CSCPA’s New Professionals Enjoy Networking and Wine Tasting

Hailing from Stamford to Hartford, public to industry, small firm to Big 4, 90 new and young professionals rang in the holidays with the most festive CPE session the CSCPA has ever seen.

Decked in cocktail attire and surrounded by the lights, wreaths, and, of course, trees of the Wadsworth Atheneum’s "Festival of Trees and Traditions," the merry group traded business cards and stories while enjoying wine and hors d’oeuvres.

"I’ve used networking to get all of my jobs," Robert Half Recruiter Duane Sauer told the crowd, relating tales of landing a job at Kostin, Ruffkess & Co. by making a contact at a restaurant job he held during college, and the position he obtained at Barclay’s Bank resulting from a conversation with a fellow alum during a college football game.

Mr. Sauer then challenged the group to meet at least seven new people that evening, setting off a chain reaction of "elevator pitches" and conversation.

"You never know who they know," Mr. Sauer reminded the group, pressing the importance of networking before it’s necessary for a job, especially in today’s tumultuous times.

The handshakes and chatter extended far beyond the formal session, however, as partygoers continued to linger well beyond the closing remarks of Becker CPA Review Marketing Director Julie Carroza.

"These events force you to get your name out there and make connections," Kevin Gokey of Haggett Longobardi, a Division of J.H. Cohn, said. "If you want more technical stuff, the office will find it for you. Especially with the economy going funky, you need to network. We’re all in the same boat."

For Kirstin Nordquist, a New York native who’s been with Deloitte & Touche in Stamford since graduation, CSCPA events with new and young professionals give her a chance to enter what she considers a different world.

"As someone in the Big Four, I get my CPE through Deloitte. I need the connections," she recognized. "Tonight I’ve been introduced to people from firms I’ve never heard of!"

As 2009 unfolds, the CSCPA new and young professionals can avail themselves of an abundance of programs, community service projects, and networking opportunities.

Meet Alicia McCain and the New and Young Professionals of CSCPA

Shortly before graduating from Eastern Connecticut State University in May 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in business and a minor in communications, Alicia McCain sat down with Eastern’s Acting Director of Career Services, Nancy DeCrescenzo, to look at her resume. A job opportunity had just landed on Ms. DeCrescenzo’s desk that she deemed perfect for McCain’s personality and business know-how: Accounting Careers Specialist with the CSCPA.

With more than 70 percent of the Society’s membership over the age of 40 and rapidly approaching retirement, the concern is heard across the board: who will replace me when I leave? What will happen to my firm? Sole practitioners and larger firms alike have handed CSCPA a critical task: fill the pipeline with confident, competent young people. With such a shortage looming, the Society hired Ms. McCain to recruit young people to the accounting profession and to CSCPA membership by planning special events and creating educational experiences to help accounting’s next generation along the path.

"I was excited about working with people my own age," Ms. McCain said, "finding ways to relate to them and help them reach success in their careers."

"When someone older than you gives you advice, you don’t necessarily want to take it," she added. "I think it helps being able to say 'This is how I got my job' when you’re just a year or two older than your audience."

Luckily for Ms. McCain, she’s got an army of new and young professionals behind her in the New and Young Professionals Group, a hand-picked troop of individuals eager to act as a sounding board for Alicia. Over dinner every other month, the group chats about their current situations, shares thoughts on past events, and generates plenty of ideas for the future.

"It’s awesome, being able to shoot out an idea and getting thoughtful responses. They always get back to me," she marveled. "They take the guesswork out of my job."

For more information about the New and Young Professionals Group, contact Alicia McCain at 860-258-4800, ext. 217 or