Kyra Bishop: A Builder’s Ally and Community Partner
Kyra Bishop, ’77, truly is in the business of building. She gives us a glimpse into how she arrived where she is today, CFO and co-owner of Berry Enterprises based in Chilhowie, Virginia.
How did your E&H education prepare you for your current career?
My E&H education gave me a base for my current career because it integrated the liberal arts with the professional skillset I would need. Even though my goal was to become a CPA and accounting, of course, is not considered “liberal arts,” I studied music, art, French, psychology, biology, chemistry, math, religion, philosophy, sociology and political science. This broad liberal arts foundation taught me to examine problems from multiple points of view, adapt, connect and collaborate. Being guided toward critical thinking helped me develop all important real-world skills for leadership in a constantly shifting business world.
I also learned the value of hard work through examples set by the dedicated faculty. When I needed classes to sit for the CPA exam, my professors took time to teach independent study classes over and above their normal workload. I treasure the lasting friendships with faculty and I’m grateful for the genuine interest they had, and still have, in every student.
How did your career develop?
I began my career as a staff accountant at a regional CPA firm and spent five years working as a certified public accountant before transitioning to overseeing the financial operations of Berry Enterprises, a company owned with my husband (Tom Bishop ’75). Over the past 46 years we have grown the business to include Berry Home Centers, Berry Truss & Component Shop, Berry Iron and Metal, Recycle West Virginia, and commercial and residential land development companies.
What are your responsibilities in your position?
As a small business owner, I wear many hats! I’m not unlike many CFOs today as financial planning and strategy is embedded in every part of a business — sales, purchases, inventory, manufacturing, marketing and human resources, just to name a few.
What hopes do you have for future graduates of the E&H School of Business?
I hope that future graduates of the E&H School of Business find themselves on a path for a successful and fulfilling career as tomorrow’s creative thinkers and entrepreneurs. I hope they graduate with a strong work ethic, loving the career they choose. After all these years, I still look forward to going to work! Yes, it’s important to get a job, but it is most important to love the work you do. With a degree from the Emory & Henry School of Business, they will be prepared to adapt to many opportunities.
Bishop has served on the Emory & Henry Board of Trustees since 2011 and currently serves as chair of the Board.