2019 Top 100 People extra: Personal accomplishments

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As part of this year’s Top 100 Most Influential People survey, Accounting Today asked, “Do you have a major personal accomplishment that you’re particularly proud of?”

The full responses of all the candidates are below.

Some years ago, I brought the First Step program into Wolters Kluwer. This program is part of the NYC Center for the Homeless, and gives women who are victims of abuse, mentoring and internships role to get them back into the workforce

— Karen Abramson, CEO, Wolters Kluwer, Tax & Accounting Global Division

My family is my greatest source of pride. My wife Cheryl and I are parents of five amazing adult children and grandparents of 10.
— Joe Adams, Managing Partner and CEO, RSM US

Personal — I am most proud of my family, my wife and kids. I am proud of the character of all of them and how they conduct themselves.

Professional — Tipalti is definitely my greatest accomplishment. Building a company that is leading a new category, with very happy customers and a great team.
— Chen Amit, CEO, Tipalti

Generally, assisting dozens of firms to restructure their audit processes to get rid of wasted effort and a filling-out-the-form’s mindset. We are losing the best and the brightest in this current state. My approach changes this and gives the auditor permission to think again. With this as a backdrop, a year ago I went into a firm to help restructure their process, and a young woman came up to me and said, “I was going to leave this firm until you came in and showed us there was a better way to do things.” That is something for which I am very proud.

— Alan Anderson, President and founder, Accountability Plus

I recently went through a painful separation with my former wife, and despite the demanding life in high tech, I made sure that my children were the least impacted and I stuck to a high-frequency custody schedule, so they never missed me or their mother too much. Recently, while walking holding my oldest child’s hand on a beach, I was told, “I am just so glad daddy that we still see you every week, other children had their parents separate and they don’t see their daddy as much.”

It made the countless overnight flights, rushing out of the office to come pick them up on time worth it all.
— Solon Angel, Founder, MindBridge AI

In 1985, I was the first marketing director in the accounting profession that was made an equity owner in a top 100 accounting firm. I started offering annual marketing directors’ conferences prior to the establishment of Association for Accounting Marketing.
— August Aquila, CEO, Aquila Global Advisors

My wife, three kids and three grandkids motivate me every day, and I’m extremely proud of the family my wife and I created.

I’m also particularly proud of what I have been able to accomplish by giving back to my community. My desire to give back comes from my experience as a child. When I came to this country from Cuba when I was just nine years old, I had to rely completely on the charity of others for five years. That taught me to recognize the importance of philanthropy. By choosing accounting as my career, I've been able to dedicate some of my spare time to community service. I think that every great business needs to give back to the community. After my childhood experience, I can't imagine taking money out of a community or living off a community, and not giving back my fair share. At MBAF, if an employee wants to get involved with an organization, we sponsor corporate run teams, or organize a fundraiser for the organization that's dear to their heart.

It was one of my greatest honors to be presented South Florida’s most prestigious community service awards (the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s Sand In My Shoes Award and the United Way of Miami-Dade’s Tocqueville Award for Outstanding Philanthropy) for my commitment philanthropy and volunteerism.

— Tony Argiz, CEO and Chairman, MBAF

I am extremely proud of having served for two years as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer, in Tanzania. A truly defining experience in my life that provided me great perspective, inspiration, and has helped me immensely both personally and professionally.
— Erik Asgeirsson, President and CEO, CPA.com

When my Plan A (getting married, having babies) didn’t pan out, I pivoted early and learned how to navigate the world solo. I Started to take great pride in the life I was building for myself, by myself. I set goals for myself and began checking them off: graduated college with honors in three years (while working full-time); landed a full-time job at the company I was interning with (and continued to get promoted); purchased my first house at age 23. I got some great advice as a teenager — that is to know how to be successful as “Kim” before I was ever someone’s “other half,” and achieving that goal is probably what I’m most proud of.
— Kim Austin, Business Development Manager, Intuit

We hit a major milestone recently: 10,000 accountants are using LeaseQuery. As a former accountant, I know firsthand how challenging the job is, and how big our responsibility is. We take it seriously. I couldn’t be more proud of the team we’ve built at LeaseQuery. It’s not strictly a personal accomplishment, because many people have contributed to get us where we are today: almost 200 employees, over 900 customers, 54 percent of which are public companies, and over 30 Fortune 100 clients.
— George Azih, Founder and CEO, LeaseQuery LLC

I’ve never really thought much about past accomplishments, but two I’m particularly proud of are: the seven books written that have sold 75,000 copies and altered the way many professionals operate their business; and launching “The Soul of Enterprise” radio show (with Ed Kless), and being able to interview giants in the fields of business (Peter Block, Rory Sutherland, etc.), economics (Thomas Sowell, Deirdre McCloskey, Russ Roberts, Michael Munger, Thomas Hazlitt, David Friedman, Steven Landsburg, Dan Ariely, etc.), religion (Rabbi Daniel Lapin and Father Robert Sirico), the military (Colonel Rick Searfoss, astronaut and space shuttle commander, Colonel Chris “Elroy” Stricklin, former USAF Thunderbird, etc.). Many of these people have been my mentors for decades, and being able to talk with such intelligent people, while humbling, is an incredible learning experience.
— Ron Baker, Founder, VeraSage Institute

Balancing a demanding career and a heavy travel schedule leaves room for much self-doubt in terms of ensuring that our three sons grew into whole human beings — happy and self-confident with minds filled with ambition and hearts filled with empathy. We did it. Our three sons are each unique, successful men well equipped to handle responsibility, to value compassion, to demonstrate anger and affection and to prioritize life’s challenges. They are extremely self-aware of gender inequalities and applauded each of my accomplishments along the way. Each has become a man I admire.
— Joanne Barry, Executive Director and CEO, New York State Society of CPAs

I am particularly proud of my professional success and ascension to managing partner. Specifically, I am proud of the joy and pride it has brought to my parents. Their hard work and sacrifice allowed me to pursue my dreams and achieve success beyond their expectations.
— Tom Barry, Managing Partner, Green Hasson Janks

In addition to my helping to raise my children to be self-sufficient and prosperous, my grandchildren are thriving and happy. The accomplishment that I’m most proud is the fact that I am helping professionals on a regular basis with advice on what to do to advance their career or improve their practice. I may not be on the main stage, but I interact and influence a great number of people from the sidelines, as evidenced by the number of interactions I have with colleagues and students. It feels great when a student I had 10 years ago tells me they are an accountant today because of me.
—David Bergstein, Digital Evangelist, Intuit and BergsteinCPA

Serving as a member of the board of directors for AVM Biotechnology. We are working to bring noninvasive lymphatic depleting molecules to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
— Michael Bernard, Chief Tax Officer — Transaction Tax, Vertex Inc.

I’m particularly proud to have completed nine marathons across Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. The strategic training and goal setting I’ve adapted for long distance running have also helped me greatly in my career.

