Have You Met Samantha Hagan?
As Treasurer for Gabriel’s Angels, Samantha Hagan uses her accounting skills in support of healing pet therapy for at-risk children. “After hearing Pam Gaber’s story, how she began her nonprofit, I had a deep desire to get involved!”
Samantha elaborates, “I’ve been with Gabriel’s Angels for almost two years now, as both a board member and as treasurer. And although I have just cats at home now, I always had dogs while I was growing up, and I love to be around them! I’m pleased that soon I will be joining Zee who volunteers with kids at the Crisis Nursery. I’ll be her therapy team assistant. You can imagine that when you have ten kids coming up wanting to be with Leslie and Tucker (the dogs) you definitely need a helping hand! It will be so exciting to be involved with the actual interaction of children and a therapy dog!”
This organized and detail-oriented CPA came to Arizona when she was six years old. “We originally were from New Jersey, but I don’t have much of a memory of my early childhood there. My mom’s parents were living down here, and at first my dad didn’t want to move. It was probably the winter weather that persuaded him to come! And I think that’s my favorite aspect about Arizona, the beautiful weather we have. Also, what’s not to like about the area? “
Samantha is a successful business woman , co-owning Christophel and Hagan for the past sixteen years. “I had only been out of school a few years, and was working for other accountants, when I realized I was doing a lot of tax preparations for friends on the side. It occurred to me that I could make it on my own. My father had come to Arizona and had started his own business, and as I saw him do that, I thought that maybe someday I would also follow the same path. As my father counseled me, ' You’re young, and this is the easiest time of your life to do this. As you get older it will only be much harder.’ So I took his advice and established my own office when I was only 25. I would call it my greatest achievement!”
But there is another, even more adventurous side of Samantha. “I’ve been a scuba diver since I was fifteen! My parents love the water and have always had a boat. We would go to the lakes in the area, and also to the ocean in California. So years ago my parents learned scuba from this place in Mesa. My dad actually went on to become a dive master. Because I was an only child, I was always part of their activities and got into diving with them as a teenager. Since my mother was more relaxed about the sport, I often went with my dad on his dives. Over the years I have been on over 100 dives, many of them in Hawaii, my favorite place. But I have also been on dives in the Caribbean, Mexico, the Caymans (where I’ve done my wreck dives and night dives), and Costa Rica.”
Even with her full professional and private life, Samantha still believes in volunteering her time. Nonprofits, and especially Gabriel’s Angels, benefit from the support and enthusiasm from professionals such as Samantha Hagan.
What are your local volunteer activities? Board member and Treasurer for Gabriel’s Angels. Starting next month I will also volunteer as a Helping Hand with a Pet Therapy Team for Gabriel’s Angels!
Who inspired you to give back to your community? After meeting Pam Gaber and hearing her story I couldn’t help but want to get involved with an organization like Gabriel’s Angels.
Which fundraising event is your favorite? Salud! Gabriel’s Angels signature wine event
Favorite restaurant? Elements at Sanctuary
Who do you most admire, and why? My father, he moved us here in 1977 started his own business and worked hard for everything he has. He has showed me the value of appreciating everything in life and what is important.
If your life were a movie, who would you want to play your part? Kate Winslet
Do you have any pets? Two cats, Casper a stray who showed up 12 years ago at my parent’s house and Molly who I adopted from foster care last June
When you move, what will your home tell its next owner about you? That I love the color purple.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned through the years? You are the only person who can create your own happiness.
What was your first job? I worked at a family stationery store in Mesa when I turned 16. I made minimum wage and was able to pay my car insurance and gas.
What is your greatest indulgence? Spa services
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement? Starting my own CPA firm with the best partner in the world at 25 and purchasing my office building a few years later. After 16 years even with the craziness of tax season every year there is no place else I would rather be. I’m truly grateful and blessed.
What is your most treasured possession? I don’t know if I can pick just one but I have a beautiful gold/diamond ring that looks like a flower, my grandfather gave my grandmother (Omi) for their anniversary in the 1950’s.
What is the quality you most like in people? Integrity
Favorite books/Writers? Currently I am reading book 3 of the Dragon Tattoo series The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson I’m obsessed and sad it’s the last in the series. One of my favorite all time books is The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch -- such an inspirational read.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Dishonesty, I may not like your answer but just tell me the truth no matter what it is.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Traveling, working out, dining, family time, volunteering with Gabriel’s Angels, and cooking.
What would we be most surprised to know about you? I got my Scuba certification at 15 and have over 100+ dives, deep over 120 feet, wreck dives and night dives. My goal is to someday cage dive with great white sharks.
What is the best advice you have ever received ? Live for the moment!
What are some challenges facing nonprofits? Staying on top of the changing economy of the last few years with fundraising at the individual level. Keeping the mission of the organization out in the community and exploring all the new social media markets.