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Omaha Magazine

Setting Goals, Building Connections: Colby Jensen Rises Personally and Professionally

Jul 29, 2021 04:28PM ● By Wendy Townley
woman with glasses at dark conference table

Photo by Bill Sitzmann

Long before the pandemic, before so many used a year of near-isolation to examine life choices and perhaps even set personal goals, Colby Jensen took a holistic look at her own life and the person she was striving to become.

The 33-year-old said the past three years have been transformative in many aspects, due in large part to time spent on introspection: her career, her community work, even her husband and their son.

“It happens for everyone at a different age,” Jensen said. “At some point you just realize what’s important in your life. You cut out the noise. I want to be me, I want to be happy, and I just want to enjoy my life.”

The kind of happiness of which Jensen speaks—and for which so many other young professionals strive—can seem daunting. A promising career, a stable job, a supportive family and network of friends, enough income not to worry. Such facets of success rarely happen by accident.

Jensen met her husband in middle school. The two remained friends as Millard West High School students, but didn’t discover that special spark until college.

After her junior year at Millard West, following treatment and surgery for a severe case of scoliosis, Jensen strongly considered physical therapy as a career. She began general education classes at Iowa Western Community College as a pre-med major. The physical therapists she saw at Children’s Hospital were nothing short of inspiring. 

But as more research into the coursework took place, Jensen made a decision: “I loved the work, but I knew my heart wasn’t in it.”

She transferred to Metropolitan Community College in 2007 and began working toward a business degree. Graduation from Metro and a transfer to University of Nebraska at Omaha followed, where in 2012 she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration. While at UNO, Jensen was active in Beta Alpha Psi, an international honor society for students studying finance. 

In 2009, Jensen joined Gottsch Enterprises as an accounting assistant. Three years later, with a degree and real-world work experience, she was hired as an audit senior manager at BKD. Shortly after, Jensen began the year-long process of studying for, and taking, the CPA exam. Earning a CPA license was a longtime goal not only for Jensen, but her family.

“We wanted to make sure everything we did set us up for success later in life,” Jensen said. “And that would provide great opportunities for our son.”

Jensen credits her husband’s support for much of her success. Juggling school and work, studying for a career-making exam, and more while raising a child is no easy feat. 

“There was a lot of times I was missing out,” Jensen said of family gatherings and other social outings. “But for me, things became clearer. Here are my priorities, here is my focus.”

Goal-setting is a trait BKD recognizes in Jensen. Director Amy Shreck admires Jensen’s ability to “focus on setting and achieving goals on both a personal and professional level. She balances that focus on results with a genuine desire to build connections with people around her.”

Added Chris Lindner, a partner at BKD: “Colby is such a hardworking and driven individual. She sets lofty goals, but always finds a way to achieve them through her grit and determination. She is such a positive and charismatic individual; everyone wants to be around her.”

One of the perks of Jensen’s job at BKD is mentoring college students. Many share her passion and drive; many more worry about their future.

“We can see the end goal, but there are 500 different ways to get there. You might just have to slow down and change your path,” she said. “And that’s OK.”

Visit bkd.com for more information.

This article originally appeared in the August/September issue of B2B Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.