Building the foundation for BDO’s growth during my time as CEO has very much been like running a marathon. You have to establish your long-term vision and goals and focus every day on the essential aspects of your strategy to get there.
— Wayne Berson, CEO, BDO USA

Helping accountants regain the control they lost to external forces over their core services — accounting and payroll — by using cloud technology.
— Chandra Bhansali, CEO and Co-Founder, AccountantsWorld

Successfully raising two kids into adulthood, while simultaneously starting my own company.
— Sharada Bhansali, President and Co-Founder, AccountantsWorld

While the success of CPA mobility practice in the U.S. involved the work of many volunteers and staff, my accomplishments as chair of the mobility effort for NASBA is something I am personally proud of. Now, with nearly a decade of mobility practice privileges in all but one state, the system has worked well with no significant challenges. The U.S. CPA profession is the only profession in the world that has achieved mobility cross-border-practice privileges.
— Ken Bishop, President and CEO, NASBA

Building and leading our Deeper Weekend conference (https://dw.thriveal.com/) for nine years straight has been a joy to see hundreds of firm entrepreneurs from all over the world grow through the experience.
— Jason Blumer, CEO, Blumer CPAs and Thriveal CPA Network

The development of the team at Boomer Consulting to meet the wants and needs of our clients in five areas: leadership, technology, talent, processes and growth.
— L. Gary Boomer, Visionary & Strategist, Boomer Consulting Inc.

I'm most proud of the transformation Boomer Consulting has made over the last several years to build a strong team that is positioned well for the future. It's never easy to shift the market perception of an organization from being synonymous with a single, well-recognized founder and leader like Gary Boomer to one that is viewed as an organization with the breadth and depth of expertise to continue to deliver high-value services to our clients into the future. This was made possible through careful planning and excellent execution by our team over the last several years.
— Jim Boomer, CEO, Boomer Consulting Inc.

I would have to say it was becoming president of the New Jersey Society of CPAs. I was young at the time and my work schedule was grueling. Our managing partner at the time, Ivan Brown, encouraged me to take on the challenge. I am so happy that I did. I learned so much during that period of time.

Most importantly, I learned how to delegate. In the past I was of the believe that only I could service my clients. I quickly learned that unless I leveraged the talent and resources of my firm, I was not going to grow professionally, nor would I have any form of quality of life. I am thankful to the NJCPA for helping me to realize this important life lesson.
— Jim Bourke, Managing Director of Advisory Services, WithumSmith+Brown

I’m not the first one to tackle a lot in my first year as CEO at an association, but I’m very proud of the team at the Indiana CPA Society and our ability last year to launch a new web site, launch a new brand/logo, move to a new office and make other major program shifts related to our professional updates and peer review administration. It was a hectic year and a half, but I believe we did the right thing by our members in tackling a lot at one time and setting a new course for the future.
—Jennifer Briggs, President and CEO, Indiana Society of CPAs

I was a member of the 1990 Women’s Fastpitch National Championship Team at Eastern Connecticut State University. I also scored the winning run in the final game!
— Dawn Brolin, EVP of Business Development and Compliance, Powerful Accounting powered by Out of the Box Technology

I am proud to be Dean of Pepperdine University School of Law, where I get to work each day with talented students, faculty, and staff, all committed to both excellence and faith in everything we do.
— Paul Caron, Dean, Pepperdine University School of Law

If someone had told me 10 years ago that I would write even a single book, I would have laughed. I did not set out to be an author or a social media influencer. But then there are a lot of things I did not intend to do when I took this job nearly 11 years ago. One of the messages in my first book, “Lessons Learned on the Audit Trail,” is life will take you where you need to go. I consider it a major personal accomplishment to have authored three books, including the latest, released earlier this year, “The Speed of Risk: Lessons Learned on the Audit Trail,” 2nd Edition. We must never stop learning from the lessons that life teaches us. That is one of the reasons it gives me such great pleasure to hear from readers who say the books offer lessons that can be applied beyond the realm of auditing and accounting to life in general.
— Richard Chambers, President and CEO, Institute of Internal Auditors

  • Co-founding a boutique CPA firm and leading the startups and cryptocurrency practice.
  • Being named a 2019 “40 under 40” honoree by CPA Practice Advisor before the age of 30.
  • Receiving the Young CPA of the Year Award in Texas (youngest to win)

— Shehan Chandrasekera, Head of Tax Strategy, CoinTracker

An opportunity to truly “live the American dream” — i.e., started my own firm at 28 years old, hired and worked with some of the most amazing and wonderfully talented people, loved working with my clients each and every day, energized by the passion they brought to their own business, and finally sold our firm last year to become part of an even more exciting organization.
— David Cieslak, EVP and Chief Cloud Officer, RKL eSolutions

My role at the firm included coaching the staff on their soft skills. We would annually sit down and discuss their personal marketing plan. One individual wanted to rise within the firm but was very quiet. I suggested that he either take a Dale Carnegie class or join Toastmasters to help him learn to communicate better. To his credit, he took my advice and joined Toastmasters. The change was so dramatic we began implementing a series of exercises and presentations with the staff based on what he had learned. It was insightful and helpful to the staff and management. It was one component that led the change to more of a marketing culture at the firm.
— Lauren Clemmer, Executive Director, Association for Accounting Marketing

I am very proud of our firm and our people and, in particular, the culture of teamwork and client service that we have always stressed. I am also very proud of whatever contribution I might have had on helping our people and clients become more successful and achieving more of their potential.

I am also very proud of my personal growth over the years. I co-founded Citrin Cooperman when I was in my 20s, when I was still an arrogant and egotistical young man. Throughout the years, I’ve worked hard to adjust and grow into a person who is open to listening to the opinions and advice of others. Of course, it wasn’t an easy lesson to learn, but this transformation within myself is one of the major factors that has allowed Citrin Cooperman to become as successful as it has been, because it’s a firm not made up just of me, but of many incredibly talented individuals. By letting go of ego, and putting the focus on our team and clients, we’ve been able to reach new milestones as a team.
— Joel Cooperman, CEO, Citrin Cooperman & Co.

Achieving the Advisory Board Hall of Fame.
— Gale Crosley, President, Crosley+Co.

Both of our children were born with multiple severe life-threatening food allergies; safely raising them along with my wife to become successful young adults is my proudest personal achievement.
— Kevin Cumley, Director – Sage Intacct Accountants Program, Sage Intacct

An accomplishment I’m particularly proud of is unifying the Canadian accountancy profession to create CPA Canada. Accounting is a unique profession in that it is so global, and we see so much collaboration on the global stage. Being able to consolidate the professional bodies in Canada remains something I am very proud of, and believe has served the profession well.
— Kevin Dancey, CEO, IFAC

Being promoted to president of Schellman & Co. is up there. That was memorable, not because of the hard work and dedication it took to get here, but because of the proud look in my parents’ eyes. My family never cared how much I money I made, or how much recognition I gained — they only cared that I committed to better myself and those around me in a field I found satisfying. They cared that I worked to push myself to the forefront, craved innovation, and chose to be a leader. My father and grandfather would say, “A family dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge will always be wealthier than those dedicated to the pursuit of profit. Money will come and go, but knowledge can never be taken.” Still, having immigrated to the U.S in the 1970s, they never anticipated that they would see one of their daughters take on this role.
— Avani Desai, President, Schellman & Co.

