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The career-changing power of networking and connection for women professionals

Written on Nov 30, 2023

By Jessica Salerno-Shumaker, OSCPA senior content manager  

Connecting with others can be one of the best ways to reach your career goals, said one Power of Change honoree.  

“One of the lessons that I try to convey to women today is to be promoted and recognized, you can't just be at your desk with your head down,” said Tanya Crawford, CPA, managing director at Deloitte. “It’s about the ability to tell your story to others and to make them aware of what you do. The power of networking and the power of self-promotion is very important.”  

While everyone has different comfort levels with self-promotion and networking, Crawford urged women to step outside their comfort zone to help advance their careers. Sharing your passions with others, building meaningful relationships and looking for growth opportunities are all critical.   

Crawford was named a Power of Change honoree at the OSCPA Women, Wealth and Wellness Conference in July 2023. 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 and break barriers for other women.   

Throughout her 31-year career at Deloitte, Crawford said a focus of hers has been to uplift other women and give back to others.   

Being promoted to managing director was a standout moment in her career, she said, because it gave her the opportunity to be a mentor and help guide other others in the firm. Shortly after that, she was asked to be a regional leader of Deloitte’s women’s initiative program.  

“I had the ability to lead a lot of programming for our women internally, both at the manager and senior manager level. At the time, we saw higher numbers of women at those levels opting out of public accounting,” she said. “And we were able to bring women together to connect on the issues they were facing and help build confidence in areas like business development and communicating their value proposition.”  

Crawford said she has appreciated the chance to “direct my own career,” such as when in her early years at Deloitte she expressed an interest in working internationally and then was provided the opportunity to go on assignments in both the Toronto and Duesseldorf offices.  She also has a passion for diversity, equity and inclusion, raising her hand many years ago to lead the Deloitte Columbus office’s Inclusion Council and all DEI-related programming internally and in the Central Ohio community. 

She also recommended finding a peer group or mentors who can support, encourage, and provide honest feedback throughout one’s career.  

“I had a group of women at Deloitte who had more experience than I did in the firm, and I was able to ask questions and seek advice that was very important to my career,” Crawford said.   

Remaining passionate about your career will make a significant difference in the long run, she said, as it will help sustain you during tough times and make it easier to connect with others.  

“The only way that you're going to give your best is if you have passion in an area,” she said. “And whether that's with the kind of clients that you serve, the industry you practice in, or the leadership roles you raise your hand for, it's about finding that thing that you love. That's how you're going to excel.” 

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