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Connecticut CPA
November/December 2017
What are some of the
challenges and barriers that
women in the profession face
and can they be overcome?
Certainly, the number of hours that
need to be dedicated to client service
and demands, especially during critical
deadlines and work compression peri-
ods, are at the top of the list.
Heather Ziegler,
managing partner
of Deloitte's Stam-
ford office: "One of
the biggest barriers
for professional ser-
vices is the hours,
especially during deadlines. How do
you balance your schedule so you can
still be proactive and responsible to
your clients without having to be 24/7?
How do you balance those hours when
you're working 55, 60, or more hours
during a deadline? It may mean shift-
ing schedules. For example, if six peo-
ple are on an engagement, we arrange
a schedule where three work late Mon-
day, Wednesday, and Friday, and the
others get to go home earlier so they
can fit in that yoga class or children's
play, even in the middle of busy sea-
son. Then the next day shifts and they
are covering for the others."
Lisa Wills, part-
ner at Whittlesey
in Hartford: "Public
accounting is a de-
manding industry,
but when I joined
Whittlesey, I real-
ized that they provide the flexibility and
the ability to spend time with your fam-
ily and do things outside of work. We
have a number of individuals, especial-
ly in the management group, who work
something other than the traditional
full-time work schedule. I feel that's a
great message to send, particularly to
younger women who are trying to fig-
ure out how to do it all. I admire the
young women who want to try to make
a career out of public accounting and
want to make it work and who aspire
to do it. We have some really talented
young women in our firm and I'm ex-
cited about them progressing; I would
love for them to be partners side-by-
side with me."
Susan Martinelli,
partner at RSM US
in New Haven and
CTCPA president-
elect: "The issues
that face women
don't just apply to
women anymore. I think it's more about
the issues facing families. The issues
apply to the families because now you
may have evolving family roles, both
at home and in the workplace. In my
particular situation, I have a very sup-
portive husband. My career and volun-
teer commitments are important in our
family, and I couldn't commit the time
I do without his support. We always
viewed this as a partnership, looked at
it as a family, and did not look at it as
a gender issue. Wherever we had the
most opportunity as a family, that's the
direction we would go. The best direc-
tion for our family happened to be my
career, so we focused and put more
time into my career."
Jennifer Bull, part-
ner at DHL+S in
Shelton: "As more
women take on
leadership posi-
tions, they see the
barriers that are
placed in front of them, and they'll fig-
ure out how to get around those barri-
ers. Public accounting is a challenging
profession, and depending on where
you're working in the profession, hav-
ing a family can be challenging and
it can also be a barrier. It all depends
on your outlook and your priorities. It
is important for me to show my chil-
dren that you can be a good mom and
have a career, and you can be a strong
woman. This is what makes me happy
I like going to work every day and I like
being a mom, so I make it work."
Amelia Caporale,
managing partner of
EY's Hartford office:
"You can only be
successful if you
have leadership and
people behind you
and, most importantly, you need family
support. There's no way I could have
done it without a network. I had a large
`cascading net' of people around me
in my family life: my husband, mom,
mother-in-law, and nanny. I had back-
ups to the backups."
Marcia Marien,
partner at PKF
O'Connor Davies
in Wethersfield and
2010-2011 past
president of the
CTCPA: "From my
perspective, I wanted to have children
and I wanted to be a great mom, which
requires a lot of time and attention to
do well. For me and possibly other
women with the same goal, I decided
to slow down my career aspirations
for several years when raising my chil-
dren, which was my most important
responsibility. There is plenty of time
for both all of the state and national
boards and positions I held were after
my children were older."
"The issues that face women
don't just apply to women
anymore. I think it's more about
the issues facing families."
Susan Martinelli, RSM US
We spoke with several female leaders from various size firms across the state to
hear some of their experiences, challenges, and advice to the next generation: