Dean Dorton launches Women's Initiative Committee
Dean Dorton Allen Ford, based in Lexington, Kentucky, has launched an internal Women's Initiative Committee. Launched last fall, the firm states that the program has positively impacted its recruiting, developing and retention of women over the last year.
The Women’s Initiative Committee's mission is to "promote a firm culture that provides women with support, mentorship, and training in order to fully develop their potential as leaders," according to the firm. The committee is comprised of seven women across multiple services and office locations, and represents a total of 132 female professionals at Dean Dorton.
The group spent the last year identifying barriers women face in both the accounting industry and at the firm through various means, including a women-only survey. As a result of survey feedback, the committee started holding a monthly breakfast series, inviting female staff members to regularly meet with each other. The breakfast meetings include discussions with recognized female leaders, panels of Dean Dorton leaders and networking opportunities.
“The monthly breakfasts have been a great avenue for the women at Dean Dorton to connect with one another,” stated Natalie Schuler, manager of tax services and chair of the Women’s Initiative Committee. “The two panel discussions with our own women leaders led to very open and honest discussions. I am grateful to work for a firm that supports this kind of open dialogue.”
The committee also launched a pilot mentoring program, designed to support women in reaching their leadership goals by pairing committee members with leaders within the firm. The Women's Initiative Committee also worked with Dean Dorton leaders to enhance the firm's maternity leave policy, as well as establishing a family leave benefit designed for both men and women who need to take off for familial medical reasons.
“I am impressed with the strides the Women's Initiative Committee has made over the last year,” said David Bundy, CEO and president of Dean Dorton, in a statement. “When we first started this program, I wanted to make sure we were doing something that actually makes a difference and not just creating a group to have a name. More than half our firm is comprised of women, and we have always had strong female role models within the firm. For several years we have noticed an increase in turnover among our female team members after a certain point in a woman’s career. We selected a group of women who would work to help us change that narrative. The Committee has not taken the task at hand lightly and achieved a great deal thus far. I’m excited to see the accomplishments in future years both from a career development and talent standpoint for the firm.”