By Jessica Salerno-Shumaker, OSCPA senior content manager
Finding and sustaining relationships with mentors can be invaluable to your career, said one Black professional.
“It's important to have mentors across the spectrum,” said Kayla Campbell, tax analyst at Fifth Third. “Because when it when it comes to mentorship, having people that have been in different spaces, or have experienced different roles, is essential to making sure that all kinds of professionals are seen and heard and listened to outside of their own communities.”
Campbell also worked at The Ohio Society of CPAs as a student director of diversity and inclusion intern, helping with Ohio CPA Foundation programs such as the Accounting Career Leadership Academy and ACAP-Ohio, helping to recruit and develop the next generation of accounting professionals.
She said working for the Ohio CPA Foundation efforts to support future underrepresented professional was “…pretty amazing, because I saw myself in some of the students.”
And while she said she “definitely gravitates” toward Black women as mentors, she also strives to connect with mentors who have different backgrounds from her own.
“Black women have been in my shoes, and had a lot of experiences similar to mine,” she said. “Especially when learning the different nuances of accounting and business. And I also think it's important to also have mentors and sponsors who don't share as many identities with me, because I’m trying to broaden my horizon and understanding of business.”
The mentors that she’s had so far have been helpful in offering constructive feedback and navigating and building business relationships, she said, especially as she navigates potential biases others might have about Black professionals.
“I am hyper aware of the identities that I hold and recognize that when I walk into a space there might be some stereotypes present,” she said. “Mentors have helped me learn how to navigate that while still being myself.”