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Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight: Cathy Sarja

Member Spotlight: Cathy Sarja

Cathy Sarja, Payroll Specialist, Ryan Companies US, Inc.

How long have you been in payroll?
I have been in payroll for about 22 or 23 years.

How did you get your start in payroll?
I was asked to be the backup for a supervisor that was also responsible for completing payroll. After a period of time, I moved into a full-time payroll role.

What do you enjoy most about being in payroll?
Payroll is constantly changing, with new information to learn each year.

What is the most challenging part of your job?
It is difficult to keep up with employees that travel for their jobs and the required taxes that go along with these employees.

What is the most interesting question you have been asked about payroll?
It is always interesting to hear questions after the first payroll of the year, such as “why is my paycheck different from the last one?”

How many different types of payroll systems have you worked with?
I have worked with four, maybe five, different payroll systems.

How many employees do you currently process payroll for?
She does the semi-monthly payroll of 764 employees, but the total count for all payrolls is around 1,233.
Personally, I process the semi-monthly employees, a total of 764 employees. The total number of employees that we process payroll for is around 1,233.

How long have you been a member of the Northstar Chapter? National Chapter? Have you been a member of Northstar’s Board?
I have been a member of the Northstar Chapter for 20 years, but have not served on the board. I have been a national member at a couple of different points throughout my payroll career.

What is the best part of being a member of the Northstar Chapter?
The monthly meetings allow me to obtain RCHs to make sure that I am able to hold on to my CPP certification. I also enjoy the networking opportunities, as well as the friends I have been able to make through the Northstar Chapter.

What is the one piece of advice you can give to new payroll professionals?
Get your CPP certification. Continue to attend monthly meetings for the training opportunities. Obtaining CPP certification is extremely important and a benefit to any payroll professional’s career. Also, attending monthly meetings for the training opportunities and RCH credits to further develop their payroll careers is very important.

Tell me one interesting thing about yourself that others may or may not know about.
I have a younger, fraternal twin, but we look very similar. I am also a huge Disney fan and participate in a lot of runDisney races (5K, 10K, and half marathons).  My goal is to complete the Walt Disney World Marathon in January 2018.

Are you an “Early Bird” or a “Night Owl?”
I am definitely an “Early Bird.”

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what is the one item you wish you could have with you? Why?
I would need two items: a solar-powered computer and Internet connection. Not only will it help me get off the island, but I can also use it for entertainment purposes while waiting.

What is your favorite movie?
I have two favorite movies: You’ve Got Mail and The Parent Trap with Lindsey Lohan.

If I were to turn on your radio, what type of music would I likely hear?
Either KFAN Sports Radio or K102 would be on the radio.

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