Professionally, it would be the significant progress we have made culturally as a firm, truly embracing becoming a more diverse firm.
—Ted Dickman, CEO and Governing Board Chair, BKD CPAs & Advisors

I’m proud of our firm’s investments in meaningful actions to strengthen our culture and create an environment that supports our values, goals and strategic direction. In January 2020, we will open the doors at KPMG Lakehouse, which embodies these efforts. A world-class learning, development and innovation facility, Lakehouse is a major investment in our people, our culture and our future. Our professionals will come to Lakehouse, which is built on a 55-acre site in Orlando’s Lake Nona community, to be immersed in our culture, collaborate with one another, deepen their connection to the firm’s legacy and enhance their skills. Lakehouse will host about 800 KPMG professionals each week, and we expect that more than 1 million hours of in-person professional development will be completed there during the first year. It’s a true differentiator, and I could not be more proud that it has come to fruition.
— Lynne Doughtie, Chairman and CEO, KMPG

I am personally very proud of my community service initiatives. I have several interests, but my work with Georgetown East Elementary School is extremely rewarding and enables me to support the administration and students with school supplies, career days, holiday events, and food/clothing drives.
— Kimberly Ellison-Taylor, Executive Director – Finance Thought Leadership, Oracle, Cloud Business Group

My major personal accomplishment is my 40 years of marriage to Dorothy and our raising our beautiful daughter, Karen.
— Domenick Esposito, CEO, Esposito CEO2CEO, LLC

Raising three independent, strong, brave, sensitive and caring young men. One is a police officer, one is a teacher and one is studying to be a firefighter.
— Kim Fantaci, President, CPA Firm Management Association

From 2015-2017, I served on the Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council. During my tenure, I was on the W&I/SBSE sub-group where I worked on recommendations with regard to Identity Theft issues. These recommendations were include in the annual reports.
— Neil Fishman. President, NCCPAP

On a personal level, my greatest accomplishment is raising two remarkable and productive children. On a professional level, standing up the CAQ and being able 12 years later to leave a strong and vibrant organization is something about which I am proud.
— Cindy Fornelli, Immediate Past Executive Director, Center for Audit Quality

I started my career as a behavioral psychologist and faculty member at Virginia Tech. I’m one of the few people who has resigned a tenured professorship to become an entrepreneur. I’ve been fortunate in starting and growing three companies, including an $80 million high-growth success story in the consumer health space. I consider making the transition from academic to businessperson my greatest personal accomplishment.
— Lee Frederiksen, Managing Partner, Hinge

I’ve been named to Insightful Accountant’s Top 100 ProAdvisors five years in a row, and during that time, I’ve been named to their Top 10 list twice. The latest accolade was this year, when I was named “Top Trainer/Writer,” which has always been given to an American recipient in previous years. As a Canadian, I was floored. And humbled.
— Esther Friedberg Karp, President and CEO, EFK CompuBooks Inc.

I am most proud of being recognized as one of the 2018 Top 20 under 40 professionals in accounting by CPA Practice Advisor. After starting my career knocking on thousands of doors selling office supplies to accountants in 2005, I truly felt respected and appreciated by the industry I have dedicated my career to. I truly believe that accountants are the most important advisor a business can have, I will continue to do all that I can to contribute to the profession.
— Arthur Garcia, President and COO, ATAX

57,000 subscribers in my YouTube Channel about accounting — 100 percent true educational content, no sensationalism, no clickbait, just pure education.
— Hector Garcia, CEO, Quick Bookkeeping & Accounting

Publishing my book, writing two Emmy-nominated awards shows and producing a podcast with 300+ episodes showcasing the human side of professionals (mostly accountants).
— John Garrett, comedian, consultant and “Recovering Accountant”

I am most proud of having mentored former FASB staff who graduated to key roles in our capital markets, including a former SEC chief accountant (Paul Beswick), a FASB member (Sue Cosper), and a former AICPA Financial Reporting Executive Committee (FinREC) chairman (Rich Paul).
— Russell Golden, Chairman, FASB

1. Mothering six children and maintaining (most of) my sanity! (4 by birth, 2 by marriage).

2. I grew up poor and entered adulthood as a single teen mom with no expectation of anyone bailing me out— especially after someone said I couldn’t be a good mom and would never have a chance at success. “Watch me,” I thought. It motivated me to work incredibly hard, for a long time, to overcome really bad odds and build a successful family and career. And to learn to find the good in any situation, even when it’s really hard to see. In the next two years, I’ll begin to (volunteer) counsel other teen moms and maybe write a book that I hope can inspire.

3. (Or you could use this) Staying true to my beliefs even when they aren’t popular, and being able to persuade others have been lifelong themes. Whether persuading people to give me a shot, or to try difficult new things for themselves, both are things that I’m proud of.
— Michelle Golden River, President, Fore

One thing I’m particularly proud of is instilling the value of hard work in my kids. Seeing them play sports and work through the ups and downs makes me so proud. I often say, “Hard work always wins” and now I hear my kids repeating that quote, which means a lot to me.
— Sasan Goodarzi, CEO, Intuit

I have overcome substantial loss and been able to be positive and also balancing my family and a tough job. I lost my father to brain cancer a month before starting with Rainmaker. He was diagnosed two weeks before he passed. I also lost my younger brother in an accident (2008) as well as my mother due to a long illness. We were working on me donating a kidney to her at the time. My only other sibling (Jennifer) was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer six months after my mother passed (in 2013) and was given four years to live. She was the only person left in my immediate family. I was going through this when we purchased Rainmaker from Troy Waugh — all at the same time. We moved her to Ann Arbor for specialized treatment. She fought the cancer for three years. She is still here and cancer-free and has two miracle babies.

In the midst of these tremendous losses, I have not lost hope and have not opted out. I have showed up and am committed to raising a family and balancing a career I can be proud of. Sometimes survival and optimism are the biggest accomplishments.

On a lighter note, I received an Alumni Exemplar Award from MTSU and an international business award (Beta Gamma Sigma 2019 Business Achievement Award)) from earlier this year that caught me by surprise and I am proud of.
— Angie Grissom, President, The Rainmaker Companies

My predecessor, the late Dr. Tom Ratcliffe, had the vision for a “national office” for thousands of underserved firms that lack one and started Plain English Accounting (which was purchased by the AICPA in 2013 and rebranded CPEA). With his untimely passing in 2014, it was uncertain if his vision would be lost with him. I am proud that we have not only been able to carry on his vision to grow it beyond what he would have imagined.
— Thomas Groskopf, Technical Director, AICPA Center for Plain English Accounting

Overcoming “imposter syndrome,” the great under-reported affliction that drives a lot of people like me.
— Aaron Harris, CTO, Sage

When I was 20 years old I was sent to Army basic training at Fort Ord, California. This was at the height of the Vietnam War. For the first time in my life I was surrounded by people with different backgrounds from all over the country. I was put in a leadership position and was recognized as the outstanding leader of our group. That experience gave me the confidence in myself that has guided me my entire career.
— Roger Harris, President and COO, Padgett Business Services

On the personal side, I see supporting and helping my wife with the completion of her bachelor’s degree in nursing, with our first two kids around and the third arriving in the middle.
— William Hill, Product Manager, Tax Professionals Advisory, Thomson Reuters

The accomplishment I am most proud of is leading the formation of the Business Learning Institute, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Maryland Association of CPAs, as a center for the strategy, innovation and the development of success skills for CPAs, finance and accounting professionals. This was the result of crowdsourcing and co-creating the future of the profession three times, as a volunteer on the CPA Vision Project (1998), co-developer of the CPA Horizons 2025 project with the AICPA in 2011, and most recently via the CPA Convene project in 2019. These massive collaborative conversations provide us to “see” the emerging needs of the profession early. Our latest innovation is our Anticipatory Organization: Accounting and Finance Edition with Daniel Burrus and the T-shaped Professional framework with the #FutureReady skills needed to thrive in Industry 4.0.
— Tom Hood, CEO, Maryland Association of CPAs and Business Learning Institute

Having a fulfilling life as a person, wife, daughter, mother, sister, sister-in-law, neighbor, aunt, and friend while having a successful business career in public accounting. My hope is this in some way continues to clear the path for those coming behind me.

