This month is National Women’s History Month. What does this month mean to you?
You don’t have to look very far back in history to see where there were differences between men and women. I think Women’s History Month is an opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come and acknowledge the people who have blazed the trail before us. I also think it’s an opportunity to pause and celebrate where we are, and acknowledge where we still have opportunity to grow.
Are there current gaps in the industry that still require attention?
It’s not uncommon for me to be sitting in an audit committee room with all men. Once a woman gets further along in her career, there’s fewer of us at the table. It’s something I’m starting to see change, but I hope over time we’ll start our careers with 50% of the hires being women and end our careers with 50% of our leaders being women. We’re not there yet.
I think we’re doing a great job of progressing women at Moss Adams. When I look at the profession in general, we’re focusing on diversity. A number of accounting firms have business resource groups like Forum W. We’re talking about things that need to be talked about, and we’re working through sensitive matters that are holding people back.
How does Forum W drive progress for women at Moss Adams?
Forum W is our original business resource group (BRG), and I wanted to be a Forum W Office Champion because the firm’s emphasis on our inclusion and diversity (I&D) efforts was exciting for me. Forum W has been moving the bar by helping us retain and advance our talented women. For example, the GroWth Series program has been great. I want to keep making sure our people can be successful and be the best professionals that they can be.
Some of the things that have come out of Forum W have impacted everyone. The mentoring programs in some of our regions are modeled after Forum W. We also have sponsorship programs that have roots in Forum W. These are programs that impact everyone at Moss Adams. It’s another way the firm has increased the focus on inclusion and diversity for all communities.
What can everyone take away from Women’s History Month this year?
This is a time to reflect on how far women have come in the industry and in the business world. I think challenging gender norms, and other societal norms, is something to take away for all our I&D efforts.
It’s important to keep celebrating and promoting diversity so that we have inclusive leadership, and a diverse population from which to pull different perspectives. People bringing different perspectives to the table arrive at new answers instead of everyone coming from the same direction. From a business standpoint, the more diversity we get in our leadership, the better off we’ll be.