Woman prioritizes family with other responsibilities
Published 10:07 am Wednesday, April 13, 2016
An Albert Lea accountant, volunteer and mom is making it all work with the help of her family.
Heather Benda, 43, is a certified public accountant and shareholder in Hill, Larson, Walth & Benda — an Albert Lea-based certified public accounting agency.
As an accountant, Benda provides bookkeeping, payroll, tax and auditing services for people, corporations, trusts, nonprofits and government entities.
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Benda, who has been with the firm since 2000, said she enjoys interacting with clients and co-workers and has always enjoyed mathematics.
“I’m a pretty social person, so I like to work with people,” she said.
Benda is an Ivanhoe native who is married to lawyer Matt Benda.
The couple has two children: Ashler and Avery.
Each family member assists in balancing a sometimes hectic work environment and a busy home schedule, and the couple helps each other with cooking and cleaning.
Their children also help out, as the couple has taught them how to do laundry, dishes, garbage and assist in meal preparation.
Despite her busy schedule, Benda makes sure she is home in time to tuck her children into bed.
The couple shares in taking the children to their events. Ashler is in football and golf and Avery is in dance.
In her spare time, Benda enjoys traveling, reading, spending time with her family, exercising and being part of the community.
She said the family often visits her extended family in Apple Valley and Ivanhoe and her husband’s extended family in Jackson.
The family also enjoys outdoor activities, including camping, biking, swimming and bonfires.
They often visit Myre-Big Island State Park and navigate the Blazing Star Trail.
Benda said she enjoys their busy schedule.
To her, family is the most important thing.
“My kids are getting older fast, and I want to be around,” she said. “I want to be there for them. I want to be an active parent and role model for them, so it’s very important.”
She has also been involved with various community groups, including as Rotary Club president, on the Albert Lea Parks and Recreation Department’s advisory board, the gala committee for Riverland Community College, KSMQ’s board of directors and Naeve Health Care Foundation’s board of directors.
Benda said being involved is crucial to improving the community.
“I believe if I’m going to be involved with the community, I need to actually be doing something,” she said.
She emphasized that each of the boards she has served on has been family-oriented.
She said she enjoys the community spirit and lakes of Albert Lea, and she has goals for the community.
“I want it to be a community that grows and is young and vibrant and is a good place to live,” she said. “I believe in Albert Lea.”
The family is part of St. Theodore Catholic Church.
Matt Benda is president of St. Theodore’s school council and Heather Benda is on the church’s finance council.
She said St. Theodore has been a bedrock to the family.
“Both of us grew up attending Mass and going to church with our families, and we think it helped teach us how to be responsible, ethical people, to contribute to the community,” she said. “We want to teach our children the same thing.”
Heather Benda attended the University of St. Thomas for three years before graduating from Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Prior to moving to Albert Lea in 1997, she lived in the Twin Cities, where she met her husband.
She expressed appreciation for the support the community has shown her family.
“It has been a welcoming community for us,” she said.