In the 1980s: Society wasn’t ready to accept women in public accounting, especially if we were married or pregnant.

In the 1990s: We became more accepted but struggled with demonstrating our commitment by showing we were “willing to do whatever it takes” while still being a loving and caring wife and mother. Flexible work arrangements were the “kiss of death” from a career advancement perspective.

In the early 2000s: We were more accepted and began to increase in numbers and through representation finding more of a voice. We experimented with the definitions of “work-life balance” and “flexible work arrangements.”

In the 2010s: We continued to refine work life balance for both men and women and have become more accepting of alternative arrangements without sacrificing career advancement.

Today, in late 2019, as a female partner in a national and international firm, I can still step into an “annual partners meeting” and feel very much in the minority just as I have for the past 20 years. I see some progress being made, but we still have a very long way to go.
— Laurie Lambert Hopkins. Partner, UHY

I grew up in a low-income area in a city that had seen better times. Only a few pulled themselves up and out of those circumstances. For me, if you’re one of the few to get out, you are obligated to do something with your life. I was always fascinated with business — my mother ran a home-based business, and very early on, I aspired to lead a successful, admired company. From there, it was about gathering as many experiences as possible, so I said “yes” to every opportunity to learn about different industries, business functions and people. I also challenged myself to be accountable for my own success. I did well in school, earned my bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and, years later, my MBA from Tulane University. For more than two decades, I worked my way up the career ladder, albeit with fits and starts (successes and failures), eventually becoming CEO of Sovos.

My leadership at Sovos has been the honor of my life and career. Keeping our customers from around the world front and center and helping safeguard them from the burden and risk of modern tax is paramount to our success. Coupled with building an infrastructure comprised of prodigious employees and state-of-the-art technology, I can think of no greater accomplishment.
— Andy Hovancik, President and CEO, Sovos

Helping raise two wonderful children. Lindsay is a senior in high school and is on her way to University of Kansas to major in education and Josh is a junior at the University of Kansas studying to major in Finance.
— Charles Hylan, Shareholder, The Growth Partnership

I have become an avid Peloton rider and set multiple physical goals for myself before I turn 40 next year. I have already reached some of them, so right now I feel pretty strong.
— Kacee Johnson, Strategic Advisor, CPA.com

Raising four children who are all independent thinkers and who seem to be enjoying life raising families of their own.
— Randy Johnston CEO and founder / EVP, Network Management Group, Inc. / K2 Enterprises

The work I’ve done to impact the disability world continues to motivate me. My mission for over 20 years has been to advance and accelerate the quality of life for those impacted by developmental and intellectual disabilities. My work to bring thought leaders together to innovate living options and job models for disabled, and advocate for families across the U.S. — I like to think I’ve been able to make some lives better. For over a decade, I’ve pioneered the largest conferences in the U.S. on innovative housing models, and vocational opportunities, for the disabled community.
— Mari-Anne Kehler, Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer, Green Hasson Janks

The SuperFrog Ironman 70.3 [early in the fall] was a significant personal challenge, as it was a dual ocean swim through surf/waves and half the run was on the sand with 24 trudges through deep beach sand! Tougher than most of my other triathlons as I had to prepare during my busiest work season and train in worst of the Arizona heat.
— Roman Kepczyk, Director of Firm Technology Strategy, Right Networks

Being national president of the CPA Firm Management Association and serving on, and chairing, committees at the AICPA and Ohio Society.
— Rita Keller, President and CEO, Keller Advisors

I taught myself how to bang out chords on a piano from a lead sheet. In addition to being fun at parties, I learned to appreciate music from a different perspective.
— Ed Kless, Senior Director, Partner Development and Strategy, Sage

Being there for my family. Those that know me know that I travel over 200,000 miles a year, but they also know the “greatness” of O’Hare Airport. Because I’m based in Chicago and able to fly nonstop to essentially any city in the county, I’m able to take advantage of many 6:00 am and 10:00 pm flights and only spend 75 nights in hotel rooms each year. If you’re willing to sacrifice a little bit of sleep and an occasional workout, you can have a great professional career and family life.
— Allan Koltin, CEO, Koltin Consulting Group

I came from a very blue-collar family. I am the first college graduate in my family. I worked up to nine different jobs in one year to try to get through school. I worked full-time, plus while going to school full-time. I wasn’t the best college student, couldn’t get an internship through the school and ended up getting one on my own through one of my part time jobs.

In 2017 my alma mater awarded me the Dr. Joseph R. Coppola ’40 Outstanding Alumnus Award, not based on my academic accomplishments, but on my professional accomplishments. Knowing my struggles through school, it was incredibly gratifying.
— Mark Koziel, EVP of Firm Services, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

When I started Kuesel Consulting in April of 2013, and when it celebrated a sixth anniversary earlier this year. When I was starting in the profession as an in-house marketing and business development leader, I never thought someday I would be where I am today as a growth advisor to firms large and small across the country.

However, this year I am particularly proud of my launch of the jvBD Academy, (www.jvbdacademy.com) which is a virtual, video-based business development training program. By the end of 2019, more than 100 accountants (staff through manager) from nearly 15 firms will be active in the program.
— Art Kuesel, President, Kuesel Consulting

I’m proud of being the CEO of a startup for the last 20 years. However, raising happy children is the most important work I can do. I am very proud of the young men that my children have become.
— René Lacerte, CEO and Founder, Bill.com

It’s a tie between being elected president of the Association for Accounting Marketing in 2019 and being named to the Houston Business Journal’s 2017 Class of 40 Under 40.

It was a goal of mine from when I first joined AAM in 2006 to “rise through the ranks” and serve on the board. As a “third generation” board member from PKF Texas (Karen Love and Raissa Evans served prior terms with the full support of firm leadership), the foundation was laid, so I could build upon the success they had in our industry. Karen has been my mentor and sponsor since Day One, encouraging me and giving me the tools to thrive as a marketer and serve others in this profession. Serving on the board of AAM as president represents my dedication and success in the industry which has given me so much. The trust the AAM membership puts in me and the board to lead the organization is humbling and something I keep in mind with every decision I make on behalf of AAM.

