2020-2021 Most Influential Women in Accounting
Shareholder and Consultant
Lean Six Sigma Black Belt
Boomer Consulting, Inc.
What advice would you give others on your similar journey about opportunities for women in the accounting profession?
Consulting is a path I discovered through Boomer Consulting’s focus on unique abilities – your natural talents and strengths that others sometimes recognize before you. Counseling requires skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, active communication, facilitation, empathy, and relationship building that match my unique abilities. As we all know, there is an increasing opportunity for accounting professionals to partner with individuals and organizations to help them create concrete strategies and actions to achieve their goals. I would advise others to identify their own unique abilities and determine if they align with the counseling skill set – keeping in mind that there are a variety of personalities and styles! It’s about determining if this is the right path for you and taking the next steps in your career development. Be sure to explore training, mentoring, and being part of a peer group.
What measures would you suggest to employers to be more effective in retaining and advancing women?
I would suggest these three steps:
1) Awareness. Identify areas of your organization that do not support an inclusive environment for women. Also assess policies and practices that limit the advancement of women. Solicit both internal and external feedback to minimize blind spots.
2) Communication. Talk to the women in your organization to understand what they think would help with retention and advancement. Consider conducting stay interviews to gather information on the reasons why women choose to stay. Have one-on-one conversations about career goals and aspirations and plan for follow-up.
3) Support. Commit to supporting the advancement of women in your organization. Be an advocate and ally who helps create continued opportunities for success.
Why did you choose to work and stay in an accounting related field?
The future of the profession is bright and I am delighted to be part of the transformation. When I work with a company to develop and execute their process improvement strategy, develop their existing and emerging leaders, or develop the skills needed to move from compliance to consulting, I help them build capacity and capability. necessary to deliver even more value to its customers. And that causes a ripple effect of opportunity. It is gratifying and inspiring to see the impact that CPA firms have on individuals, businesses and communities.
What book (s), blog (s) or podcast (s) do you recommend that have guided you on your journey?
Reading books is my favorite way to learn. Leaders are readers! Here is my current list of the top 10 books:
- Servant Leadership: A Journey Into the Nature of Rightful Power and Greatness – Robert K. Greenleaf
- No Limits – John Maxwell
- HBR’s 10 Must-Read Change Management Readings – Harvard Business Review
- A White Collar Profession: African-American Accountants Since 1921 – Theresa A. Hammond
- Dare to Lead – Brene Brown
- Monster of Change – Jeanie Daniel Duck
- Ego is the Enemy – Ryan Holiday
- Atomic Habits – James Clear
- End of Me – Kyle Idleman
- The Baby Boomer Newsletter – Boomer Consulting, Inc.
McKinsey & Company has published its Women in the Workplace Study 2020 it basically says that the current pandemic is starting to impact the progress women, especially women of color, have made in the profession. What advice would you give to employers to support women during this time so that the future of our workforce is not negatively affected?
Remember that not all situations and aspirations are the same. Talk to the women in your organization and find out what they need. It requires creating a safe place for honest conversations. Provide flexibility, but keep in mind that it looks different to everyone. Consider the desire for reduced hours, flexible hours and extended time off. Also find ways to provide more opportunities for advancement. Don’t assume that flexibility equals reduced work – for some, the pandemic has created different abilities and motivations. Communicate, communicate, communicate! And create a supportive work environment that includes and encompasses different working modalities.
What advice would you give to young female CPAs who are striving to achieve similar success in this profession?
Find a mentor and take advantage of networking opportunities. Be genuine – the real you is the one the profession / the world needs. Share your talents, your voice and your ideas. Commit to lifelong learning and continuous improvement. If you are the only woman or person of color sitting at the table, don’t consider it a disadvantage. Rather, see it as an opportunity to use your voice and influence to help the organization and chart the course for others.
Describe someone who has been an important mentor and sponsor to you and how that person has helped shape the direction or direction of your professional life.
Many people have helped me along my journey and continue to give me their support and encouragement. But my mom stands out as the person who made the most impact. She is an accomplished scientist who has spent her career working at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She is a trailblazer for other women of color in STEM. She also contributes to diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at UW-Madison. She’s a superhero-rockstar! She taught me to be brave and courageous, to walk in my strength and to use my influence for good. She also taught me not to be afraid to be the only person in the room who looks like me, as fearless leadership helps create the opportunity for others to join with you.
Please share a personal rule or principle that you follow.
“Servant leadership”. My role is to serve and use my talents to help others. I am grateful to have the opportunity to live this principle throughout my career. To paraphrase John Wimber’s words: I will take the encouragement that comes from thanksgiving, but all the glory goes to God.
Learn more about the 2020-2021 Most Influential Women in Accounting recipients.