Just who is Debbie Lessin? Debbie is a daughter, a sister, a sister-in-law, an aunt, a neighbor, a great friend, an entrepreneur, a CPA, an author, a motivational speaker, a homeowner, a gardener, a shopper, an avid reader, a traveler and an artist!
Debbie has always described herself as having the brains of an accountant and the soul of an artist. Debbie is the creative force behind Balancing Act Productions, Inc., the creative business she founded in 1997.
In 1994, Debbie celebrated two distinct milestones – her 40th birthday and the 10 year anniversary of D. J. Lessin & Associates, Inc. The 10 year business anniversary was both a cause for celebration and the catalyst for a lot of soul searching. While proud of her achievements, Debbie’s passion in growing the CPA firm was long gone. She had learned that in terms of business, bigger wasn’t necessarily better. Instead, Debbie found herself obsessed with finding more balance in her life. And she knew that the kind of balance she was looking for wasn’t going to be found at the bottom of a column of numbers! So she set upon a journey to find her road to balance, rediscovering both her creativity and her passion along the way.
In 1997, Debbie admitted to herself that her entrepreneurial spirit was still quite alive. Balancing Act Productions, Inc. was born!
Debbie has designed Life is a Balancing Act, an interactive workshop on life balance issues which provides practical advice on how to make balance a regular part of your busy day-to-day life. She has also written Life is a Balancing Act… a fun book. The book offers 66 simple and versatile ideas on how to juggle work and play, friends and family, heart and soul and mind and body in the balancing act we call life. Debbie’s most recent creative endeavor is Balance Lady Designs, the handcrafted line of accessories made from repurposed woven men’s necktie silk.
Debbie Lessin is a most certainly a busy, enterprising woman! But she always keeps her quest for balance a top priority. She wants to walk the walk and talk the talk while maintaining her sense of self and sharing her life with her loving family and friends.
Debbie’s Professional and Business Credentails
- Graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree.
- Began her professional career in public accounting with Price Waterhouse & Co. in Chicago.
- A distinguished scholar, Debbie was the only women in Illinois to receive an Elijah Watts Sells Certificate of Honorable Mention in recognition of outstanding merit on the November, 1996 CPA examination.
- In 1979, Debbie moved to the corporate sector to work as Tax Manager at Heller Financial Corporation.
- While at Heller, Debbie had the opportunity to obtain a Master of Science in Taxation from DePaul University as well as cultivate a small circle of private clients.
- In 1984, at age 29, Debbie founded her own small business, D. J. Lessin & Associates, Inc. to exclusively serve the tax and accounting needs of individuals and small businesses.
- D.J. Lessin & Associates, Inc. is not a stereotypical CPA firm because Debbie is not a stereotypical CPA. Debbie is expressive and empathetic, with an ever-present sense of humor. For Debbie, people-not numbers-are the most important aspects of being a CPA.
- In 1990, Debbie began writing and speaking to business audiences imparting practical and understandable advice on a wide range of accounting and financial topics. Her writings and presentations alike feature a folksy, conversational, humorous and entertaining style. Her monthly column was a popular feature in Today’s Chicago Woman for four years.
- Debbie has been honored by the U.S. Small Business Administration as its 1995 Accountant Advocate of the Year for the State of Illinois and the entire six-state Midwest Region, recognizing her meritorious service not only as an industry professional but as an educator and a small business advocate.
- As an elected delegate to the 1995 White House Conference on Small Business, her leadership and advocacy in the areas of home office tax deductions and reforming the definition of independent contractor helped those issues become top priorities in the legislative agenda set at the conference.
- She served as the national issues chair for the National Association of Women Business Owners Public Policy Committee home office tax deduction legislation, testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives Small Business Committee on this issue in January, 1995.
- Debbie also received the 1996 Entrepreneurial Achievement Award from the Network of Women Entrepreneurs and the 1991 Women Business Owner of the Year Award from the Chicago Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners.
- Until July 2005, she served for 10 years as the both an entrepreneurial and the Illinois Governor’s appointee to the Board of Directors of the Illinois Institute for Entrepreneurship Education, the last five years serving as board president.