[IMGCAP(1)]

The Business Learning Institute announced on Tuesday that twenty up-and-coming professionals have graduated from their 2016 Leadership Academy. Held Aug. 24-26 in Towson, Md., the annual event gathers top CPAs and teaches them strategic thinking, leadership skills, and network-building.

Founded in 1999 by the Maryland Association of CPAs (MACPA), the BLI offers further development and sharing of best practices to ensure successful leadership in the modern business world.

“Nearly 10,000 baby boomers retire every day, but based on the talent we saw in our Leadership Academy classroom, the future of the CPA profession is in good hands,” stated Tom Hood, president and CEO of the Business Learning Institute and the Maryland Association of CPAs. “These next-gen leaders are excited to be leading the transition and transformation of our profession for the future. They are ready to be positive and inspirational leaders capable of mobilizing people to accomplish great things.”

Hood and fellow presenter Gretchen Pisano utilized BLI's own “Insights to Action” (i2A) system to teach attendees how to develop their executive presence, as well as utilizing team strength and strategies. The graduating class also predicted seven current and future trends impacting the accounting and finance professionals, including:

  • Remote workforces
  • Artificial intelligence
  • The presidential election
  • Social media
  • Globalization / convergence of international standards
  • Cloud accounting / data security
  • The need for proactive advisors

The group also produced four opportunities for the CPA profession to develop in the future, including expanding value-added services; leveraging technology for efficiency and insight; becoming a talent magnet; and preparing for succession planning. The group plans to create a whitepaper later this year that will specify how the profession can best address these trends.
The 2016 Leadership Academy graduates are as follows:

  • Brianne Baccaro-Norris (Weyrich, Cronin & Sorra)
  • Megan Baker (McLean, Koehler, Sparks and Hammond)
  • Erica Beaumont (Arthur Bell CPAs)
  • Lee Brody (Cohn Reznick)
  • Shawn Burman (MKS&H)
  • Michael Derbin (Arthur Bell CPAs)
  • Kelly DeRose (Gary R. Bozel & Associates)
  • Jason Friedman (Arthur Bell CPAs)
  • Alina Korsak (Melanson Heath)
  • Megan Lindenmeyer (Gary R. Bozel & Associates)
  • Erinn Madden (Berman Goldman & Ribakow)
  • Edith Orenstein (Maryland Association of CPAs)
  • Kevin Pyzik (Mister, Burton & French)
  • Paige Sawicki (Maryland Association of CPAs)
  • Greg Scherer (Weyrich, Cronin & Sorra)
  • Christie Stravino (Arthur Bell CPAs)
  • Shanda Swann (Aronson)
  • Andrew Venters (Novotny, Larash & Venters)
  • Daniel Weimer (Arthur Bell CPAs)
  • Susanne Wolfe (Arthur Bell CPAs)

For more on the Business Learning Institute, head to their site here.