Alumni Spotlight: Frank Southall
Posted on November 26, 2019 by Logan Dudley
South Alabama provided Southall with the ability to pursue higher education while still living at home. Southall and South were the perfect fit, “I was fortunate to have had the chance to spend some time on campus while still in high school and I was already in love with the place!”
During his time, Southall made many connections and friendships within the Mitchell College of Business. “The comradery with the other business students made the time there more fun, whether it was classroom-related or outside activities.” says Southall. Academically, Southall benefitted from non-accounting courses, particularly the classes in business law and insurance, along with CPA preparation. The MCOB provided Frank Southall with lifetime friends, and career preparedness.
Post-graduation, Frank Southall spent 11 years in the audit department of Ernst & Young, followed by 22 years working for Ruby Tuesday, a publicly-held company. The time Southall spent at South, helped open the door for his career at Ernst & Young, which in turn, directly led to what he considered for many years to be his dream job at Ruby Tuesday. At the time of retirement, Southall was the company’s vice president, controller and principal accounting officer. After retiring, Southall took a few years off to spend time with his family. He now works part-time with another publicly-traded company, a recreational powerboat manufacturer, working with internal audit, helping with SEC filings, with helping cover for their open Controller role. Retirement has been very enjoyable for Southall. “One of the things I’ve been able to do with the extra time is take my kids to music festivals around the South and beyond, something they absolutely love to do. While sometimes I’m just the chauffeur, there are plenty of times that I go in with them, even though I’m likely the oldest guy there!”, jokes Southall.
Southall’s relationship with the University extends well past his time as a student. Shortly after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, he was assigned as a recruiter at South for his accounting firm. Southall states, “This allowed me to develop professional relationships with Jeanne Sylvestre and other faculty members that extended above and beyond the classroom relationships we previously had.” During his time as a recruiter on campus, Southall was exposed to many of South’s top accounting students with whom which he still keeps in touch. Currently, Southall is active on campus within the Executive Advisory Committee of the Mitchell College of Business. Southall is still, “consistently amazed at all the wonderful advances that have been made in the College over the years.”
When asked about giving advice to future students, Southall shared, “Always look for opportunities to learn. Read, find a mentor, listen to podcasts – whatever you need to do! You’d be surprised as to how many people are content with their current place in the workforce. If you want to stand out in order to advance your career, visibly demonstrate your interest in doing just that. Also, stay true to your core principles. It may not always make you popular, but you will be respected.”
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