An Evolving Profession in a Time of
This past weekend my family and I watched the movie Hidden Figures, which
is based on the true story of three female African-American mathematicians
working at a NASA research facility in the 1960s. The main characters all start
out working as human "computers" in a pool of women who performed the
math by hand that enabled John Glenn to become the first American astronaut
to orbit the earth.
Enter the IBM, an early mainframe computer the size of a room that is rumored
to perform computations so quickly it will put all of the human computers out of
a job. The problem? No one quite knows how to make the IBM work.
Enter human computer Dorothy Vaughan, who takes the initiative to spend her
nights and weekends learning the FORTRAN coding language and figuring out
how to type programs onto stacks of punch cards to make the machine per-
form. She goes on to become one of the earliest computer programmers,
landing a supervisory position in the computer lab. Her team of human
computers comes with her, learning to program the IBM to do even more com-
When faced with a disruptive change, Dorothy Vaughan jumped in with both
feet, identifying and capitalizing on the new opportunity.
Today, instead of mainframe computers the size of a room, the headlines tell
us that things like blockchain, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality are
poised to alter almost every aspect of the way we live and work. It can feel
completely overwhelming to try to keep up, let alone determine how to best
prepare for and embrace these emerging technologies.
To get you started, this issue features an article on blockchain by Geoff
Hopkins of RSM (page 12). If you're not already familiar with the concept, fear
not, because this piece starts at the very beginning what is blockchain, and
what might it mean for you and your business? There's a lot to learn, so Geoff
will return in the January/February issue with part two of this series, delving
deeper into blockchain and the opportunities it will bring.
Dorothy Vaughan's story also relates to another of this issue's features, a profile
of some strong female trailblazers by Joe Tarasco and Nancy Damato of the
Accountants Advisory Group (page 18). Today about half of accounting gradu-
ates are female, but women only represent about 20 percent of CPA firm part-
ners. Joe and Nancy interviewed a number of women representing local firms
and global ones to learn how these women identified opportunities and climbed
the ranks, and what their advice is for the next generation.
In this issue we'll also hear from career coach Paul Iannone, who shares some
important advice to help us get back to basics and take care of ourselves and
our careers as we deal with these unprecedented times. Make your health a
priority. Read good books. Don't be afraid to manage and move past mistakes.
Learn more from Paul on page 22.
Vol. 58, Issue 6
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Opinions expressed in bylined articles ap-
pearing in this publication are those of the
author(s) and do not necessarily reflect
CTCPA opinions or positions nor do they
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Kirsten Piechota, Managing Editor
See you next issue,
A publication of the Connecticut
Society of Certified Public Accountants
Connecticut CPA Team
Kirsten F. Piechota
Managing Editor/Graphic Designer
Caitlin Q. Bailey O'Neill
CTCPA Board of Directors
Bradley D. Kronstat, CPA
Susan A. Martinelli, CPA
Dennis W. Cole, CPA
Edwin R. Muenzner, CPA
Marie L. Benedetto, CPA
Mitchell R. Insero, CPA
Michael P. Jordan, CPA
CTCPA Advisory Council Chair
CTCPA Executive Director