By Jessica Salerno-Shumaker, OSCPA senior content manager
Maureen Westrick, CPA, wants women in business to feel empowered to take on leadership roles.
"While any leadership position has its challenges, I’ve found that it also provides the most rewarding experiences,” she said.
Westrick is an associate vice president of strategic partnerships within the office of corporate development and strategy at Nationwide, and also the 2023-2024 OSCPA Women’s Initiatives Chair. Women in leadership positions is a passion for Westrick and she said that’s one of the main reasons why she first joined the OSCPA Women’s Initiative Committee in 2018.
“I want women to be equally respected for our place in the business world,” she said. “And so that's some of my drive and my fire behind Women's Initiatives.”
When Westrick started her career in public accounting she enjoyed the challenge of taking on new clients and learning a variety of industries. She quickly developed a reputation among clients as a hard worker and team player and had the chance to work with many of the major businesses in central Ohio.
When she decided to look for a role outside of public, Nationwide was one of the top companies she was considering. The hiring team at Nationwide offered her a position after she met with many leaders for a talent pipeline conversation.
Her various roles at Nationwide over the years have been growth opportunities she’s benefited from immensely, Westrick said, and a testament to what can happen when you step outside your comfort zone.
“A theme throughout my career has been constantly saying yes to the challenges that lie ahead,” she said.
Westrick said the pandemic brought a sense of apathy among workers and hit women especially hard who might be making sacrifices in their careers for the sake of flexibility when managing family responsibilities.
"I believe many people, but especially working mothers and women, choose career paths that are 'safe,' or settle for a position because it offers balance and flexibility for personal lives," she said. "This is certainly something I’ve grappled with throughout my career, and I’ve had many conversations with women who have 'settled' or 'shy' away from positions with greater authority or responsibility concerned about the demands of the job. This can leave us feeling unfulfilled in our careers and, from my own experience, this can often carry over into other areas of our lives outside of work. For all the sacrifices we make, we deserve fulfillment along our career journeys."
She urged women to still consider applying for stretch positions or big opportunities, even if it seems intimidating.
“It takes a ton of courage,” Westrick said. “But it's worth it.”
Hear more from Maureen on how women can move past feeling stuck in their careers.
Interest in volunteering with the Women’s Initiative Committee? Find out more here.
Register for the Women, Wealth & Wellness Conference on July 20!