Career Highlight – Shelly Nabutovsky

I started my journey with Carnival back in 1989 as I was in a crossroad with my life and career.  I had already been married a year, completed 2 years of college with an associate degree in general studies, and didn’t know where I was headed.  Unlike most of my friends, I decided not to continue with my education and thought it would be best to put myself out there and look for a job.  I figured it might the best way for me to see where my passions and interest lie.

Having no experience in any field at this time, my best friend suggested I apply at a temporary agency (Carnival did not have their own HR department at the time).  After two placements with nothing sparking my interest, a third offer came around and was presented for me.  The position was for a clerk within the accounting department at Carnival Cruise Lines.

I must start by saying that I did take some accounting classes in college and found that accounting wasn’t something that brought me passion or purpose.  It was ironic that the position I was placed in was in the accounting department. Here I was on my first day in the Airline Accounting department at Carnival Cruise Lines, and I was super excited to embark on my new adventure in the hospitality industry. After 3 months of a temporary position, the offer of a full-time position was presented to me.  An offer to good to be true, I accepted with joy and excitement.  I was now a new member of “The World’s Most Popular Cruise Line®”.

My first eleven years were spent Airline Accounting department, within Revenue Accounting, where I started as a clerk/admin.   In the beginning, most of my functions where to facilitate filing lost ticket applications with the airlines.  Back then many guests would book their travel though our air/sea department and tickets were paper.  If any of these tickets were lost, our department would file with the airlines to recoup the funds.  It was quite a tedious and manual process (paper tickets, paper forms, etc., you get the picture).  Fast forward through the years, I graduated to learning more about accounting processes by working on airline credit card reconciliation and eventually creating a department manual.  One of my other functions during my tenure was as an accounts receivable admin.  Both personal and crew member tickets were purchased from Carnival’s Air/Sea department, and it was my responsibility to collect the funds to reimburse the company. During this time, I collaborated with other areas within the company with one of them being Casino.   And through this relationship with the Casino Controller and assistance of my Manager, I was able to be offered a new position in a new area.

In 2001, I joined the Casino Division as an admin/clerk.  Through the relationship I maintained with the Casino Controller and my work ethics I gained ownership of several of the monthly responsibilities he was initially handling.  He felt very comfortable handing over these tasks to me.  I gained so much knowledge and understanding of the business by working side by side with him.  Furthermore, with these new assignments, I was able to build relationships with the shipboard team members.  It was such a different experience from my previous department as I didn’t have the exposure to the shipboard team.

In the beginning of my life with casino, I was responsible for computing and calculating the shipboard management commissions as well as the tip pool, which by the way was created within the year I started there.  I took care of the Financial Accounting for all the CCL ships as well as Costa Brands.  There was no CMAS at the time, so all information was received via email and then manually inputted into a spreadsheet as well as legacy financial system.  Speaking of spreadsheet, I brought the idea to have these automatically uploaded to the general ledger system once the information was inputted into the spreadsheet.  At the time all the accountants were manually adding them to the general ledger as well.

Even though I was the newbie in the group, it was wonderful to know that I was given a chance to be heard and that my ideas and suggestions were considered.

Through the years, I was fortunate to collaborate with many of the areas within Casino, learning from anyone and everyone.  Being challenged by new opportunities that presented itself.  I wore many hats along the way as an accounting clerk, staff accountant, financial analyst, and casino accounting analyst.  I was fortunate to be selected to assist in testing the new CMAS system which took away my normal day to day activities.  It was refreshing to be able to take part in a new initiative and to provide my leaders with feedback on the new system.

Then the unexpected happened, in June of 2020, I was devastated the day I had to say goodbye to my Carnival and Casino family.  That was a time of true awakening and coming out of my comfort zone.  It was during this time I found solace in a group that supported each other where I found my voice and Gallup Strengths.  This was my renaissance.  In July of 2021, I received a phone call to come back to the place I loved and called my family.  During my transition year, I became a new version of my previous self.

Fast forward to today, I remain on the accounting team with such great support and admiration from my leaders and colleagues.  I still handle many of the roles I have had under my belt for many years, but also have opportunities to seek other projects.  I have created other unofficial titles for myself such as “411” (information) relationship builder, collaborator, Jill of all trades, out of the box thinker.

My thoughts and ideas are never shot down.  I can use my voice and continue to learn from my team members.  I embrace the leadership, values and culture that are within this organization today.  I am so thankful to be part of such an amazing group of individuals who all contribute to my growth and development.  I feel I can also be myself and say what’s on my mind.  I am listened to, and my ideas are always taken into consideration.  It’s a privilege and pleasure to work and continue to work with the most amazing people.  They all have shaped me into who and what I stand for today.

Shout out to where it all started and say thank you for taking a chance on me.  I am forever grateful.

Fun Facts:

  • South Florida native, born and raised
  • Youngest of 3 sisters
  • My husband and I are highschool sweethearts
  • Love to travel, both home and abroad. Our favorite travels are visiting the National Parks and cruising.
  • Favorite cruise: Baltic on the Crown Princess, Favorite National Park: Yellowstone


  • Always be true to yourself. Be authentic.
  • Surround yourself with positive people.
  • Enjoy and live every moment and cherish the memories.
  • Get out of your comfort zone.
  • Embrace the beauty around you.

Proudest Moments:

  • Project Lead: Relay for Life
  • Finding my strengths through Clifton Strengths
  • Taking an international trip without my husband for the 1st time