Sharon Allen began her career in public accounting 30 years ago as an auditor at Deloitte & Touche. She rose through the ranks, serving over the years as a partner, as leader of the firm's Portland, Ore. office, as managing partner of the firm's Pacific Southwest practice, and as a member of the board of directors. In June of 2003, Allen became the first woman elected as chairman of the U.S. board and the highest-ranking woman in the firm's history.

Here, in an e-mail interview with WebCPA editor Melissa Klein Aguilar, Allen discusses what she sees as the greatest challenges facing the profession, her toughest challenge as chairman of the board, and the advice she has for women entering the profession today.

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