Defining success for women is the first step to achieving it

Written on Jun 28, 2019

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager

Tonya_MoniquaSuccess does not have to be elusive achievement in life, but for women facing unequal pay, childcare issues and stereotypes it can sometimes feel that way. Seeing your dreams realized is possible, but first consider how to overcome those obstacles standing in the way.

“Success is defined by you and you alone,” said Rebecca Hixen, CAE, director of student engagement, on Thursday in the opening video of OSCPA’s inaugural Women, Wealth & Wellness Conference.

The conference attracted more than 250 professionals from around the state to Columbus to discuss defining success, leadership, work-life integration, pay equity and more. The conference was held by the OSCPA Women’s Initiative Committee, a group that launched in 2012 after a suggestion from Marie Brilmyer, CPA, partner at Cohen & Company.

Brilmyer spoke at the beginning of the conference about the state of women in the profession and leadership, noting that about half of the profession is female, but women make up only 22% of firm partners, according to the AICPA.

“Companies are committed now more than ever to gender equality, but progress is slow,” Brilmyer said.

Common themes emerged across multiple sessions, covering topics such as the value of self-promotion, supporting others, stepping outside your comfort zone and mentorship and sponsorship.

“Avoiding self-promotion is mostly due to fear,” said Tonya Tiggett, owner of Tiggett & Co. who spoke on becoming a next-level leader. People can be self-involved, she said, and not communicating your successes to others means they might forget or not even realize your full potential. This means you miss out on crucial promotions or career advancement in the long run.

She also asked the audience to think of situations where they feel stuck and to overcome it consider reframing the scenario. Oftentimes a different or wider perspective can reveal solutions.

“We are capable of more than we know,” Tiggett said.

W3B_190627Desiree Allen, staff auditor from Clark Schaefer Hackett, said she benefited from attending the conference to hear different perspectives and lessons from women in business.

“It's empowering to be here,” Allen said. “Because it's important to self-reflect and to take a step back from your day-to-day life and routine and meet other women.”

Lori Kaiser, CPA, owner and CEO of Kaiser Consulting, spoke on personal branding and harnessing your own unique strengths. Taking the time to volunteer for stretch opportunities and assignments that scare you will help you grow and build confidence.

She also stressed to be intentional with your actions. Consider if how you’re spending your time and the people you spend it with is helping you in the long run.

“The happiest people aren’t just dreaming about what their life could be,” Kaiser said. “The happiest people are making their dreams happen.”

Attend one of the many Women’s Initiative upcoming events around the state and hear more from the speakers by listening to our podcast.

Leave a comment