Being honored as a 40 Under 40 represents all of my career accomplishments up to that point. My fellow class honorees included doctors working to cure cancer, NASA scientists and successful entrepreneurs. To be included among them and represent the accounting and accounting marketing industry was exciting and a huge honor.
— Jen Lemanski, Senior Manager of Practice Growth, PKF Texas

I created Visionary 25 years ago with a laptop in my kitchen. This was in an era where there was almost no one providing CPA firm growth services and when my wife just graduated medical school. I had to balance work and raising our kids. I have never taken a loan out or had a line of credit. Today, we own our building (no mortgage), employ quite a few people, and work for some of the largest firms in the country helping them with complex issues. We adapted and evolved with the CPA profession. I am kind of proud of not just the knowledge we have gained, but also our sincere interest in helping any firm, even ones who do not engage us. I will spend an hour with a firm who cannot afford to hire us to try to give them ideas they can do on their own.
— Bob Lewis, President, The Visionary Group

In February 2009, I dove into my work at Citigroup, when I had never had a banking client and was not familiar with the industry. I led the internal and external legal teams in Citi’s $20 billion TARP repayment, involving the then-largest public equity offering in U.S. capital markets history, as well as Citi’s $58 billion exchange offers designed to boost Citi’s capital levels post-financial crisis. It was quite a busy year.
— Julie Bell Lindsay, Executive Director, Center for Audit Quality

Wow, this is a more difficult question than I would have thought. While there are many professional and personal accomplishments I could point to, I have to say my most significant accomplishment is my three children. This is especially so now that my two daughters, 22 and 24, have launched on their own with careers, getting married and living three hours away, with one to the north of me and one to the south (much to my chagrin), and my son, 12, has successfully transitioned to middle school in his second year. I love learning through them and because of them — I see a whole world through their eyes, interests and learning.
— Tamera Loerzel, Partner, ConvergenceCoaching, LLC

Launching Reconciled was a major accomplishment for me. Second was completing the MBA program at Babson College.
— Michael Ly, CEO, Reconciled

Building the channel team at Sage Intacct from two to 50 colleagues.
— Taylor Macdonald, Senior VP, Channel, Sage Intacct

I created the AICPA’s financial literacy effort that has won multiple awards over the years, as well as the Young CPA program. Under my direction, we led a communications program to create the international association joining the AICPA and CIMA, winning by a two-thirds vote of the memberships of both organizations. In addition, under my leadership, we launched and have built the AICPA’s social media presence.
— Janice Maiman, EVP – PR, Communications and Content, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

From Day One of my career in tax, I heard about how the antiquated “Physical Presence” standard re-articulated in the Quill. v. North Dakota Supreme Court decision from 1992 unnecessarily places brick-and-mortar business and internet commerce on unequal footing. Over the last 16 years, I was excited to be part of the team creating technology that companies rely on to ensure their compliance in a world where “Physical Presence” is replaced with “Economic Presence,” and I found it personally rewarding to be in a position to share my insights with our clients and the public through publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Political, Governing Magazine and Law 360.
— Chuck Maniace, Vice President of Regulatory Analysis & Design, Sovos

Becoming a public and recognized industry speaker is something that was not initially a goal of mine but is now a passion as I focus on helping others bring real change to the profession, their business, the teams they lead and the clients they serve. Hopefully that accomplishment will also bring added value to the profession and the business they serve both locally and globally.
— R. Sean Manning, CEO, Founder, Payroll Vault

Building a valuation and forensic services practice from the ground up at Keiter with the reputation of being the best specialty practice in our market, and personally training all of my team members who joined the practice as new professionals following the completion of their undergraduate or graduate programs.
— Harold Martin, Partner-in-Charge, Valuation and Forensic Services, Keiter

I had the opportunity to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity and be part of a team that renovated and restored a home in my original hometown of Detroit. For a week, I worked alongside a team of both volunteers and skilled tradesman doing rough carpentry, drywall and siding. The professional, skilled tradesman offered help and guided our efforts at every turn so the finished product was great. Handing the keys over and seeing the joy in the family as they took possession of their newly built home was incredibly impactful.
This experience was incredibly rewarding for many reasons, and a reminder that leadership is always about service to others.
— Jason Marx, CEO, Tax & Accounting North America, Wolters Kluwer

I have a three-year-old that climbs everything, has no fear, and is still alive!

I built a firm utilizing technology before most firms understood what “the cloud” meant. This year we have gone from eight to 20 people and are not done hiring. We will be a firm of 25-30 by December 31. We are looking at a year of 300 percent growth.

I have been to 50 countries and I continue to explore new ones every year.
— Liz Mason, Founder and CEO, High Rock Accounting

For nearly 35 years, the exceptional service I provide is a reflection of my passion for public accounting. I continue to be proud of the work that I do and concentrate my practice on working closely with my clients. This includes my passion for the direct work done with closely held businesses, I make house calls for clients who need my service, but are unable to travel. I’ve built my practice on going the extra mile and as a result have become a trusted strategic partner who is available to provide quality, personalized services to my clients. I strongly believe that this compassionate level of personal service is what sets the small to midsized firms apart.
— William Mayer, Partner, RitzHolman CPAs

Despite being a high school drop-out, I learned taxes with H&R Block, became a district manager at age 23 and a regional director at age 26. I entered college for the first time at age 31 (still a high school dropout) and earned my AA and BS in less than three years, graduating Summa cum Laude, No. 1 in my class of 141 adult students, than co-authored the nationally distributed book: “Back to School: The College Guide for Adults.”
— Chuck McCabe, CEO, The Income Tax School & Peoples Income Tax

Taking the company I started with friends and family public. It’s pretty rare for founders to make it all the way to IPO, and we did it on our own terms. Having 150 people celebrating together on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, with so many still with us from the very beginning — investors and friends, longtime employees, family … it was the coolest thing ever.
— Scott McFarlane, Co-founder & CEO, Avalara

For the past four years, I’ve had the distinct honor of leading groups of 10-year-old Cub Scouts as their den leader. We teach them to hook a fish, start a fire with flint and steel, pitch a tent, and figure out how to get home by looking at the stars. Also, and perhaps more importantly, we teach them resilience, teamwork and problem-solving skills.
— Jim McGinnis, EVP and General Manager, Professional Segment, Tax & Accounting North America, Wolters Kluwer

I had my own business a few years back and was part of a franchise. It was a huge learning curve to run everything from the ground up, accounting, marketing, HR. I loved taking on this adventure and became the West Coast representative for the franchise and was awarded Top Guerilla Marketer in the entire franchise due to my creative marketing efforts and my training other franchises on how to grow. I loved helping others succeed and to me this award represented the impact that I had with other business owners and their dreams.
— Misty Megia, Global Head of ProAdvisor Program and Education, Intuit

I’ve signed the Act On Pledge from CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, which is a personal commitment to promote diversity and inclusion within the workplace. I’ve also challenged the rest of my senior leadership team to do the same, and this has already led to frank and fruitful discussions within our organizations. We have a long way to go, but I’ve encouraged everyone within the AICPA and our global association to sign the pledge and take positive steps to achieve these goals, because they’re the right thing to do and because they are critical for the long-term health and success of the profession.
— Barry Melancon, President and CEO, American Institute of CPAs; CEO, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.

Marrying the right wife and being the father of two great sons who are real mensches.
Becoming a professor in the Fairleigh Dickinson University MBA program,
— Ed Mendlowitz, Partner, WithumSmith+Brown

Creating a team of individuals who have been with me for well over 10 years with ROI Business Services LLC and clients who have been with us as long (we have over 95 percent of all clients we had 10 years ago) is probably my proudest achievement. Has been great for all of us to help so many clients over the years accomplish their goals. At the same time, personally being able to provide for so many families within our team definitely makes me happy every day.
— Mark Mirsky. Managing Director, ROI Business Services

Most recently, with Rainmaker, I have led the development and launch of the Rainmaker Growth Teams Program, designed to help accounting firm industry practices develop and execute strategic growth plans for their industry niche practices. We have seen this transform the growth culture in many firms and significantly improve their clarity and ability to compete in their chosen markets.

