Meet Michelle Cruise, the vice president of operations at Cruise & Associates.

Tell us a little about your business. – Cruise & Associates is an accounting firm in Lincoln and six other locations. We work with businesses and individuals to take care of their income tax and business and financial service needs. We work with our clients to create a personalized plan to meet their specific situations.

How did you get started in the business? – I married into it. Owning a business is not something that ever crossed my mind. I’ve always worked for someone else, and it only took me 22 years to finally give in and help my husband, Rob, with our business. Journalism and accounting are not closely related fields, especially for someone who is not very good at math. I was able to find a place in marketing and human relations within our company, and the best part is I don’t have to work with numbers.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally? – The biggest challenge as a business owner is making sure you can afford to pay the bills, your staff, and hopefully yourself. When I married Rob, the business was fairly new and money was often tight. At the time, I was working in public relations for a school district. There were many months where Rob didn’t take a paycheck, so he could pay all his staff. My check would often have to cover our personal expenses as well as some business expenses. By working through the tough times, we realized if you really want something to succeed you need to work hard and make sacrifices.

Tell us a little about your family. – Rob and I have two sons, Joel and Adam, and we have been married for 25 years.

Who inspires you? – My father. He showed me from an early age the importance of having a strong work ethic and to keep pursuing your dreams even if there are hurdles you must overcome. He helped me see with perseverance you can succeed.

If you could choose only one descriptive word to be remembered as, what would it be? – Thoughtful.

If you could have a super power, what would it be? – I would like to be able to fly like Superman, so I wouldn’t have to spend time driving to get somewhere.

What local nonprofit organization(s) are you passionate about or involved with, and are there any special reasons why? – I am involved in a group that provides Christmas gifts for families in need. Most of the people we help are just asking for the everyday necessities such as socks, underwear, winter coats, and boots. In addition to helping coordinate the program, my family also adopts two boys around my children’s ages to help. I will never forget one year we were shopping, and the person we were helping wanted fun underwear (such as Cars, Thomas the Train). My youngest son was shocked that is all a five-year-old wanted for Christmas. I feel the idea that everyone may not be as fortunate as you and may just need a little help sometimes is a good lesson and a reminder of how fortunate we are compared to some.

What is your favorite movie? – The Breakfast Club.

If you could have dinner with one famous person from the past or present, who would it be? – Pittsburgh Steelers Linebacker T.J. Watt.

If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so?(402) 466-1969;;