If Bailey Price is going to do something, she’s going to do it all the way. She wasn’t born to be an accountant, but when she decided to pursue the far more practical field in college than her initial English major plans, she didn’t do it halfway.
“Accounting wasn’t my first idea, but I’m also a very competitive person,” explains Bailey, who is the controller at tech company Jellysmack. “I went all in. I got my CPA and immediately got a job with a Big Four firm.”
Price readily admits that the ins and out of a daily accounting career aren’t what interest her most about her role. But after building out experience at PricewaterhouseCoopers early in her career, she began to understand exactly what would keep her in the space.
After moving from Dallas to New York City, Price found herself immersed in the city’s start-up space doing external accounting work for early-stage companies. The excitement was palpable, but she wanted to experience it from inside the companies.
“I’ve really found a niche in going into an early stage start-up, building teams, building processes, and helping companies scale,” Price explains. “The challenges have all been different, but they’ve been incredibly rewarding.”
Previously, Price had been an integral part of massive fundraising campaigns, but coming to Jellysmack offered her an entirely new challenge: what happens after the money has been raised?
The global creator company that was founded in 2016 helps creators monetize their brand, grow their digital footprint, and expand their audience. It’s now growing at an exceptional pace. When Price arrived in 2021, the company had secured Series C funding that capitulated the company to unicorn status, valuing the company at over $1 billion.
“We hired a ton of people in a very short period of time,” Price says. “It created a lot of process challenges that come with a thousand new employees. Nobody knows how to get a credit card or pay an invoice. So along with those big cultural challenges of growth, I was really focused on process and operations.”
Price says evolving protocols and processes must stay in line with the culture that made Jellysmack so successful in the first place. But growth and evolution are still critical for the company to succeed. “That push and pull is so interesting, and to be honest, it’s a process we’re still in the midst of.”
Outside the Numbers
When Price isn’t shaping Jellysmack’s financial future, she’s helping nurture those more junior in their careers. The controller says that the COVID environment fundamentally reshaped her perspective when it comes to confidence, leadership, and the future.
“In a previous role, I was going through a massive fundraise right when COVID hit, and it’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve done in my career,” Price remembers. “There were a lot of things on the accounting side I had to do entirely on my own, and I could feel a shift from the person who began her career at the onset of the financial crises. It took time to find that confidence.”
Price remembers being a young Southern woman in New York City, working in a male-dominated field and feeling an intense urge to somehow prove herself. That desire, Price now believes, was unrealistic and unhealthy in its need for validation, and she wants to help women in the field to find the confidence and self-acceptance to believe in their own journeys.
“The opportunities that have come in my career have happened because of people that empowered me,” Price explains. “That’s something that is dear to me, and I try to focus on when it comes to leading teams now. I think there’s a common mindset in the start-up space that you have to throw people in the deep end and see how they perform. I try to make sure my people have the knowledge and resources to be set up for success. I think that’s incredibly important.”
At Jellysmack, Price also tries to create an environment where people can be heard and valued. She knows that an environment where team members don’t feel comfortable sharing their concerns or suggestions limits the potential of everyone involved. Having experienced that kind of environment firsthand early in her career, she’s intent on breaking that cycle.
“Bailey’s leadership and perseverance are second to none,” says William O’Hara, partner at CFGI. “Her ability to provide the tools for success is a prime example of why we are avid supporters of women in business. Bailey is a role model for women everywhere and a testament to what can happen when you believe in yourself and go all in.”
Outside of the office, Price is also creating fundamental change. The controller serves on the board of directors of Limitless Horizons Ixil, an organization that supports academic and personal development for the Indigenous Maya community of Chajul, Guatemala.
At time of speaking in July 2022, the organization had just opened the doors of its first physical school in the community, no doubt as exciting a moment for the nonprofit as for the people it serves.
“We see how individual lives are changed by our work,” Price says. “It’s creating opportunities for women who may have only thought their only options were to get married out of high school and have that be their lives. It makes you think about your own privilege, and it makes you very grateful to be able to provide things like libraries and educational opportunities for truly wonderful people.”
CFGI is the nation’s largest non-audit accounting advisory firm that is strategically positioned to support companies with all critical finance and accounting operations. Created to act as an extension of each client’s corporate finance team, CFGI’s cross-functional experts deliver solutions and services to fit all routine and complex business operations.