When president of AAM, I led the initial efforts to partner with the AICPA which has led to, among other things, the combination of conferences (AAM Summit and AICPA Engage) on a biannual basis for the past several years.

As the CMO of DHG, I led many strategic growth initiatives that helped the firm grow from approximately $30 million to over $300 million over 14 years through a combination of organic and merger growth.

This year I was recognized by my peers in the profession (fellow AAM members) by being inducted into the AAM Hall of Fame.
— D. Scott Moore, Shareholder and EVP, The Rainmaker Companies

Being accepted into my doctoral program is an accomplishment I am particularly proud of. I am pursuing a doctorate in learning and leadership in organizations, which is a huge differentiator from other consultants to the industry. I am learning with some of the brightest minds in the world on how to influence learning in organizations, how to build effective programing for today’s learners, how to create buy-in and how to build teams. I think it shows our clients that I am always looking for ways to help and I also think it shows my children and young professionals that you can pursue your dreams while influencing others around you. I am doing it very slowly, though, so I’m not ready to celebrate it completely. Ask me in five years when it’s done!
Another personal accomplishment is running two Boston Marathons in the last five years. Training for a marathon is no joke — especially when you travel as much as we all do! And with three children at home!
— Adelaide Ness, EVP, The Rainmaker Companies

The establishment of asset management niches in CPA firms across the country. In the late 1990s, sponsored by Accounting Today, I ran around the U.S. discussing the ability of CPAs to assist clients with managing their financial assets and being compensated for it. We had a large map of the U.S. on the cover of AT and as we influenced state boards of accounting to allow CPAs in their states to be compensated for offering asset management advice, we would turn the state from red to green. We had great success and while some felt asset management would be a fad it has now become a way of life and the most profitable niche in most CPA firms. I personally started the Professionals Alliance Group which now has over 100 members and has managed over $3 billion in client assets. This was a major contribution to the profession and my most profound accomplishment.
— Jay Nisberg, President, Jay Nisberg & Associates

In my early career, I was pretty much like my dad: intense and Type A. But when I took nine years off to stay home with my kids, I threw myself into the role of creating a nurturing environment for my family, including heavy involvement in school and community.

Over the last decade, I’ve tried to bring the best of both worlds to my leadership style and to BPM. We can be a super-high-quality firm offering exceptional resources, solutions and service to our clients while also being a nurturing firm that takes care of our people and communities, helping them succeed both professionally and personally. I think BPM embraces this philosophy and in my 10 years here, I feel I have contributed to creating and executing on that mindset. I think my involvement has helped people succeed in life and work and that means a lot to me.
— Carol Spindler O’Hara, Consumer Products Industry Leader; Partner in Charge, North Bay, BPM LLP

After abandoning music, I enrolled at UCLA Extension for the Accounting Certificate in order to get the credits I needed to sit for the CPA Exam. In 2012, while taking classes at night, I started my accounting services firm, Cloudsourced Accounting. Within three years we’d grown to 12 people serving 200 clients, and I was able to sell that firm in 2015 for a tidy profit. I think that’s pretty good for someone who didn’t have his CPA license yet.
— Blake Oliver, Co-Host, Cloud Accounting Podcast

I am personally very proud of recently being named one of the 30 Most Inspiring Business Leaders 2019. I am also proud of founding a company in my college dorm room, ThinkLite, which grew to employee 60 people and generate $8.5 million in revenue by the time I graduated, and being named the top 25 Entrepreneurs Under 25 by Bloomberg.
— Enrico Palmerino, CEO, Botkeeper

Being named the 2017 Portland Business Journal CFO of the Year in the Medium Private Category was quite an honor. Professionally, leading over 10 companies as CFO under a consolidated group and helping them more than double in size in four years was incredible. During that time, it was special as I helped the University of Oregon Lundquist College of Business start the Dr. Helen Gernon Endowment Fund, in honor of the long-standing chair of the Department and Professor to thousands of accountants and a pioneer for women in accounting, that raised close to $3 million for the Accounting Department and become a School of Accounting.

Those experiences became the basis for my passion, for helping many businesses and the School of Accounting, which have been a continual professional mission that led to being a 2018 Financial Executives International United States Financial Executive of the Year Finalist and 2019 AICPA Innovative Practitioner of the Year Finalist.
— Erik Parrish, Fractional CFO Services Practice Leader, Kernutt Stokes LLP

Founder of Bookkeeper360: Since 2012, we have helped thousands of entrepreneurs and business owners navigate the complexity of running a business while empowering them to focus on their passion and goals.
— Nicholas Pasquarosa, Founder and CEO, Bookkeeper360

I am very proud to be on the board of Step Up on Second for over nine years. As a board chair, I have made sure we are really focused on smart growth, going national while staying true to our mission. We are looking to fuel our growth with strong infrastructure, having the right talent and building sufficient final resources.
— Anant Patel, Partner and Head of Advisory Services, Green Hasson Janks

I believe my best is yet to come, but coming from a family that faced financial challenges during my college days, and yet being the first-ever in the extended family to obtain a MS degree with honors is an accomplishment that I am particularly proud of. The bachelor’s /graduate degree that resulted in my being one of the top 10 students at the graduate level in the No. 1 University in India led to my MS degree is the life-defining personal accomplishment for me.

I had to create my path (with very little guidance; there was no internet then, no access to additional private trainer, etc.) but I had unlimited moral support and even sacrifice from the family in my quest to reach the educational goal. It not only paved the way for a different, better career path than that traditionally followed by my family but also inspired the entire generation after me in my extended family to complete higher education to be on their paths of sound career successes. It created a subconscious spirit in me to be greatly alert, resourceful, hard-working and capable in the face of challenges by being able to create or find ways to accomplish seemingly impossible outcomes.
— Hitendra Patil, Director of Practice Development, AccountantsWorld

Organizing the Streamlined Sales Tax. I held leadership roles throughout the many years it took to develop and implement the concepts currently expressed in the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement. I then became its first employee and for seven years was responsible for creating all the employment and organizational requirements.
— Scott Peterson, Vice President of U.S. Tax Policy and Government Relations, Avalara Inc.

