2014 NYPs to Watch

 

 

 


In this second annual CTCPA New and Young Professionals to Watch feature, we’re introducing you to three up-and-comers, aged 35 and younger, who have set themselves apart as emerging leaders in the accounting profession.

Following a call for nominations this fall, a panel of accounting professionals selected these go-getters based on professional or workplace contributions, community service, and CTCPA involvement.

Winners were recognized at the seventh annual Mingling & Merriment New and Young Professionals Holiday Party at the Society Room of Hartford on December 11. 

J. Tobias Freeman, CPA 
Manager – CohnReznick, Hartford

Katherine McNair, CPA, MSA 
Audit Supervisor – O’Connor Davies, Wethersfield

Evan Kalish
Tax Senior – Saslow Lufkin & Buggy, Simsbury


 

J. Tobias Freeman, CPA
Manager – CohnReznick, Hartford

“Tobias exhibits many of the important qualities that we look for in our young leaders and is a great example for others.” 

The aspect of my work that I find the most challenging is: engagement management.  There are always multiple engagements running simultaneously, which presents challenges not only in prioritizing and assigning specific engagement tasks, but coordinating various schedules.

The aspect of my work that I find the most fun is: the people!  I have the privilege to meet and work with great people within the firm, at our various clients, and at the numerous functions I have attended.  I have gained some great experiences and built some lasting friendships.

If I weren’t a CPA, I would be a: math teacher.

My first job was: delivering the daily local newspaper (Evening Sentinel in Derby) as a kid.

My advice to people just starting out in the accounting profession is: don’t be afraid to ask questions. You will have the opportunity to work with some very smart and experienced people – gain knowledge from someone who has already been in your shoes.  

The app I can’t live without is: JEFIT – it’s a fitness app.

The website I can’t live without is: YouTube – it’s where I go to figure out how to do the things I don’t know how to do!

The word that best describes me is: eager.

J. Tobias Freeman’s resume reads like a case study in leadership. As a manager at CohnReznick’s Hartford office [the firm’s Farmington and Glastonbury offices recently combined in downtown Hartford], Freeman coaches younger staff and helps recruit new hires at open houses and career fairs.

He is a member of the firm’s Affordable Housing Next Generation Leaders Program and co-leader of affordable housing training for staff and seniors.

Freeman is a familiar face in CTCPA leadership, having served four one-year terms as a member-at-large of the Advisory Council as well as two terms on the Nominating Committee. As a member of the Student Outreach and Career Awareness Committee, Freeman speaks about accounting careers at high schools and community colleges and mentors students – many of whom have kept in touch with him through the years.

Freeman serves as vice president of the National Association of Black Accountants Greater Hartford Chapter and treasurer for AIDS Connecticut.

He is actively involved in his hometown of New Britain, serving as a member of the School Governance Council for Holmes Elementary School, a member of the Finance Committee for the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain, and treasurer for the National 65th Regiment Historical Society; he even served a two-year term as an alderman on the Common Council.

“Tobias exhibits many of the important qualities that we look for in our young leaders and is a great example for others,” said CohnReznick Hartford Office Managing Partner Ed Kindelan. “He has made a commitment to CohnReznick, the profession, and the communities in which he lives and works while also achieving some needed balance.”

 

 


 

 

Katherine McNair, CPA, MSA 
Audit Supervisor – O’Connor Davies, Wethersfield

“Katherine is a natural leader because people like, trust, and have confidence in her.”

The aspect of my work that I find the most challenging is: being put in new situations (e.g., a new type of client, working with a new team), essentially taking me out of my comfort zone as a necessary means of growth.

The aspect of my work that I find the most fun is: solving problems – figuring out a particularly tough/confusing bookkeeping error, or just getting that balance sheet to balance.

If I weren’t a CPA, I would be a: meteorologist.

My first job was: office assistant/visitor’s center attendant at Fort Trumbull.

My advice to people just starting out in the accounting profession is: show that you are motivated and eager to learn by asking what new tasks you can try and what responsibilities you can take on.

Something people would be surprised to know about me is: I love to bake. Cupcakes are my favorite food to bake and I love decorating them.

