The Ohio Society of CPAs has been working hard to meet the demands of its membership, launching a new women’s initiative in the past six months. The committee is the result of a member survey that found members wanted resources that focused on the issues women face in their careers.
“Over the last few years, many members have come forward and asked about a women’s initiative,” said Marie Brilmyer, CPA, a member on OSCPA’s Women’s Initiative Committee and Executive Board. “We assembled a taskforce, created a survey and from there, we moved very quickly to put our website up and move forward with the initiative.”
The program is still in its infancy, but OSCPA is working to serve its members in different locations. The society aims to be the top source for its members when it comes to supporting and engaging women in the accounting profession by gathering resources that will be useful to women across the state of Ohio as they move forward in their career. The society also wants to sponsor events and dialogue that will promote mentorships and allow them to foster organically.
All OSCPA members are encouraged to become involved with the committee. While many of the issues that OSCPA’s Women’s Initiative will tackle are issues that female professionals care about and tend to experience more often than their male counterparts, they are not specific to women. The committee also wants its members to understand that while the issues women face may impact the way they work, it does not mean they are incapable of doing completing the task at hand.
“It’s important that my coworkers understand that I’m doing the same work they are,” said Brilmyer. “I just may be doing it a different way. I may not be here 12 hours a day. I may have to leave, take care of the kids and then sign back online, but I’m getting it done.”
One way OSCPA is bringing awareness to the issues women face in their career is through their LinkedIn group. The committee has already used the group to gather links to resources and foster discussions on a variety of topics, including Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In.” The goal of the discussions is to create a community where women can turn to each other for professional advice and tips.
“I’ve been very fortunate. In my firm, I had, and have, the support I need and I have been able to move up in my career,” said Brilmyer. “But, it would be nice to have someone that was facing the same issues I am that’s able to provide an objective view. It’s always good to hear stories of how others handled a particular situation or to get ideas and advice on how to make things work out for you.”
As the committee moves forward, they are looking to host a series of events for the Women’s Initiative, including networking and CPE events and annual meetings throughout Ohio.