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In addition to overseeing Murphy & Company LLC of Branford, Guilford’s Camille Murphy has given decades of volunteer service, sharing her accounting and finance expertise and talent with state and local organizations. In January, Murphy was named 2018 chairman of the board of Shoreline Chamber of Commerce and also became a new member of the board of Guilford Savings Bank. (Photo by Amy Etra )
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Running a CPA organization during tax season might seem like enough of a challenge; but with her seemingly boundless energy and enthusiasm, Camille Murphy has ramped up her volunteer workload to offer a wealth of valuable commitments to her community.
On Jan. 25, Camille was officially named as newly elected chairman of the board of Shoreline Chamber of Commerce (SCC). Also in January, Camille became a member of the board of an iconic financial institution rooted in community, Guilford Savings Bank (GSB).
Camille has some exciting news to share about the future of SCC and is just as excited to be a part of the dynamic group of community leaders on the GSB board.
“I was honored to be asked to join the [GSB] board. It just so perfectly aligns with my life,” says Camille. “It’s finances; it’s people; it’s how do we help people sort of navigate through the mine field in front of them. So it’s a perfect synergy for me.”
She also serves on the boards of The Strong Center of Madison, Junior Achievement (JA) of Connecticut, and Branford Early Childhood Collaborative. Add to that overseeing her Branford business, Murphy & Company LLC (a certified public accounting and business advisory firm) and throw in her passion for providing financial education, and the scope of Camille’s remarkable efforts to share her time and talent begin to come into focus.
A Guilford resident, Camille started her practice in Guilford in 1984 and moved her growing firm to Branford in 1992. Camille first joined the Branford Chamber of Commerce in 2010 and in short measure was asked to serve on its executive board.
“In that capacity, we started dialogue between what was the Branford Chamber and the Guilford Chamber, and it became really apparent to the members of the board we could have so much more available to them if we merged,” Camille recalls. “I don’t think it took more than six months from the time we first sat at the table for the merger to take place.”
Members of both chambers overwhelmingly ratified the merger to become SCC in 2014. In 2016, SCC grew into today’s tri-town chamber representing Branford, Guilford, and North Branford. Then, in 2017, SCC president of 10 years Ed Lazarus announced his retirement. Camille worked the chamber’s small staff to embrace the change while the board’s search committee looked for new a leader.
“Ed Lazarus worked tirelessly for us,” says Camille. “When he retired, the staff of the chamber stepped up, and [they] and I held the chamber together while we looked really hard to find a new leader—and lo and behold, we did.”
On Jan. 2, Sheri Cote officially began her new role as SCC president, bringing experience including, most recently, 13 years as vice president of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut.
Camille is enthusiastic about what the coming months will bring SCC members, starting with plans to poll the membership to help bring forward effective and innovative programs for businesses. Together with the chamber board, Camille’s also looking forward to helping chart SCC’s course for the future.
“We’ve done great things, but there’s so much more we could do,” says Camille. “The question to ask is, ‘Where are we going?’ I used to say all the time to my kids and my clients, ‘If you don’t know where you’re going, how are you going to get there?’ So, we are going to go through a strategic planning process to develop a five-year plan for the chamber.”
Putting together a plan to succeed comes as second nature to Camille, who grew up in New York surrounded by a successful family business founded by her grandfather. The upbringing also gave Camille a lasting gift of understanding what being a small business owner truly means. That type of insight speaks volumes to her current clients in towns stretching along the I-95 corridor from New Haven to Old Saybrook.
“We are filled in this area with the kinds of businesses that are my sweet spot: local businesses, family-owned business,” says Camille. “They’re exactly the kind of clients that we work well with. I have an entrepreneur’s DNA, because I grew up in a family business. So I get how you eat, sleep, and drink your business. I understand at the dinner table you talk about your day at school and you hear about grandpop’s day at work. It taught me to serve the clients that I serve well, to have that understanding that their business is their breathing extension of their lives.”
When Camille was a youngster, she was involved in all aspects of the family business.
“We were in the trash hauling business—we were in garbage! I don’t tell a lot of people I used to drive a garbage truck,” says Camille. “I started on the back of the truck, holding onto the rail and throwing the cans of garbage. I was pretty good at throwing, and my grandfather promoted me—my grandfather believed you start at the bottom and you work your way up. I ultimately ended up doing the books, but I was in the field for most of high school and probably all of college. I drove tractor trailers! I don’t think people could tell I was a female driver, until I would take the truck to the dump and jump out and take my hat off!”
Camille attended Quinnipiac University, where she fell in love with living in Connecticut, and holds a B.S. and a master’s degree in accounting. A past president and director of the Connecticut Society of CPAs, Camille is also a past director of Webster Bank, Shoreline Bank & Trust, Defran Systems, Inc., and the University of New Haven Center for Family Business. As a well-recognized advocate for financial literacy and education, Camille has served on the State of Connecticut Treasurer’s Office Financial Literacy Coalition and was also an adjunct professor of accounting at Post University in Waterbury.
Through her practice, Camille has created a suite of products to simplify home recordkeeping. Through the years, she’s modeled her processes and procedures to train and guide each of her 12 employees. Camille is proud to say her firm can provide cutting-edge technology combined with stellar, knowledgeable service.
Another passion for Camille is sharing her accounting and financial knowledge with the younger generation. She authored a book, Financial Literacy for Your Kids, and has volunteered as an elementary school financial literacy training educator through national Kiddaccounts. Some years ago, she volunteered to teach finance ABC’s to second graders at A.W. Cox Elementary in Guilford. Through Junior Achievement, Camille is currently sharing important basics with older students as a financial literacy educator.
“At the moment, I’m at Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven every other Friday, teaching a class of seniors about how to make good choices with their money,” says Camillle. “When I step out of that classroom at the end of the 45-minute period, and I know I’ve touched at least one life; it’s a feeling I can’t articulate. It’s exciting and important work. I will teach the rest of my life.”
Camille’s also committed to inspiring others to help put the next generation on the path to success.
“We are reinvigorating the shoreline chapter of Junior Achievement, and I can tell you, people are going to know about it,” says Camille.
In her downtime, Camille and her husband, George Sullivan, enjoy sharing their lives with their children and grandchildren.
“Between us, we have four children and six grandchildren, so that’s what I do in my free time,” says Camille, adding, “...at the end of the day, I have to tell you—that’s the joy.”
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