By Cecilia Yontz, OSCPA marketing and communications intern
OSCPA is running a series of stories in honor of Black History Month highlighting the impact our members are making for Black professionals in accounting. Keep reading CPA Takeaways this month for more.
Emerging as a Black young professional and a CPA candidate in the workforce can be challenging, but for Kayla Campbell, MAcc, both the highs and lows are motivation.
“There are not a lot of people who look like me when it comes to being an accountant, and to push the needle even further, there are not that many Black women CPAs,” said Campbell, a senior tax analyst at Fifth Third Bank. “It would be groundbreaking to be a part of the trailblazing crew that has opened doors, and my eyes to see that it is very possible. There are not many of us, but the more there are, we can lift as we climb.”
“Lift as we climb,” is a sentiment Campbell acquired through her involvement with the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA). Her involvement with NABA started while she was a student and also part of OSU’s Project THRIVE, along with Ohio CPA Foundation programs including CPA Camp, Accounting Career Days and ACAP Ohio, which she helped lead.
"Those experiences helped me give back to students, learn how to organize programs, and communicate with diverse groups of people across different companies,” she said. “Being supported in so many different spaces has translated to me raising my hand now, even while I'm still nervous.”
Being young, diverse and surrounded by more experienced professionals can lead to feeling like you need to catch up, Campbell said, which can be isolating if you don’t have people on your team who have similar experiences.
“I have some mentors that I'm still connected with that, even though I'm not working at the same company, are still invested in me and my journey,” said Campbell. “And I think that's very powerful because you must have those who are invested in you.”
Campbell believes in the importance of being able to show up as your authentic self, but realizes it can be a challenge. She notes that her earrings, nose ring, and even her hair will occasionally draw comments. She knows these pieces of herself wouldn’t have been allowed in the past and is grateful for the progress, but there is still a long way to go.
“The positive aspect is that as I learn and grow, many of my coworkers are too,” she said. “I think as we continue to learn and accept one another and be competent and cognizant when it comes to implicit biases, those who come after us won't have to experience some of the micro and macro pieces that a lot of us currently do.”
Ultimately, Campbell strives to use her knowledge for good and be part of the change. While becoming a CPA is her next goal, she hopes to one day integrate her second degree in women’s studies and minor in Black studies into her work.