The American Institute of CPAs has installed Kimberly N. Ellison-Taylor, global accounting strategy director for Oracle America, as the new chairman of the board of directors, making her the AICPA’s first African American female chairperson.

“Being a CPA changed my life,” said Ellison-Taylor during her acceptance speech at the AICPA’s Fall Meeting of Council in Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday. “For many of you—particularly if you’re a first-generation CPA like me—it probably changed yours, as well.”

Ellison-Taylor, 46, talked about the importance of preparation, anticipation, accountability and “taking bold steps” to provide a brighter future for the accounting profession. She remembered how she was attracted to the profession as an 8-year-old student during a career day in third grade.

“It’s our collective responsibility to open up the world of possibilities for the next generation—to recruit, retain, and advance our future leaders—our managing partners, CFOs, deans, agency leaders, and executives of the AICPA and state societies,” she added. “If you have an opportunity, please share your lessons learned, successes and also failures with our next leaders.”

Eric Hansen, chief operating officer of the accounting and advisory firm BKD, was elected vice chair, positioning him to succeed Ellison-Taylor in the volunteer post of chairman next year.

At Oracle, Ellison-Taylor supports the financial and professional services sectors. She has worked as the software company’s global practice team leader for health and human services, involved with cloud migration, fraud detection and prevention, customer experience and finance transformation initiatives. Before joining Oracle, Ellison-Taylor had leadership positions at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Motorola, KPMG, and the Prince George’s County, Maryland, government.

Ellison-Taylor has served on the AICPA board for four years, most recently as vice chairman. She was a member of the AICPA Business and Industry Executive Committee and has worked with the AICPA Finance and Audit Committees. She is a past chair of the Maryland Association of CPAs, and was recognized by Accounting Today as one of the Top 100 most influential people in the profession. She also serves as chapter president of Sigma Gamma Rho-Anne Arundel County, Md., a community service sorority. She is a lifetime member of the National Association of Black Accountants.

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