As vice president of Budget and Analysis, Celia Bailey-Ochoa assumes responsibility for UTMB’s overall budget process. She plays a vital role in ensuring coordination of budget and planning efforts across UTMB’s Health System, Academic Enterprise and Institutional Support departments, as well as coordinating UTMB’s legislative appropriations requests. For more than 15 years, she has held various positions within UTMB Business and Finance, including director of Payroll, director of Transactional Accounting and associate vice president of Finance—Accounting and Reporting.
Before joining the UTMB family, Bailey-Ochoa worked in public accounting firms in Massachusetts and California. She is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Massachusetts and an MBA from the University of Houston at Clear Lake.
She took some time out to answer a few questions about the challenges she faces at work, as well as her journey from Ireland to the U.S.
What does the Road Ahead look like for you?
We will always need to prepare a formal financial plan, or budget, to meet external reporting requirements and have a point of comparison to actual results—but budgets become outdated quickly when you are in a complex, dynamic environment such as ours. Given the degree of change in our internal and external environments, it is becoming increasingly important to routinely review assumptions and re-forecast expected results so that course corrections can be implemented to achieve financial goals. We must have the right tools and processes in place to inform decision-makers about the “financial road ahead.”
You’ve been at UTMB for more than 20 years. What do you like most about working here?
Few of us have been untouched by a serious illness in our own life or those of family and friends. I find it rewarding to support, in my small way, UTMB staff who care for people and search for ways to prevent and treat disease. I have been fortunate to work with talented and kind people who have guided and supported me and provided opportunities to advance my career without having to leave the UTMB family.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job as VP for Budget and Analysis?
Probably working with my Finance colleagues to quickly analyze monthly financial results and effectively communicate the reasons for material deviations from planned performance. When we do our job well, leaders have information that helps to either reinforce operational success or identify the need for action to ensure we accomplish financial goals.
What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
Some people may not know that I was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and lived there until I came to the U.S. to attend high school at age 14.
What brought you to the U.S.?
I was in the fifth grade when I was selected to be part of the Cape Cod Irish Children’s program, which involved spending the summer with a host family on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The intent of the program was to bring Protestant and Catholic kids together in a safe, non-sectarian environment to foster relationships and build bridges despite our religious and political differences. I had never been around Catholic kids before because we attended different schools and lived in different neighborhoods. After spending three summers with a wonderful host family, my parents made the incredibly hard decision to allow me to pursue a dream and attend high school in the U.S. Long story short, I graduated from the University of Massachusetts and life brought me to Galveston over 25 years ago. Mike and I still make frequent trips to the Cape to enjoy the beauty and visit with friends. Taking the road less traveled has certainly made all the difference in my life.
What activities do you enjoy when you’re not at work?
I enjoy traveling with family and friends and taking lots of photos to capture wonderful memories. Mike and I have made numerous trips back to Ireland to visit my family and added on some side trips to other European countries, specifi cally England, Scotland, France and Italy. In the U.S. we have traveled to Hawaii and particularly enjoyed our visits to Washington state and the New England area.
What’s something you always wanted to do but have not done yet?
I have always wanted to spend time tracing back my family tree and learning more about those who came before.