Jan 06, 2017

Why Aren’t Women Better Represented in Leadership Roles?

By Maureen Renzi, vice president – communications

I’d like to think that pondering the lack of women in leadership roles is an age-old question, but it’s not. It’s a discussion that has only bubbled to the top in corporate strategy meetings in recent years. Ten or 15 years ago, businesses were developing inclusion programs to attract women into the accounting profession. In the recent past, there had been some success in attracting women: we witnessed a significant growth in female accounting majors and more than 50 percent of accounting grads were women for many years. But those additional young professional women didn’t translate into significant growth in the number of women holding leadership roles. The plans to attract more women into the profession did not include techniques and initiatives to foster ongoing career growth. As Jane Scaccetti, CPA, commented in her blog post Just Move the Milk, “This is not a supply issue. The issue we have today is one of demand.”

I challenge CPAs to make 2017 the year where women become a priority, and the PICPA is here to help.

Myers and Ellison-Taylor video

Lisa Myers (l), CPA, PICPA's 2016-2017 president, speaks with Kimberly Ellison-Taylor, CPA, AICPA chair, about the "Women to Watch" program recognizing leaders in accounting.

The PICPA is joining a national effort to recognize women leaders through the Women to Watch awards program. In partnership with the AICPA and its Women’s Initiatives executive committee, we are pleased to launch this prestigious award. Award winners will join other CPAs across the country who have been identified as Women to Watch because of their personal success and commitment to fostering the success of others.

The PICPA will honor award recipients who have established themselves as leaders in the profession as well as women who are well on their way to becoming next-generation leaders. While there is a list of accomplishments outlined on the nomination form, it’s important to note that mentoring other professionals will be the trait most heavily weighted. Other qualifications for the award include PICPA and AICPA membership and at least 10 years of experience in the profession.

PICPA’s three women past presidents, Susan E. S. Howe, Denise L. Devine, and Cheri H. Freeh, know something about blazing a successful career path, and all three have agreed to serve on the judging panel. Lisa Myers, our current president, is leading this charge to place more focus on women seeking executive leadership positions. Women to Watch is a great way to honor those who have succeeded and to create a demand for more talented and intelligent women to join the executive ranks. It’s a positive step in creating a clearer path for women to hold leadership positions in the future.

The nomination deadline is Jan. 31, and award recipients will be honored at the PICPA Women’s Conference on May 10, 2017.

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