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Other students "thought I was very driven and determined," said the 38-year-old senior manager at BKD LLP in Little Rock.
After taking a few accounting classes in high school, Hovis realized she wanted to be an accountant.
"I liked the analytical aspects of it," she said. "It sounded interesting and fun to do."
Through BKD, Hovis was outsourced as chief financial officer for Vice President Al Gore's unsuccessful 2000 presidential campaign, which had a budget of about $80 million.
During the campaign, Hovis still maintained her duties at BKD and commuted from Tennessee to Little Rock every other weekend.
Out of the office, Hovis can be found at Arkansas State University at Jonesboro, where she graduated with a bachelor's degree in accounting, assisting its Business Advisory Council to bring a master's degree program in accounting to the school.
She also is a member of the Centurion Circle, which raises money for the Centers for Youth and Family projects.
Hovis' greatest influence was her mother. "She just taught me to strive to be independent, think for yourself and work hard," Hovis said.