By Melisa Galasso
At the beginning of my term as president of the Charlotte Chapter, I identified three areas that I wanted to focus on in the near future. The three initiatives I decided on were women, leadership, and diversity.
I started with the Women’s Initiative by creating a steering committee and creating a plan to engage women. We’ve had two successful quarterly lunch meetings that sold out each time. With such an amazing response, I was excited to move on to the next initiative—leadership.
There are currently many challenges with developing the next generation and preparing them for leadership positions. The profession also struggles with succession planning and keeping CPAs active in the profession. So, once again, we established a steering committee to determine how to respond. Our committee decided to establish quarterly evening meetings that would include a panel discussion of successful leaders in Charlotte to share their wisdom.
I couldn’t think of a better way to end my term than hold the initial Leadership Initiative event on April 30, 2015, the last day of my term. The tagline for the event was “Find Your Leader Within,” and we were able to confirm three amazing panelists to represent the profession.
George Beckwith is the CFO of National Gypsum and member of the Private Company Council. Representing public accounting, Malcomb Coley is the Managing Partner of the Charlotte office of EY. In addition, Deborah Duniec is the Chief Financial Officer at Childress Klein Properties. Finally, Bucky Glover, a partner at Potter & Company and President of the North Carolina State Board of Certified Public Accountant Examiners, agreed to moderate the panel.
The event was a sold out success, and I am extremely grateful to our steering committee for planning such an amazingly successful event. We started the evening with heavy appetizers and drinks while the panelists mingled with the crowd. Then, we sat down for an hour-long question and answer session that looked at topics like best advice received, risk taking, challenges and opportunities for younger CPAs, and advice for aspiring leaders. The discussion was vibrant and the energy in the room was amazing. After the panel, there was dessert and networking and one-on-one questions with the panelists.
I can’t imagine a better way to spend my last day as president than with the enthusiastic NCACPA members. The event was very moving, and I am extremely proud of the chapter for actively addressing the issues currently impacting the profession. I foresee lots of amazing discussions to come!
While I have rolled off as president, I look forward to continuing my involvement with the Women’s Initiative and Leadership, and look to kick off the Diversity Initiative this fall once school is back in session. If you are interested in joining any of the steering committees for these initiatives, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.
Melisa is a Senior Manager in the Professional Practices Department at Cherry Bekaert LLP, in Charlotte. She currently serves on NCACPA’s Accounting & Attestation Committee and is immediate past-president of the Charlotte Chapter. Melisa can be reached at [email protected].