[IMGCAP(1)] Someone made the comment about being an inspiring woman in the profession. I turned to look to see who this person was talking about…and it was me! What? When did that happen? I’m not really sure myself. All I know is that over the past few years I’ve been speaking out, trying to educate the profession and help my fellow colleagues in such areas as technology and innovative practices.

I started writing articles, developing a blog, and speaking at conferences. It’s what I love to do, so I’m glad that I’ve inspired others. But I don’t want to talk about myself. Instead, I want to maintain the theme of inspiring women and share with you those that have inspired me.

Just after graduating from an all-women’s college, Saint Mary’s, I went to work at Pricewaterhouse’s technology group. At the time, my father and current business partner, was involved in The Chicago Tax Club (CTC), a professional organization that was established in 1933. Their president then was a woman, Kathryn Blankenship, who was also a graduate of Saint Mary’s. She was strong and resourceful and a great inspiration to me.

At the time, I never really thought about how uncommon it was for a female to head such a large organization. But according to my father, she was only one of a handful of female leaders within CTC over the years. This made me think about the barriers that women still clearly face in the profession and the need to bring some of our inspirational women to the forefront. So here are a few more of mine…

Claireen Herting, a recently retired executive at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), is one of my biggest inspirations. She is not only a CPA, but also an attorney who serves on many corporate boards and is a director on the Illinois Board of Examiners. She has been integral in shaping the profession and a prime example of a thought leader. She was also a CPA long before larger numbers of women began to enter the profession, making her a true pioneer.

Another inspiring woman, Anne Seefor, was a former partner at one of my past employers (Weiss and Company, LLP). In fact, she was the reason I took the position. Of all the like-size firms where I had interviewed, Weiss was the only firm that had a female partner. Although semi-retired at the time, she led with skill and grace. She proved to be a mentor, inspiring me with a fierce desire to succeed.

I also recently learned that women make up half of the firm’s partners at Moody, Famiglietti & Andronico, LLPs (MFA) This is awesome and encouraging! This of course is not the norm, which is I why I wanted to highlight this firm. MFA’s female partners are integral in directing the course of the firm and mentoring many young professional staff. With more than half of new accounting graduates being women and the need for more qualified staff in the near future as many aging partners retire, firms will want to think about investing in women associates as MFA has done.

My main goal with this entry was to honor my fellow female colleagues. So many women in the profession have been an inspiration to me, and I hope that they continue to inspire others. To those I mentioned in this blog, and to all the others that are helping to change the landscape of the accounting profession, I salute you!

Jody L. Padar, CPA, MST, is a Certified Public Accountant experienced with Complex Federal & State Income Tax Compliance for Business & Individuals. Jody is an adjunct professor at Oakton Community College, where she teaches Taxation and QuickBooks Courses. She is part of Intuit Trainer Writer Network and speaks nationally on various Technologies and Taxation. Reach her at jody@matousekconsulting.com.