, it’s about being responsive to clients and quick to move. It was a fun experience, but it was pretty demanding. And really, every job that you have you have to take with a level of seriousness in order to be successful, and I think that that was as true in the bakery as it is today.

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be in anything in the theater. I had a love of the theater as early as I could remember and I was a performer. I was the kid at every school play. It took me until I was in college to realize that really wasn’t my greatest strength. I moved out of that, but that was where my first love was.

Right now, I’m on the board of directors for the San Jose Repertory Theatre, which has been a terrific experience for me in really getting back to that joy I had as a kid, and being on the business and administrative side is really a nice way to transition and also use the skills that I have in business and specifically from an audit perspective to benefit the theater so it’s been a great opportunity.

What’s the best advice you’ve received?

I think it’s from one of my early mentors at Ernst & Young, and that was around being open and receptive to any opportunity. I’ve been fortunate in my career, having been provided lots of different opportunities, some of which might have been out of the box, but by being open to those, it’s provided me with lots of different twists and turns in my career that I hadn’t anticipated. I think that was great advice to be open and receptive to anything and be willing to listen and think about what the future might look like with that opportunity.

What’s your favorite movie?

I have so many — I do love movies. ‘West Side Story’ is actually one of my favorite old-time movies, and that was certainly an early one and started my love of the theater, and I go back to it a lot. It’s a little dated, but the music can’t be beat and I performed some role — I think I was a Jet girlfriend at some point in that play in junior high.