2015 NYPs to Watch

 

 

 


In this third 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 eighth annual Mingling & Merriment New and Young Professionals Holiday Party at the Society Room of Hartford on December 10.

You can also read the feature on page 10 of the January/February 2016 issue of Connecticut CPA magazine.

The New and Young Professionals to Watch Class of 2015

Ross Riskin, CPA/PFS, CCPS
Assistant Professor of Accounting and Finance – Albertus Magnus College, New Haven
Vice President – Riskin & Riskin, PC, Orange
Managing Member – Riskin Advisory, LLC, Orange

Katherine Donovan, CPA
Senior Audit Associate – Whittlesey & Hadley, P.C., Hartford

Tessa Jordan, CPA
Manager – Nicola, Yester & Company, P.C., Glastonbury
 



Ross A. Riskin, CPA/PFS, CCPS

Assistant Professor of Accounting and Finance – Albertus Magnus College, New Haven

Vice President – Riskin & Riskin, PC, Orange

Managing Member – Riskin Advisory, LLC, Orange

“Don’t let the expectations of others limit you. Instead, let your passion and drive motivate you to accomplish things people never expected you could.”

>The aspect of my work that I find the most challenging is: creating new ways to add value or enhance the services I provide to clients. I am constantly reading and learning about new technologies, regulations, and planning opportunities so that I can stay ahead of the competition and be a good resource for my clients throughout the year.

>The aspect of my work that I find the most fun is: the one-on-one interactions. Seeing the light bulb turn on for a client when I explain a particular tax planning strategy or helping students finally grasp an accounting concept they have been struggling with is worth all the hard work.

>My advice to people starting out in the accounting profession is: don’t let the expectations of others limit you. Instead, let your passion and drive motivate you to accomplish things people never expected you could. Remember that success does not have an age requirement.

>Something people would be surprised to know about me is: I am an avid musician and enjoy singing and playing guitar, piano, and the drums in my spare time.

>The app or website I can’t live without is: LinkedIn.

>My favorite quote is: “There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
Nelson Mandela
Ross Riskin’s bio reads like one of a person twice his age. He’s not only vice president of Riskin & Riskin, PC, a public accounting and advisory firm he runs with his father, CPA Robert Riskin, he also started his own college and education financial planning firm to combine his tax and financial planning expertise with his interest in helping students find their “best fit” school.

“I am proud to showcase my entrepreneurial spirit and bridge the gap between the services that are offered by most financial advisors and guidance counselors today,” Riskin explained.

In addition to being a CPA/PFS (Personal Financial Specialist), Riskin is one of the only professional advisors in the state (and one of only 500 in the country) who holds the Certified College Planning Specialist (CCPS) designation and specializes in working with families, financial advisors, accountants, and attorneys to provide college financial planning services.

As if that weren’t enough, Riskin can also be found bringing his real-world experience to the classroom as an assistant professor of accounting & finance at Albertus Magnus College.

Riskin has published an e-book on Amazon.com entitled Winning: How to Succeed in an Online Graduate Program and has been quoted in media outlets including Forbes, Financial Advisor magazine, the National Financial Educators Council, Staples.com, and the Home of Wealth Minimalist Lifestyle Blog.

Riskin frequently puts his expertise to good use, speaking at College Summit events to help promote the importance of higher education to New Haven-area high school students. He also carves out time to visit his alma mater, Fairfield University, to speak at Beta Alpha Psi meetings and presented a session on college financial planning at the recent Fairfield University Accounting is My Major (AIM) program.

 

 


 

Katherine Donovan, CPA

Senior Audit Associate – Whittlesey & Hadley, P.C., Hartford

“Use the 15-minute rule. When you get stuck on something, try figuring it out yourself first, but if you’re still stuck after 15 minutes, either move on to the next task or ask for help.”

The aspect of my work that I find the most challenging is: time/job management.

>The aspect of my work that I find the most fun is: recognizing patterns to find solutions.

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

>My first job was: an apparel associate at Dick’s Sporting Goods.

>My advice to people starting out in the accounting profession is: “Use the 15-minute rule: When you get stuck on something, try figuring it out yourself first, but if you’re still stuck after 15 minutes, either move on to the next task or ask for help.”

>Something people would be surprised to know about me is: I still play soccer year-round in different adult coed leagues.

>The app or website I can’t live without is: Facebook/Pinterest.

>My favorite quote is: “A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.”

>The word that best describes me is: driven.

>The most interesting/adventurous thing I’ve ever done was:  jumping off the “Jaws” bridge on Martha’s Vineyard last summer.