The app I can’t live without is: Yahoo Fantasy Sports for fantasy football.

The word that best describes me is: motivated. 
As leader of the government practice at O’Connor Davies’ Wethersfield office, Katherine McNair is responsible for not only reviewing others’ work, but setting up audit work templates, training, and scheduling. She works with all staff members in the office to help them understand what they’re doing and why they’re doing it, and answers numerous questions thoroughly and patiently.

“Katherine is a natural leader because people like, trust, and have confidence in her,” said O’Connor Davies Partner and CTCPA Past President Marcia Marien.

Out of 500 members of the firm, McNair was chosen as part of the three-member team leading an initiative to standardize the firm’s approach to government audits. She also serves on another three-member team working to standardize the firm’s workpapers and documentation for federal and state single audits.

McNair has established a long resume of CTCPA involvement including serving as vice chair of the New and Young Professionals Cabinet, trustee of the Educational Trust Fund, and member of the Governmental Accounting and Auditing Committee.

She encourages other staff at her firm to take part in It’s Just LIFE women’s programming, new and young professional events, and more.

McNair is also known as the community service cheerleader at her firm – she rallies the office to get involved in charitable activities such as painting at a local not-for-profit.

“Katherine is always looking for new ways to give back to the community and the profession,” said Marien. “She is a great role model to the other professionals in the office, young and … less young. She epitomizes the values, work ethic, and commitment we would want for every young CPA.”

 

 


 

 

Evan Kalish
Tax Senior – Saslow Lufkin & Buggy, Simsbury

“Evan’s high energy and motivated attitude are contagious.”

The aspect of my work that I find the most challenging is: technical research of the internal revenue code.

The aspect of my work that I find the most fun is: training new staff and networking events.

My first job was: camp counselor.

My advice to people just starting out in the accounting profession is: have a thirst for knowledge and learning.

Something people would be surprised to know about me is: I am a drummer and love to play all types of music.

The app I can’t live without is: the alarm clock app.

The website I can’t live without is: ESPN.com.

My favorite quote is: “People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” – Dale Carnegie

If I could be on any TV show, I would choose:
The Big Bang Theory.

The word that best describes me is: joyful.
Since becoming a tax senior at Saslow Lufkin & Buggy in Simsbury, Evan Kalish has helped train new staff and interns and is the go-to person for younger tax staff. He frequently represents the firm at area business and networking events through organizations like Hartford Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs (HYPE), MetroHartford Alliance, and Network After Work.

A member of the CTCPA New Young Professionals Cabinet, Kalish regularly gathers the Saslow Lufkin & Buggy audit and tax staff to attend new and young professional events like Trivia Night and New Britain Rock Cats games. (In fact, he even worked the registration table at the Mingling & Merriment holiday party where he later received his New and Young Professionals to Watch award!)

Kalish has logged several hours reaching out to students on behalf of the CTCPA, this year as a panelist at the High School CPA Careers Conference at UConn and an instructor for elementary school students as part of “JA in a Day.”

Kalish is the co-founder of The Society Against Child Abuse, an organization started in 2004. Though he stepped down from his leadership role a couple months ago, he helped to run many campaigns and fundraisers over the past 10 years. The Society has roughly 3.7 million members and has raised more than $100,000 in donations. Kalish also participates in community service initiatives at his firm including “jeans week” for charity and an ongoing food donation program for a local food bank.

“Evan’s high energy and motivated attitude are contagious,” said Saslow Lufkin & Buggy Human Resource and Firm Manager Jennifer McMahon. “He always has a smile on his face and a positive outlook that can brighten an intern’s day or remind a weary manager why he or she chose this career.”

 

The Selection Panel

Selection of the 2014 “New and Young Professionals to Watch” was made by a blind review of written nominations by a panel of accounting professionals. Thank you to our panelists! 

Eliot Bassin
Bregman & Company

Dennis Cole
Beers, Hamerman & Company

David Leigh
Bailey, Moore, Glazer, Schaefer & Proto

Susan Martinelli
McGladrey

Steven Supernaugh
Guilford Savings Bank

Pamela Weaver
University of Hartford

Mary Wisenski
Fiondella, Milone & LaSaracina