AICPA Introduces Leadership Academy Class of 2017

38 Emerging Leaders Develop their Skill Sets in North Carolina

October 5, 2017

DURHAM (October 5, 2017) - The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is pleased to announce the 2017 AICPA Leadership Academy graduating class. This week, these 38 future leaders of the accounting profession participated in a rigorous four-day program in Durham, North Carolina.

In addition to discussing key issues surrounding the accounting profession, this year’s class participated in leadership and personal development sessions with influential leaders such as AICPA Chair (2016-2017) and Association of International Certified Professional Accountants Chair (2017-2018) Kimberly Ellison-Taylor, CPA, CGMA, President and CEO of the AICPA and CEO of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, and AICPA Executive Vice President, Firm Services, Mark Koziel, CPA, CGMA.

“One of my main focuses during my time as chair has been ensuring that we’re taking the necessary steps as a profession to support our future leaders,” said Kimberly Ellison-Taylor, CPA, CGMA. Regarding her experiences at this year’s AICPA Leadership Academy, she added, “Interacting with the talented individuals that make up this year’s Leadership Academy class makes me incredibly optimistic about the future of the accounting profession. These young leaders are poised to lead us into the future.”

The AICPA Leadership Academy was designed to strengthen and expand the leadership skills of promising young professionals while they network with a peer group of talented and motivated CPAs. The 2017 participants comprised the ninth Leadership Academy class, and more than 300 CPAs have now graduated from the Leadership Academy.

“My experience at the 2017 AICPA Leadership Academy was both inspirational and transformative,” said Kiyosha Baird, senior finance manager at the Microsoft Corporation and a 2017 Leadership Academy graduate. “The experience framed leadership into language I could understand, and it accelerated my fluency on the topic. It also cultivated life-long relationships and broadened my range of possibility, capability, and effectiveness. Whether engaging teams or scaling results, the skills that my fellow AICPA Leadership Academy alumni and I learned will empower us to lead through the changing times of tomorrow.”

The 2017 AICPA Leadership Academy attendees were recommended by their employers, state CPA societies or both.

This year’s class included representatives from 34 states and the District of Columbia. Participants were selected from public accounting firms of all sizes, business and industry, consulting, education and government. The class contained a diverse range of ethnicities and was split evenly between males and females. The average age of the attendees was 32.

Candidates submitted resumes which included work history, licensure information, professional volunteer activities, community service and awards and honors. Candidates also submitted a statement explaining how participating in the Leadership Academy would impact them personally and professionally. In addition, they wrote an essay answering the question, “What leadership competencies and characteristics will be essential to successfully lead and advance the CPA profession in 2025?”

Details for the 2018 Leadership Academy are available online. The application period is now open, with a deadline of May 31, 2018.

The full 2017 Leadership Academy class is listed below in alphabetical order:

  • Mark Astrinos, Libra Wealth, San Francisco, CA
  • Kiyosha Baird, Microsoft, Redmond, WA
  • Ross Baldwin, Arkansas Legislative Audit, Little Rock, AR
  • Amanda Bartlett, Dead River Company, South Portland, ME
  • Andy Baum, Harper Hofer and Associates LLC, Denver, CO
  • Sarah Bilant, Drake Rose & Associates LLC, Winnemucca, NV
  • Josh Borowski, Chief Industries, Inc, Grand Island, NE
  • Seth Cohn, Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP, Arlington, VA
  • Lauren Cox, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC
  • Ben Cozad, Entergy Corporation, New Orleans, LA
  • Tyler Crawford, Barfield, Murphy, Shank and Smith, LLC, Birmingham, AL
  • Ho-Ming Fong, Aronson LLC, Rockville, MA
  • Eric Greene, PwC, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Curt Hurd, Plante Moran, Southfield, MI
  • A.J. Hurst, Frazier & Deeter, LLC, Atlanta, Ga
  • Arey Jhang, Bauknight, Pietras, & Stormer P.A., Columbia, SC
  • Heather Kephart, Koniag, Inc., Anchorage, AK
  • Sherry Kneip, Spirit Realty Capital, Dallas, TX
  • Josh Lance, Joshua Lance CPA, LLC, Westmont, IL
  • Anne Layne, McHard Accounting Consulting LLC, Albuquerque, NM
  • Luke Luckett, Anders Minkler Huber & Helm, LLP, St. Louis, MO
  • Eduardo Morales, BDO, New York, NY
  • Porschia Nkansa, California State University, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
  • Renee Prince, Renee Prince, CPA, PC, Granbury, TX
  • Ross Replogle, Kahn, Litwin, Renza & Co., Ltd., Providence, RI
  • Rafael Rodriguez, E.F. Alvarez & Company, Miami, FL
  • Melanie Rollo, Ellsworth & Stout, LLC, Las Vegas, NV
  • Erika Ruiz, KPMG LLP, Boston, MA
  • Luke Selvig, Boyum & Barenscheer PLLP, Minneapolis, MN
  • Justin Sensenig, Weinhold Nickel & Co, LLP, Ephrata, PA
  • Becca Shane, Hamilton Place Strategies, Washington, DC
  • Jessica Smith, Reynolds & Rowella LLP, New Canaan, CT
  • Sean Stein Smith, Lehman College (CUNY), Bergenfield, NJ
  • Wendy Thompson, Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores, OKlahoma City, OK
  • Sarah Timmons, Atlas Van Lines, Evansville, IN
  • Elizabeth Watkins, FBMM, Inc., Nashville, TN
  • Meagan Wellbrock, Adams, Brown, Beran & Ball, Chtd., Hays, KS
  • Jessie Wright, Schroedel, Scullin & Bestic, LLC, Canfield, OH