>At Karaoke Night I’d sing: Britney Spears or Miranda Lambert.
Whittlesey & Hadley Senior Audit Associate Kate Donovan’s nomination form mentioned that her picture is in virtually every edition of Connecticut CPA magazine. A quick look back confirmed that she has, in fact, appeared in each 2015 issue, a testament to her involvement and enthusiasm in CTCPA programs and events.

As secretary of the CTCPA New and Young (NYP) Professionals Cabinet, Donovan is a champion for NYP events, engaging her colleagues to get involved in everything from charity walks and drives to happy hours and sporting events, even serving as captain of the firm’s NYP charity kickball tournament team. In 2015, she became a member of the CTCPA’s 30-member Advisory Council, helping provide feedback and guidance to the Board of Directors.

Donovan’s community involvement doesn’t end with the CTCPA. Her volunteer resume includes extensive work with Hartford Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs (HYPE) as a member of its Community Involvement Committee, serving as her firm’s HYPE team community service chair and team co-captain, and helping plan programs including the annual Tee It Up for Charity event, Tons of Toys drive, and more. She also serves on the audit committee of Connecticut Humanities.

In the office, Donovan specializes in nonprofit, pension, and real estate clients, and has quickly earned a reputation for high-quality work and using technology to increase efficiency.

“Kate has taken initiative from day one at Whittlesey & Hadley, seeking out opportunities for additional responsibilities,” said Whittlesey & Hadley Manager Tom Wood.

Donovan is a significant contributor to the firm’s new hire on-boarding process and presents technical issues at department meetings across all of the firm’s offices.
Donovan has accounting in her blood; her parents Cynthia and Sean are both CTCPA members. In fact, she spoke about her journey into the family profession at the New CPA Certificate Ceremony last January.

Donovan also shows off her creative streak as a part-time photographer, capturing families, weddings, engagements, and newborns with her Canon T5i camera.

 

 

Tessa Jordan, CPA

Manager – Nicola, Yester & Company, P.C., Glastonbury

“Know how valuable you are to the profession. Your ideas are powerful – don’t be afraid to share them.”

>The aspect of my work that I find the most challenging is: finding the time in the day to accomplish everything I set out to do that morning.

>The aspect of my work that I find the most fun is: that every day is unpredictable. I come into work with an idea of how my day is going to go and it almost always turns out differently.  I love public accounting.

>If I weren’t a CPA, I would be: an event planner.

>My first job was: cashier at Tri-Town Foods in Colchester.

>My advice to people starting out in the accounting profession is: know how valuable you are to the profession. Your ideas are powerful – don’t be afraid to share them.

>When I’m not at work you can find me:
planning! Usually for the next vacation or decorating our house ...

>The app or website I can’t live without is: Pinterest.

>My favorite quote is: “There’s no shortage of remarkable ideas, what’s missing is the will to execute them.”  Seth Godin

>The word that best describes me is: exuberant.

>At Karaoke Night I’d sing: Janis Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee.”
Tessa Jordan is a go-to mentor for staff accountants in her office. A manager specializing in construction, retail, healthcare, and other closely-held businesses at Nicola Yester, she supervises and advises four staff-level accountants. Jordan, along with another manager in the firm, were responsible for developing a new staff training/orientation program that was rolled out this fall.

“Tessa understands that the success of our firm is all about helping the staff in the firm grow to be successful,” said firm partner Steve Prigionieri.

Jordan also played a key role in helping develop the firm’s WOW Committee, a select group of individuals promoting holiday, wellness, and firm morale events.  She is an in-house expert on QuickBooks-related client concerns as she is certified as a QuickBooks Pro Advisor.

Jordan’s leadership continues outside the office, where she is a member of Hartford Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs (HYPE) and its Community Involvement Committee, helping to organize charitable events benefitting the Greater Hartford area. She is also a member of the Glastonbury Chamber of Commerce and has volunteered for the Channel 3 Kids Camp.

Jordan  also trades in her laptop for a hard hat as a volunteer at Habitat for Humanity builds and was selected to be a member of the Associated Building and Contractors  Emerging Leaders Group.  

This fall, Jordan took to the CTCPA Education Center as a firm interviewer during the Interview Day event. She also leads her firm’s collection efforts during the New and Young Professionals annual charity drives, collecting books, coats, and more to help those less fortunate.

The Selection Panel

Selection of the 2015 “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! 

Brad Kronstat
Bergantino Agways  

Susan Martinelli
RSM

Patricia Poli
Fairfield University

Mary Wisenski
Fiondella, Milone &  LaSaracina