Coming Spring 2020

PICPA's Women's Leadership Conference provides a forum for female CPAs and financial professionals to network and take away valuable information for use in their personal and professional lives.

Attendees take away valuable lessons on resilience in the workforce and overcoming obstacles professionally and personally.

Check back for On-Demand self-study sessions available from the 2019 conference.

2019 Featured Speakers

Michelle Poler

Michelle Poler

Presenting: Fear Less, Do More

Born and raised in Caracas-Venezuela, Michelle Poler is a creative and passionate social entrepreneur, keynote speaker, fear facer, and branding strategist. She is the Founder of Hello Fears, a social movement empowering millions to step outside of the comfort zone and tap into their full potential.

She has spoken at TEDx, Google, INBOUND, Facebook, ESPN, Netflix, Procter and Gamble, Microsoft, Toyota, World Domination Summit, Festival of Media Global, and many more.

Michelle is also the creator of the project 100 Days Without Fear. Her work has been featured on CBS, CNN, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Fox News, Telemundo, Glamour, Elle, The Rachael Ray Show, Refinery29, and Daily Mail among many others.


Terri Polley

Women Leading the Accounting Future: A Fireside Chat with FAF Past President and CEO

Terri is the Past President of the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF). She brings 30 years of experience with FAF and the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB).

Polley also served as Executive Director of Advisory Groups for the FASB. In this role, she was primary liaison between the Board and its constituent organizations that provide input into its decision-making processes.

2019 Agenda

7:15 a.m.
Breakfast and Check-in
8:00 a.m.
Greetings from PICPA Leadership
8:10 a.m.
Fear Less, Do More: A Talk that Will Inspire You to Choose Growth Over Comfort

Michelle’s humorous, refreshing, and inspiring speaking style has been captivating audiences across the globe. With authentic storytelling, engaging visuals, and her 100 Days Without Fear experience, Michelle will show you how to challenge your comfort zone to tap into your full potential.
In this fun and energizing session, you will learn about:

  • Dealing with the unknown
  • Seeking growth over safety
  • Embracing authenticity
  • Daring to fail
  • Leading with accountability
  • Redefining fear – from obstacle to opportunity


Michelle Poler
Social Entrepreneur and Branding Strategist
9:50 a.m.
Award Presentation: Women to Watch
For more information and to see the list of this year’s recipients: Women to Watch Forum 
10:00 a.m.
Take a Breather
10:10 a.m.
Taking the Reins at Your Firm

In 2017, Deanna Byrne, CPA, became the first female managing partner in PwC’s Philadelphia office. Her experience ascending to the top of the firm provides a wealth of real-life examples of seizing opportunities, overcoming obstacles, and working hard to achieve success. Deanna will share her experience and practical insight from her career, including:

  • Succeeding in public accounting and beyond
  • Tips for finding and taking on new leadership roles
  • Cultivating relationships with mentors and sponsors
  • Applying tools to improve inclusion for women in leadership


Byrne, Deanna
Deanna Byrne, CPA
Managing Partner
11:00 a.m.
Leading in Our Communities: Boards and Balance

A panel of women will define the importance of volunteering and the impact women can have by serving on not-for-profit boards. Join these panelist in discussion and learn how they have committed their time, effort, and energy to great causes they believe in.

  • Hear about the panelists' personal experience with board involvement
  • Learn how to discover and seize opportunities to lead
  • Pick up practical tips for incorporating volunteering in your life
  • Get answers to your questions on how CPA's can make the biggest impact with their investment of time and expertise


Frances A. Aitken, CPA
Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations
Berks County Community Foundation | Treasurer, PICPA


Elizabeth Ireland, CPA
Partner, Audit Services, Not-for-Profit and Higher Education Industry
Grant Thornton LLP
Sandy Pfeffer, CPA
Managing Director
Deloitte & Touche LLP
Saniah M. Johnson, CPA
Head of US Corporate Development
Macquarie Investment Management
Janea Jordon
Executive Vice President - Office of Audit and Compliance
Philadelphia Housing Authority
12:00 p.m.
Lunch and Networking
1:00 p.m.
Using Your CPA Superpowers for a Career in Cyber

Join Terry Grafenstine, the first female Inspector General of the US House of Representatives and the second female in 50 years to be the Global Chair of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), as she reflects on her career, the lessons she learned along the way, and how becoming a CPA helped set the foundation for becoming a leader in cybersecurity. Receive practical tips on using your CPA “superpowers” on emerging technologies, like Robotics Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence.


Theresa Grafenstine, CPA, CISA, CISSP
Managing Director, Cyber Security & Business Continuity
1:50 p.m.
Women Leading the Accounting Future: A Fireside Chat with FAF Past President and CEO

Discuss why the accounting profession needs more gender balance in its leadership ranks and the paths to achieving it, and why the preparation for the next generation of female accounting leaders should begin today. Explore the challenges and opportunities young women entering the profession will encounter.

  • Get practical advice on how to build a career path to the C-suite. 
  • Understanding the stumbling blocks that continue to hold back women in the workplace.
  • Gain insight into the immediate and practical steps women can take to spur change.
  • Identify actions young women entering the profession can make to become successful leaders of the profession in the future.


Terri Polley
Past President and CEO
Financial Accounting Foundation


Jennifer Cryder, CPA
Jennifer Cryder, CPA
COO & Executive Vice President
Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs
2:40 p.m.
2:50 p.m.
Starting and Leading Your Own Business
  • Successful transitions from public accounting to corporate finance to entrepreneurship
  • Leading a company from inside and outside – management as an executive and a board member
  • How to get started with turning an idea into a business
  • Monetizing your business and intellectual property
  • The unique challenges that women face when starting, running, and selling a company


Joy Taylor 
Go-to-Market Leader
Grant Thornton LLP
3:40 p.m.
Being Empowered-Staying Empowered
  • Mind over matter
  • Who's embracing diversity's dissonance
  • Authenticity calls compromise & when not to
  • The power of personality


Montague, Jen
Jen Montague
Managing Director
Modern Wealth Management Concepts, MWC Executive Services
4:30 p.m.
See You Next Year

Thank You to Our 2019 Sponsors

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Sponsor this conference!  View packages, and contact Kelli Comegys for more details.

"As a young, professional woman, this conference gave me the opportunity to hear women who have proven successful in the industry speak on topics, issues, and trials that they have faced and conquered. Their words have reinforced my drive for success and have given me the tools and confidence with which to embrace the challenges which lie before me."

Maureen Gillott, CPA
Fairman Group Family Office LLP