Kathy Allen Bruney is thoughtful, she is methodical. She is logical, and she is analytical. These qualities quickly became evident once we started speaking. She carefully considered each question, lulling it over in her mind, before answering quite thoroughly in her measured, easy tone.
This methodology drove her academic and career decisions, “I wanted to introduce and work with the computer systems in the business world. I love computer programming because that is how I think. It teaches you to be logical and disciplined. I love problem solving and methodical thinking.”
Life for Kathy started off in the sleepy hills of Sandy Bay, the rural Garifuna community where she first lived with her grandmother. This was in between living with her parents and two younger sisters in Arnos Vale during the academic school year as they went through school.
Kathy first left SVG in 1991 to attend a community college in pursuit of her associates degree in computer science. Upon completion, she returned to home to work in the Government Department of Audit for one year.
This position piqued her interest in accounting and problem solving, leading her to apply for a scholarship to Midwestern State University at Wichita Falls, a small town just outside Dallas, TX, USA. There, she completed her Bachelors of Science, majoring in Computer Science with a minor in Business Administration.
Although Dallas was an easy transition from St. Vincent to North America in terms of the weather and the tight knit, small community, it also proved to be in stark contrast with her once insular and supportive environment in SVG, where she had a large network of family and friends.
It was also the city where she encountered some of her greatest periods of growth and life challenges.
While at university, Kathy met architecture student Alvin Bruney, a Dominican, whom she married upon graduation. She started working in a beginning managing position as a computer programmer.
Shortly after, she and Alvin happily welcomed their first child, son D’Marya .
Balancing her new career, marriage and baby came with ups and downs and emotional highs and lows. Especially as her son became ill, and needed additional attention. Feeling outside the close knit, community of traditional American southerners and without her familiar supports, she decided to relinquish her job to stay at home to take care of him.
“Throughout the ten years I spent in Texas, I felt alone, I had difficulty with us raising a family on our own. At the same time, I was ambitious. So with my husband’s support, I made the decision to go to graduate school at night to obtain my masters in Accounting, focusing in Accounting Information Systems.”
Within three years, Kathy returned to the workforce in her new field. It proved a challenging transition after being used to being at home with D’Marya. However, in a short time, she reestablished her social life, as the couple focused on building their life together.
Then, she approached another unexpected twist when the economic downturn began in the mid 2000s, and Alvin was laid off. Seeking a change, they looked toward Toronto, Canada where they had friends and relatives and moved house in December.
Toronto in winter proved to be shockingly different to Kathy’s prior experiences. She laughingly recounted her first experience of going around to establish residency. “On the first day, after running around sorting out banking and stuff, we were all so cold, it hit us that we needed some real winter jackets to survive the season. That was the first thing we all had to get.”
The culture shock was even more startling. “Toronto is a very urban setting. There are lots of things going on. The diversity, sheer volume and quick pace was extremely different to what I was used to in Dallas.”
In just three weeks, she was once again employed. Alvin also secured a position in his field of architecture. It wasn’t the easiest adjustment.
Kathy reports having a difficult commute taking the bus on the first day in the cold and breaking down after, wondering if she would ever get used to this new fast paced, metropolitan city. Over time she settled in, and the couple once again returned to some sense of normalcy, in the process having their second child, a daughter they named Dana.
Again faced with the challenge of balancing completely new family dynamics, Kathy decided to sacrifice her position to stay at home to provide her new baby with a solid, nurturing foundation. This time, she took two years as she discovered her new city.
“Toronto grew on me. I wouldn’t trade it for the world now. It’s clean, we have a low crime rate, and it’s a safe, comfortable environment for my children.”
Currently, Kathy is well on her way to upper management at Ernst & Young, one of the world’s top accounting firms, where she functions as Manager of Tax Data Analytics, overseeing a staff of seven.
She has found her comfortable space doing what she loves as she applies her problem solving skills honed from steadfastly overcoming obstacles and adjusting to life changes. “My passion is applying technology to business and providing solutions to business people. I like to automate processes to make their lives easier.”
As far as her future? Well, true to method, she wants to round out the circle and give back by making an investment in SVGs future.
“Being that I’ve had some struggles of my own, I emphasize. I want to give back. I believe the children are the future and if I can change a child’s life in a positive way then that I believe, will add meaning to my existence.
I am exploring the idea of a scholarship for students, either at the elementary or secondary school level.”
Now Kathy’s method, is Kathy’s method. A method that is consistent with her responses to an exciting journey on a road rife with unexpected twists, turns, S curves, hills and valleys – her life philosophy guiding her through.
“I have one life to live, I can choose to do something or choose to do nothing. I choose to do something. That something starts with ambition, drive, will, hard work and determination. Pick one and make a start. Plan your path and path your plan.”
By definition, methodology is a system of procedures or set of procedures. Kathy’s successes on this exciting, yet challenging journey is the manifestation of this abstract. This is a method that works.