By Jessica Salerno-Shumaker, OSCPA senior content manager
One CPA said her accounting background has allowed her to explore a wide range of roles while also positively impacting others.
“In my role now, I get to impact children and families of Lucas County,” said Ebonie Jackson, CPA, chief financial officer & director of administrative services at Lucas County Children Services. “I use my finance knowledge to help social change, keep families together and reunite them.”
Jackson was named a Power of Change honoree at the Women, Wealth and Wellness Conference in July 2022. The award salutes individuals who are advocates for women’s initiatives in the workplace and business community, serve as mentors or role models, make a significant impact on their communities or break barriers for other women.
Before landing her role in government, Jackson worked in public and corporate and said her wide range of experience has helped her grow her leadership skills. She considers her leadership style “transformative and also adaptive” as she’s had to adjust to her surroundings in various roles throughout the years.
Something she said she’s learning along with way is that it’s crucial to be able to explain the financial details to those who don’t have a finance background, she said.
“You need to make your numbers relatable,” she said. “You have an expertise that other people might not have. And you can use ways to make numbers relatable so people can know the decisions they're making and the impact.”
Helping others succeed is another valuable lesson Jackson said she’s learned, especially when it comes to mentoring and working with women in the profession.
“I came up in different industries that didn't necessarily have women mentors at the top at that time,” she said. “It’s important to show the networking that women can do and showing people, especially African American women, they can be CPAs, they can be on the Ohio Society board, the AICPA board and the CIMA board. This is important because representation matters.”
Being intentional about having career conversations with women in the profession is crucial, Jackson said, because otherwise, someone might not consider themselves for a specific opportunity.
“Be open, you don't have to be a cookie cutter,” she said. “Finance skills are so transferable; you can pretty much do anything.”