I had the opportunity to attend the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Global Women’s Conference in Boston in November. I left feeling energized as I watched a majority room of women seeking to understand what the workforce of the future looked like. A future full of companies who are actively working to create an environment where employees feel included and recognized for the contributions they make to their companies. There were a number of sessions with a wealth of information, but there were a few particular individuals that left their mark engraved in my mind as they represented the very culture we envision and are working together to build at HORNE. They were each unique in their own right, bringing fresh perspectives and challenging old conversations.
The first perspective that impacted me came from Richard Caturano, a partner in the Boston Office of RSM US LLP. He serves as the firm’s national leader of culture, diversity and inclusion. I admired his willingness to share his own growth along this journey of diversity and inclusion. His perspective reminded me that this is a journey for all of us, each in his or her own time.
The second perspective came from Jina Etienne, who was chosen last year by the board of directors of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) as the new president and CEO. She was previously the AICPA’s director of taxation and the founder and managing member of a boutique CPA firm. Jina offered a candid vulnerability that I admire. As a minority female, it can be a difficult balance to strike on the topic of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Her perspective challenged me to own my voice, seasoned with grace and balanced with a listening ear.
Lastly, Belicia Cespedes who is the world’s youngest CPA, passing the exam at only 17-years-old. She graduated from high school at 13. She gave me a new perspective on the future of our nation and our profession—and it is very bright!
Even though these three represented different generations, nationalities and perspectives, they all shared a passion for evolving inclusive cultures in the accounting world that are catalysts for change. I heard one of the speakers compare diversity to being asked to go to a dance, versus inclusion, which is being asked to dance. Another perspective, one worth sharing. And if you want to learn more about these three individuals, I encourage you to visit their respective LinkedIn pages. You won’t be disappointed.
About the Author
Lynn is a government services senior manager at HORNE LLP and the program director for housing programs in the city of Galveston, TX. Her positive energy and willingness to think outside the box continue to benefit our team and our clients greatly.