AICPA Women’s Summit to Foster Leadership Development

Sarah Woodman, Global events journalist
September 27, 2012 /

Where are the future leaders of the accounting profession? Chances are more than a few will be attending a new American Institute of CPAs conference next month that’s designed to build leadership skills and promote networking opportunities for women CPAs.

More than 250 participants will gather Oct. 17-18 for the Women’s Global Leadership Summit in Boston, which is already sold out. The conference is meant to address a lingering imbalance in the profession: For many years, women have represented roughly half of all new CPAs, yet only make up 21 percent of firm partners.

In addition, only 9 percent of chief financial officer positions at Fortune 500 companies are filled by women.

“As competition for talent heats up and Baby Boomers announce their retirements, most firms realize that more than 50 percent of the succession planning equation will be women,” said Mary L. Bennett, founder of MLBennett Consulting LLC and chair of the AICPA Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee. “Many practices now have more women than men at the manager level, yet less than a quarter of women CPAs currently own a piece of the business. This is not an equation that will result in a sustainable firm or profession.”

The summit will offer workshops on leadership, business development, conflict resolution, networking, advocacy and communications, among other topics. It’s also a chance for attendees to meet role models who blazed a trail for women in the profession, in every sphere from public accounting to academia to business, industry and government.

“Nearly every session is being taught by women leaders in the profession — partners, CFOs and finance directors from companies of all sizes,” Bennett said. “Attendees will have the opportunity to learn practical takeaways on the most important topics from the best.”

Keynoters include Rhonda Kallman, co-founder of the Boston Beer Company and CEO of McMillan Distillery, and former CNN Business News anchor Jan Hopkins, president of the Economic Club of New York.

To obtain press credentials for the event, please register with Shirley Twillman at


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