2023 Most Powerful Women in Accounting
Chief Culture, Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) Officer
RSM US LLP
How do you envision the accounting profession evolving in the foreseeable future for women?
As clients demand diverse representation every day, women and gender diversity will be seen as essential and even greater assets to firms and to the profession in the future. The smarter firms will set smart goals to achieve greater representation of women leaders and gender accountability. Also, women’s groups within firms will continue to increase women leader readiness and call attention to the essential role women play in the future of the business.
What advice would you give to women college students about preparing for a career in the accounting profession?
As you prepare for your professional future, first, pace yourself. Recognize the unique value you bring to the profession and that you own your future – no one else. Next, aim high, saying “yes” to opportunities to learn, stretch or lead. Third, sharpen your people skills. This means curate an ease in interacting with all kinds of people as your people confidence is a differentiator. Finally, diversify your talent and speak other business “languages” though certification or study in areas adjacent to yours. The more tools you have in your toolbox the more problems you can help solve and the more sought-after you will be.
How would you advise accounting firms on how they can better attract, retain, and advance more women?
The first, and perhaps most courageous step is to address the pervasive barrier: traditional stereotyping and gender bias. Society holds false assumptions that paint women as too weak, emotionally unstable, soft and lacking the necessary assertiveness for the accounting world.
Not only does this harm the growth of women in the profession as a whole, but women are significantly underrepresented at higher levels especially.
Ironically, studies have shown that women perform much better in leadership positions thanks to their resilience, initiative and high displays of honesty and integrity. Perhaps the accounting profession can finally benefit from more female inclusion!
Women’s groups within firms and the profession create safer space for the stewardship, teamwork, retention and advancement of women through advocacy and allyship. Start them and support them.
What is your favorite professional mobile app, and why?
Pocket. Pocket helps users save and share videos, articles, and emails to their smartphones. The app learns what you like to read and recommends similar articles.
What do you like to do when you have time away from work? Answer: For others, speak to lower income girls about their potential and power.
For myself, visit historic and museum sites and learn from history.
What are your favorite podcasts?
Freakonomics, The Will to Change: Driving Diversity and Inclusion and Moonshots.