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A Swing at Success: How Golf Shaped the Career of Tory Bauman, VP of FP&A at Zayo

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Tory Bauman is a one-handicap golfer. Meaning: She can handle the most difficult hole on the course.

For those who know her, this should come as no surprise. In 2014, fresh out of grad school, Tory requested, and was invited, to serve on the audit team at Zayo before they went public. This led to a full-time position with Zayo, where she rose to Director of Finance in three years. By the time she was 30, she had her own startup consulting business. A year later, she returned to Zayo ultimately becoming a VP of FP&A.

In essence, Tory Bauman does not mess around. If she does anything, she does it well – really well.

So who does Tory credit her grit to? First, her dad. Second, golf. But her dad got her into that as well.

As the daughter of an adopted immigrant father, Tory learned early that the human spirit is nothing if not resilient, and that everyone, regardless of age or status, has the power to transform their lives and create the career they dream of.

When Tory’s dad took up golf as a hobby, she and her two brothers followed suit. At 16, Tory qualified for the Women’s Western Junior, a match play tournament that a lot of big names on the LPGA have won at some point in their careers. Much to her surprise, she not only made it to the end, she won the whole tournament. A win that was so unexpected, that she hadn’t packed enough clothes to stay through the end of the tournament. That win blew the lid off for Tory, who also went on to win two individual high school state championship titles in Wisconsin. She learned what she was capable of if she put her mind to it, and she’s been teeing up success ever since. 

Golf has taught Tory many valuable lessons that she has applied to her career and life: 

Problem-Solving, Going After What You Want, and Resilience

There is a quiet diligence involved in playing a good game of golf. Things don’t always go the way you plan. A drive may get you close, but a few strategic putts may be the way to a win. Life is like that too. The path to our goals isn’t always clear, but if we stay the course and adjust accordingly, we can get to where we’re going. Tory’s career trajectory is a testament to this principle. She has navigated her path with strategic moves and resilience, ensuring she hits her goals even when the path isn’t straightforward.

[Listen to the Podcast Episode: FP&A Today with Tory Bauman]

Endurance

Golf is a long game. What it may not require in physical stamina, it makes up for in mental staying power. To do well in a game of golf entails patience, focus, and the ability to stay present in the moment — all essential components to advancement in any aspect of life or business. Especially as a female in a traditionally male-dominated industry, Tory’s rise in the corporate world, her ability to start and grow her consulting business, and her return to a high-level position at Zayo all required the mental endurance she honed on the golf course.

The Sky’s the Limit

Tory didn’t pack enough clothes for the full tournament because she was convinced she would only make it so far. She was prepared to do well, but she didn’t think she’d win. Imposter syndrome, whether in sports or in the workplace, can mentally block us from achieving our full potential. And this is an especially common phenomenon among women in the workplace – 75% of female executives report having experienced imposter syndrome.  

However, for Tory, this moment provided a valuable lesson that transcended from the golf course to her career in finance. Tory says that moment in her junior golf career was a mindset shift. From then on, she stopped putting boundaries around what she could do. Her golfing got better, her grades improved, and her goals got higher. This limitless mindset has carried her through her career, pushing her to achieve more and never settle for mediocrity. 

Tory Bauman’s journey from the golf course to the corporate boardroom is a powerful reminder of the lessons we can learn from sports and how they can shape our lives. Her story is one of resilience, strategic thinking, and relentless pursuit of excellence, qualities that make her a formidable force. 

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