By Jennifer Cryder, CPA, PICPA COO and executive vice president
Halloween is fast approaching, and my mind is drawn to two things. First, what are we going to do about this holiday? Halloween is yet another “tradition” altered by our “new normal,” so how are we going to safely satisfy our kids’ desires to trick-or-treat? Second, the PICPA Women’s Leadership Conference is on Tuesday, Oct. 27. The Women’s Leadership Conference is always one of my favorite days on the PICPA calendar. Throughout my career I’ve benefited from a mix of incredible mentors and role models. I love the opportunity this conference provides to hear from trailblazers in the profession. While the mode of gathering may be different as this is an all-virtual event this year, there is plenty on the agenda to create the sense of belonging that makes this conference a must for women CPAs and accounting professionals.
I want to point out a few of the presentations I am most looking forward to among our packed agenda. I’ll start with “The Myth of the Nice Girl: Leading with Kindness and Strength.” Fran Hauser will explore tips for being empathetic while not sacrificing decisiveness, becoming a leader who inspires respect as opposed to fear, and asking for what you want without feeling badly about it. For more of Hauser’s insight, have a look at this piece on imposter syndrome. It serves as a wonderful companion to the session Hauser will host on Oct. 27.
Although I would be happy to simply soak in all the great information that will be offered by our speakers, I would be remiss if I did not mention the session that I will be participating in at the conference. During “Building a Career of Service and Security,” I will be talking with Kathleen Hamm, former member of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. I am eager to hear Kathleen’s perspective as she has a front-row seat to the ways our profession is changing as a result of practical applications of emerging technology. Throughout her varied career Kathleen has been in the seat of regulator, policymaker, board member, executive, and thought leader. I will be talking with her about how each of those perspectives informs her work and what women in the CPA profession can learn from her experiences.
The accounting profession has long struggled with workplace diversity and inclusion. At the Women’s Leadership Conference, we are thrilled to feature the insight of Sherry Ann Mohan, CPA, a partner with Goldman Sachs. In her discussion with Jeannine K. Brown, managing director and owner of Everyday Lead, she will discuss what it takes for women to become champions of workplace diversity. They’ll discuss successful diversity programs that have positively impacted black women in the accounting world, the impact of microaggressions and bias faced by women of color in the workplace, and more. I’m really looking forward to hearing Sherry’s story and the opportunity to learn from the experiences of both her and Jeannine.
Another session I am looking forward to is one simply titled “Resiliency.” Today’s world presents no shortage of opportunities to build this critical skill. Today it seems resiliency is something we must possess in abundance. In her session, Karen Reivich, director of the resilience and positive psychology training program at the University of Pennsylvania, will outline the practical skills needed to enhance one’s ability to navigate adversity and grow through challenges, and to lay out strategies that create optimism on both the home front and in the workplace (even if those are the same thing right now).
And these are just a few of the great sessions at the 2020 PICPA Women’s Leadership Conference. We’ll also be featuring valuable discussions on taking ownership of your career path, positioning yourself in the area of sales (whether you’re on the path to partner or headed somewhere else), and strategies for building a firm where women are set up for success (presented by three of our industry’s most prominent managing partners). Wherever you are in your career, there’s a topic that makes it vital for you attend. I look forward to seeing you at this year’s event.
Jennifer Cryder, CPA, is chief operating officer and executive vice president of the PICPA. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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