Passionate about work. Passionate about politics. Passionate about life.
Although it’s not rare for CPAs to consider the world of politics and public office, the experiences Mary Yeager, CPA, CFE, CIA, has had up to this point of her life may have more than ideally led her to serve the public – in more ways than one.
She recently won the GOP primary race for Ohio State House-District 31. The general election for Ohio state representatives will be held Nov. 4. Full time, she is an internal auditor at the University of Cincinnati. Prior to that, she worked in public accounting at Ernst & Young and several local firms, and also owned her own business, focusing on tax, bookkeeping, fraud investigation, and consulting.
Mary is also a 2013 graduate of the AICPA Leadership Academy.* Yet, whether she spends time in politics, in her role at the university or on behalf of the accounting profession, her overriding goal is to make the world a better place.
“With internal audit, you’re more involved in processes and efficiencies, and at the university, I have a real sense of fulfillment,” said Mary, who has a lot of pride in working on a college campus because the experience really hits home. “My mother worked at the University of Akron for 33 years, so I grew up in the university environment. In a way, it’s almost like coming back home.”
A University of Akron graduate , Mary became involved in politics and local government in 2010, when, she says, the recession motivated her to take action.
“At that time, the state faced an $8 billion deficit,” Mary said. “The Ohio Society of CPAs requested volunteers for their speakers bureau, and considering what the state’s situation, I decided to step up to the plate.”
After that, she ran for Norwood City Council at-Large, an experience that motivated her to then run for treasurer for Norwood.
“People were impressed with how I ran my campaign and wanted me to run,” she said. “As a CPA, I felt I could bring the kind of strong financial background to the city government that was lacking at the time.”
Mary ran against a long-time incumbent, and while she didn’t win, she came close. She says that this gave her the confidence that she belonged in politics and must keep working at it.
“Because I got as many votes as I did, I think people realized the need to elect people with a background in accounting,” she said. “It was confirmation that my skills and experience were appreciated and needed in our city, and that those same skill sets will also be needed at the state level.”
When she broke the news to her peers from the AICPA Leadership Academy about her candidacy for the Ohio House of Representatives, she received the kind of support and confirmation that drove her to run in the first place.
“I announced my candidacy to everyone I met at the 2013 Leadership academy, and have gotten so much encouragement from them to keep CPAs involved in politics and government. This was a nice affirmation of the friendships I developed, and reinforces the importance of the profession at the state and national level.”
She says the Leadership Academy experience was not only important in furthering her ability to be a standout in politics, but also vital for her work in accounting.
“In the course of just a few days, we went from relative strangers to a group of leaders who discussed ways to spend our time improving the profession. We were able to work so well in such a short time, and I believe this experience will help us make a difference in our work and our life.”
In her spare time, Mary enjoys activities such as ballroom dancing, hiking and reading. While she cites Ohio Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor as her political inspiration, Mary’s greatest inspiration comes from her children: Joseph, Rita, Cecilia, Theresa, and Veronica.
Have you ever thought about pursuing a career in politics? Why or why not? Send us an email at email@example.com and tell us what you think.