I’m proud that I’ve made nearly every one of my three children’s events despite being an entrepreneur for the past seven years!
— Jeff Phillips, CEO, Accountingfly

I am proud of passing the CPA Exam and making decisions to prioritize my family.
— Elizabeth Pittelkow Kittner, Head of Finance, International Legal Technology Association

I came out as gay when I was 32. I had always wanted to be a mom and it was really starting to feel like something that was just not destined to be. I met my life partner when I was in my 40s and together, we decided to go for it! When I was 46 years old, we brought home 15-month-old Mia from Guatemala. Now 19, Mia is the absolute love of my life and represents the best decision I ever made!
— Amy Pitter, President and CEO, Massachusetts Society of CPAs

Completely unrelated to my professional life — having never learned to swim properly as a child, I took swimming lessons at the local YMCA many years ago at age 33 so that I could compete with friends in triathlons. As a result, I will be a swimmer for the rest of my life — a great way to stay fit as I get older! Who knows? Maybe an Ironman is in my future.
— Terri Polley, Immediate Past President and CEO, Financial Accounting Foundation

First and foremost, becoming a parent to my twin daughters and my son. Family is important to me, and I am thankful for my husband and my children. Second would be becoming CEO of the California Society of CPAs. Although also a professional accomplishment, I had always had a goal to lead a professional association, and when this opportunity presented itself to me, I was excited to take on this new role.
— Anthony Pugliese, CEO, California Society of CPAs

Along with my partner, Joel Sinkin, we have created over the past 15 years the leading consulting firm focused exclusively on M&A and owner transition for the CPA profession.
— Terry Putney, CEO, Transition Advisors

I’ve been at Xero for nearly seven years and first joined the company in New Zealand. As New Zealand sales director, I helped inspire and educate the accounting industry to move to the cloud and had responsibility for the New Zealand market’s growth, which delivered around 60-plus-percent of the company’s growth at that time. I’m also really proud of the work I did with our team to develop the global agriculture vertical strategy. We launched the Farming in the Cloud solution, which helped the industry come together around how technology can change productivity in farming. Xero has proven it can build a global company from a small set of rocks in the South Pacific and I’m really excited that I now get to be part of that journey here in the U.S.
— Ben Richmond, U.S. country manager, Xero

Growing Rootworks into a major player in the profession by developing a team of A-players.
— Darren Root, CEO, Rootworks

Helping numerous companies grow at a controlled pace, allowing owners to not feel like they are in a frenzy or in control. They control their outcomes and are responsible for all decisions, good or bad. I teach them to celebrate the successful things they do and the not-so-successful things they do.
— Richard Roppa-Roberts, The ProAdvisor Advisor, Quasar Cowboy

I am very proud of the company we have built. I’m incredibly proud of our fabulous team and beam with pride knowing we have helped thousands of people with their goals and dreams.
— Louie Rosalez, President, HK Financial Services

The accomplishment that has made the biggest impact, and will continue to do so after I am gone, is the creation of our Rosenberg Practice Management Book Series. I have broken down the management of a CPA firm into roughly 20 areas and have written simple, easy-to-read, practical books for the management of each area. Our customers include a Who’s Who of the most prestigious managing partners in the country. Partners from coast to coast tell me how useful our books have been to their efforts in managing their firms. Nothing I have done in my career is more satisfying than hearing those words.
— Marc Rosenberg, President, The Rosenberg Associates

When I was five years old, my career ambition was to play second base for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Undeterred by all the reasons I should not be able to accomplish that — my gender, where I grew up, my complete and utter lack of physical prowess — at 19, I played second base at Dodger Stadium. My dream realized was a little different than I originally imagined, but the life lessons — of passion, perseverance and the value of dreaming big — drive me as an individual and a leader.
— Clar Rosso, EVP, Engagement and Learning Innovation, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

I’m passionate about diversity and inclusion and, in particular, elevating the careers of under-represented groups. I’m a strong advocate for our diversity initiatives in Thomson Reuters and have personally sponsored numerous women, taking an active role in advancing their careers. We all have unconscious biases which affect the way we think about and value the contributions of all our diverse colleagues, and I fiercely believe that its only by surfacing these biases and highlighting them and discussing them that we can make progress. I’m particularly proud of a program I launched promoting women’s leadership in the law, while I worked in our Thomson Reuters Legal business unit, and I’m working to leverage something similar in our Tax & Accounting Professionals business unit.
— Charlotte Rushton, President, Tax & Accounting Professionals, Thomson Reuters

I purchased and renovated the Hotel Settles in my hometown of Big Spring, Texas. The Hotel Settles closed in 1980 and stood for a long time as a symbol of Big Spring’s decline. I am proud to have revived the fifteen-story Art Deco hotel to its original beauty and stature. Having been built in 1930 as a totem to Big Spring’s first oil bonanza, the Settles was hailed as the tallest building between Fort Worth and El Paso, and certainly the most luxurious. Restoring this major downtown landmark and experiencing the revitalization of civic pride in Big Spring is a personal accomplishment that brings me great joy.
— G. Brint Ryan, Chairman and CEO, Ryan, LLC

Two years ago, I co-founded the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion. This initiative was founded with the goal of rallying the business community together to take action in advancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace, because people deserve to feel safe and accepted at work, and they are most capable of reaching their full potential when they do. Today I’m proud to say that we have over 700 CEOs and presidents of America’s leading businesses, academic institutions and nonprofits representing more than 14 million employees, who have signed on to take the pledge to:

  • Continue to make our workplaces trusting places to have complex conversations about diversity and inclusion;
  • Implement and expand their unconscious bias education;
  • Share best practices; and,
  • Create and share strategic diversity and inclusion plans with their boards of directors.

— Tim Ryan, U.S. Chair and Senior Partner, PwC US

There is nothing I’m prouder of than being married to my wonderful wife for 27 years with three happy and productive children. But in terms of professional accomplishments, I have to say that being known as “the M&A lawyer for accounting firms” has been quite humbling and gives me great pleasure. I care deeply about the future of the accounting profession and am proud to play a role in helping shape the industry.
— Russell Shapiro, Partner, Executive Committee Member, Transactional Department Chair, Levenfeld Pearlstein

I have achieved professional goals that I could never have imagined. From a personal standpoint, my proudest accomplishment is, in partnership with my wife, raising two children who have become grounded, intelligent, thoughtful and caring adults. On the fun side, skiing a double black diamond run through the trees is something that I never thought possible and, now, I do it all the time.
— Todd Shapiro, President and CEO, Illinois CPA Society

In 2014, I published my first book, “Look, Lead, Love, Learn: Four Steps to Better Business, a Better Life – and Conquering Complexity in the Process.”

And in 2017, I became a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. After retirement, I hope to work as a trainer to improve the quality of life for aging clients.
— Bill Sheridan, Chief Communications Officer, MACPA and Business Learning Institute

My conference session on how emerging technologies are enhancing the accounting profession has been my most popular session, but even more importantly, I have a lot of accountants come to talk with me afterward or submit comments on the session evaluation forms that say how much they enjoyed the session and that I made these technologies understandable to them so they are less afraid. I’m happy to have provided more people in our profession more inspiration for how they can serve their clients (whether internal or external) better with these emerging technologies.
— Donny Shimamoto, Managing director, IntrapriseTechKnowlogies

For 29 years I have been helping CPA practitioners achieve their goals. The two main goals I am referring to are helping older owners get compensation for their years of sweat equity while simultaneously helping the successor firm achieve their growth goals. It is particularly satisfying creating these proverbial win-win deals.
— Joel Sinkin, President, Transition Advisors

I wrote “Xero for Dummies,” which has been listed in the top 100 bestselling business books for over five years. Overall I’ve written nine cloud accounting books.
— Heather Smith, Anise Consulting

I would say that publishing my first book was an accomplishment that I was especially proud of. Being able to have an idea, build it out, and construct a narrative to explain it clearly is something that was very difficult, and something that I was very proud of being able to do.
— Sean Stein Smith, Assistant Professor, City University of New York, Lehman College

