OSCPA D&I manager appointed to Women’s Fund board

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager

Sierra_AustinThe Ohio Society of CPA’s diversity and inclusion manager, Sierra Austin, has been nominated to The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio board, a nonprofit focused on advancing social change.

“What makes The Women’s Fund such a dynamic organization is their approach moves beyond simply diversity and inclusion strategies to social change,” Austin said. “They are very explicit in articulating the need to disrupt social inequities.”

Austin joined the OSCPA staff in the fall of 2018 from a doctoral program at The Ohio State University where her dissertation focused on identity, educational equity and social justice. She’s taught and published at both Ohio State and Purdue University. Along with her teaching background, she’s also served as the Director of Leadership & Inclusion Programs at YWCA Columbus and worked with traditional and non-traditional undergraduate students, including K-12 students.

Austin said she appreciate The Women’s Fund focus on issues of intersectionality, including race, class, ability and all aspects of identity as it occurs in her activist work, research dissertation and life in general.

She calls herself “an academic at heart,” and is looking forward to digging into all areas the nonprofit has to offer, specifically research, advocacy and programming opportunities. Her term will be three to four years.

“I hope to have some direct involvement in the K-12 space because that’s one of the issues that I’m most passionate about,” she said. “Educational inequities, particular for girls of color, is an area a lot of my research focuses on. I’d be excited if I could have the opportunity to continue to advocate for girls with administrators, teachers and policymakers in that space.”

Her position on the board means she will be able to take back what she’s learning to the profession and The Ohio CPA Foundation programs, with new opportunities to continue to build the pipeline with accountants that reflect the diverse communities they serve.

“Sometimes folks on an individual level don’t know where to start when it comes to D&I,” Austin said. “Having OSCPA’s support in this new appointment will bring not only awareness to OSCPA in this space but add to what the Women’s Fund continues to do in terms of social justice and social change.”

OSCPA has long-devoted efforts to diversity and inclusion and received the Corporate Diversity Award from OSU’s Fisher College of Business in 2016 for its work to diversify the profession with programming.

“The Women’s Fund isn’t trying to change existing social structures but to disrupt them and build a more equitable community and world,” Austin said. “Not just for women and girls, but for everyone, and I think that’s very important.”

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