The California Society of CPAs named the winners of its 2018 Women to Watch Awards last Friday, part of the organization's Women’s Leadership Forum held at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles.

Five women were honored in all, with recognition separated into Emerging Leader, Experienced Leader, and Trailblazer Award categories. CalCPA chose the Emerging and Experienced Leader recipients in partnership with the American Institute of CPAs and its Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee, with the Trailblazer Award chosen by CalCPA.

Receiving the Experienced Leader awards were Shari Freidenrich, Orange County treasurer; Rochelle Nakajima, a director at SingerLewak in Los Angeles; and Lynda Schauer, director of litigation and principal at Zivetz, Schwartz and Saltsman in Los Angeles. Freidenrich was also awarded the CalCPA Trailblazer Award for "being a model for other women who are considering entering politics," per CalCPA.

Outside the office, Freidenrich was past president of the Huntington Beach Rotary Club and the Soroptimist Club. Nakajima serves as the governing board treasurer for nonprofit organization MEND Poverty, as well as numerous positions on the CalCPA Los Angeles Chapter board. Schauer assists litigants and their counsels, as well as participates in settlement conferences outside of court.

Alicia Cerruti, a senior tax manager at Pisenti & Brinker in Petaluma, and Ashley Casey, an audit manager at Brown Armstrong Accountancy in Stockton, each received Emerging Leader awards. Cerruti previously served as president of the Petaluma Sunrise Rotary Club, while Casey currently serves as chair of the CalCPA Financial Literacy Committee, which oversees financial literacy programs in the state.

Both Emerging and Experienced Leader categories were based on community or public service. Emerging Leader winners were further judged on leadership, contributions to accounting, and the creation of educational initiatives. The criteria for judging the Experienced Leader winner involved authorship of articles, contributions to the CPA field, and mentorship of fellow professionals.

From left: Shari Freidenrich, Rochelle Nakajima, Lynda Schauer, Ashley Casey, and Alicia Cerruti.
From left: Shari Freidenrich, Rochelle Nakajima, Lynda Schauer, Ashley Casey, and Alicia Cerruti. CALCPA

For more on CalCPA, head to its site here.

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