I moved to San Diego from Germany right after high school for a year of English studies. I had never been there before and knew no one. I was determined to learn English and ended up loving it so much, I stayed to attend college. My entire immediate family still live in Germany and I am raising my three young girls with my husband here in Southern California.
— Anneke Stender, Co-Founder of TAG Bill Pay

I have counseled, advised, and coached countless partners and managing partners over the years. I provided them numerous opportunities to advance their careers, increase compensation, and grow their firms and take them to the next levels of success.
— Joseph Tarasco, CEO and Senior Consultant, Accountants Advisory Group

CPA Trendlines marks its tenth anniversary as a leading independent source of exclusive information and practical inspiration in its mission to make the firm of the future a reality today.
— Rick Telberg, Founder and CEO, CPA Trendlines

I am proud of my commitment to help bolster the NJCPA Scholarship Fund to where it is today — awarding more than $4 million to 1,600 New Jersey students since its inception 60 years ago. Thanks to the generous support of our members and accounting firms, the fund has made an accounting career a reality for many students, including minorities and women, who may not have considered this kind of a career due to their finances. As a partner in furthering this profession, I continue to educate and inform accounting professionals about the need to lend a helping hand to the next generation of accounting leaders.
— Ralph Thomas, CEO and Executive Director, New Jersey Society of CPAs

Recently my firm was selected by Human Services Council as an honoree at their Changemakers of New York event. This is in recognition of the work our team at Marks Paneth is doing serving the nonprofit sector in New York.
— Sibi Thomas, Partner, MarksPaneth

Helping to turnaround this 100-year association to become one of the fastest growing, most influential, and most respected organizations in the world. I was part of a great team of staff, volunteers, and partners who engineered this turnaround.
— Jeff Thomson, President and CEO, Institute of Management Accountants

I have mentored several students over the years, who are now doing extremely well in their careers and have also become fantastic human beings.
— Kunal Verma, Co-Founder and CTO, AppZen

Transitioning from my corporate accounting technology roles into launching my speaking and consulting business in 2018. My passion is to help inspire and move this profession forward in ways they haven’t thought of before and make it accessible. I believe I have done that through the messages I bring as a keynote speaker to conferences around the country and the articles I contribute monthly to the profession. I also started a podcast to share the stories of inspiring leaders in the profession to help people break through their work and life hurdles and created online learning and coaching to guide them on the steps and their journey to get there. I also authored two books that bring together technology, our expertise as accountants, and how to incorporate mindfulness into the workplace so we can create our ‘bliss” in our careers and personal lives.
— Amy Vetter, CEO, The B3 Method Institute

Writing a monthly column for the CPA Practice Advisor magazine. I’ve been a huge fan of the magazine and looked up to everyone who writes for it as long as I’ve been in the profession and I am honored each month when I get to write my own article for publication and be printed in the magazine along with some of the pillars of the industry.
— Garrett Wagner, CEO/Founder, C3 Evolution Group, C3 Advisory, C3 Financial

Cycling has always been a passion of mine. When I first got into it, I placed third in my first race. There were only four of us entered, and one rider suffered a flat tire — so third was last. I didn’t have a huge amount of natural talent and people told me I might be better off trying something else. But I kept at it, and many miles later, made it to the world championships and placed among the top 15. This is something I’m proud of and it’s made me a strong believer in hard work, having fun and the magic or working together as a team.
— Tony Ward, President, Xero Americas, Xero

I would have to say that taking Marcum from its roots as a regional firm with fewer than two dozen people to a nationally ranked firm with 35 offices in the U.S. and overseas has been a truly gratifying achievement, one that I envisioned but had no way to predict with certainty when I became managing partner in 1990. Even more fulfilling is knowing that Marcum has become the kind of firm where top professionals want to spend their careers and help steward the future. I am constantly reminded of the extraordinary talent and dedication of our team, and of course, our extremely loyal and accomplished client base, without which we would have no reason to get up in the morning.
— Jeffrey Weiner, Chairman and CEO, Marcum

I am proud of myself for walking away from a CPA firm as partner — after 15 years of feeling like a misfit, I finally found the courage to not only listen to my own heart, but to walk away from the path that I had been on my whole life to that point. I left with no real idea about what came next, but knowing that I was meant to do more. Since then (1995), it has been an adventure of the best kind filled with opportunities beyond my wildest dreams and encounters with so many amazing, talented and inspiring people. It drives me to help others who are facing the same struggles.
— Geni Whitehouse, Countess of Communication, Brotemarkle, Davis & Co. LLP, Even a Nerd Can be Heard, Solve Services

Taking the risk of leaving my job at Cornerstone to start FloQast is my largest accomplishment. In order to force my pursuit into action, I had to quit my job with no back-up plan. A self-created challenge to ensure that I would give everything I could to make it successful and it paid off.
— Mike Whitmire, Co-Founder and CEO, FloQast

This year has been tremendous. I am proud of my company, my clients and the profession as a whole. When I think of personal accomplishments, it would have to be the following:
1. Being selected as a keynote speaker at the 2018 CCH User Conference to share “The Future of Transformation in the Profession;”
2. Being named as one of the Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Accounting; and,
3. Developing our new Certified Consultants Program.
— Sandra Wiley, President, Boomer Consulting

YES! I ran my third full marathon on April 27, 2019, and finally broke five hours, running it in 4:40, blowing my best time of 5:04 away. I trained all winter in Nebraska and while traveling, running in snow, on ice and in polar vortex temps — only running on the treadmill twice leading up to the race. Because I trained in ungodly conditions, I was ready!
— Jennifer Wilson, Co-Founder and Partner, ConvergenceCoaching

I am an accomplished pianist.
— Joe Woodard, CEO, Woodard Events

As Chair of the PCC, I am proud of the influence we are able to have on the FASB and how we are working together to increase the visibility and solicit input from private company stakeholders.
— Candy Wright, Chair, Private Company Council

One of the things I am most proud of is my involvement with the University of Kansas. As an undergraduate, I was not at all involved, nor did I have the best results from my college years. However, I’ve always been passionate about education and grateful for what I did learn in my accounting and business administration major. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the knowledge from those classes. I’ve been giving back to the university through my time guest lecturing and mentoring students since the early 1990s. I was asked to join the School of Business Dean’s Advisory Board in 2005. I gradually gained confidence and increased my involvement to the point where I was appointed chair in 2016.

Over my two-year term, board member engagement was at its highest ever and the tone of the board was changed. I received my comments about my term and compliments that I will be remembered as a significant board chair. In addition, I was nominated to serve on the Kansas University Endowment Association as a Trustee. Both of these roles were never expected based on my undergraduate experience. I am so honored to be included on both of these very prestigious organizations and to have helped lead the School of Business.
— Diane Yetter, President and Founder, Yetter Consulting Services and Sales Tax Institute

I’ve always been an avid mountain biker and enjoyed long-distance races and extensive bike-camping trips. In 1999 I rode my mountain bike from Canada to Mexico on the Continental Divide trail on a self-supported group ride. That trip was life-changing for me, for all the reasons [... including] the importance of physical and mental challenge. I started to see things through different eyes, made a decision to move, and began to consider how my career in accounting could or should look differently and more in line with my true passions. This led me on the road to where I am today, as a founder of this company.
— Scott Zarret, President, CPAacademy.org

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