AICPA Announces 2022 Leadership Academy Graduates
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AICPA Announces 2022 Leadership Academy Graduates

Oct 31, 2022 · 3 min read

Thirty-Five Emerging Leaders in the Accounting Profession Enhance Their Knowledge and Skills in N.C.

DURHAM, NC (October 31, 2022) — The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is pleased to announce that 35 CPAs from around the country recently graduated from the Leadership Academy. The AICPA Leadership Academy was created to provide an immersive experience for emerging leaders within the profession.

Led by Elizabeth Burkhalter, CPA, senior manager of the AICPA Diversity and Inclusion team’s Young Member Initiatives, the Leadership Academy features career-development workshops and sessions with some of the accounting profession’s most prominent leaders, which this year included AICPA Chair Anoop Natwar Mehta, CPA, CGMA; President and CEO Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA; and Executive Vice President of Business Engagement and Growth Tom Hood, CPA/CITP, CGMA.

“This year’s Leadership Academy class, season 14, continues our tradition of bringing the best and brightest young professionals together to equip them on how to adapt, thrive and lead in a rapidly changing world. Many described this program as ‘life-changing’ and ‘eye-opening’ and ready to pay it forward across our profession,” Hood said.

The AICPA Leadership Academy was designed to strengthen and expand the leadership skills of promising young professionals as they network with a peer group of talented and motivated CPAs.

The experience proved to be a positive one for leadership as well, according to Mehta.

“It was a privilege to be around such amazing young professionals,” the AICPA chair said. “They understand the importance of personal development and building relationships. The CPA profession is about people, and AICPA Leadership Academy believes in the importance of developing strong leaders.”

This year’s class included representatives from 27 states. Participants represented all areas of the accounting and finance profession, including public accounting firms, business and industry, government, and consulting firms. The 2022 attendees were recommended by their employers, state CPA societies and volunteer organizations. The group comprised representation from a diverse mix of practice areas, organizations, ethnicities and gender.

Candidates for the program submit details on their education and work history, as well as personal statements on how the Leadership Academy would encourage them in their lives and careers. As part of this, candidates submit an essay outlining their opinions on the future of the profession and what they as leaders can do to shape that future.

“Each year at our Leadership Academy, we see the next generation of CPA profession leaders. This year’s class will blend their unique perspectives to lead the profession on its continual course of innovation and trust,” Melancon said.

To date, more than 475 CPAs have participated in the AICPA Leadership Academy, many of whom have gone on to leadership positions within their firms, businesses or volunteer organizations.

Details, including entry information and submission dates for the 2023 Leadership Academy, will be available later this fall.

The full 2022 AICPA Leadership Academy class is listed below:

  • Breana Ammon, Sisterson & Co. LLP, Pittsburgh, PA

  • Thomas Andrews, Smart Choice, Greensboro, NC

  • April Arruda, DiSanto, Priest & Co., Riverside, RI

  • Ana Byers, Wipfli LLP, Bedford, NH

  • Benjamin Calingaert, Persing Professional Group, Reno, NV

  • Minzhi Chen, Berdon LLP, Cave Springs, AR

  • Patrick Chong, OceanFirst Bank N.A., Hoboken, NJ

  • Jennifer Claus, Gallup, Ashland, NE

  • Miranda Coleman, Windham Brannon, Lithonia, GA

  • Noah Davis, Rea, Shaw, Giffin & Stuart LLP, Meridian, MS

  • Kayla Emanuelson, Schroedel, Scullin, & Bestic, LLC, Canfield, OH

  • Rosey Flaherty, Eide Bailly LLP, Buena Park, CA

  • Andrea Hernandez, Rubens Partners, Brentwood, CA

  • Andrew Higham, Tanner LLC, Salt Lake City, UT

  • Darius Hinton, U.S. Army, Washington, D.C.

  • Milly Ikundi, McKinsey & Company, Aldie, VA

  • Matthew Kidd, Blunden & Kidd Accounting & Consulting PC, Livonia, MI

  • Ryan Kirtner, WellsColeman, Richmond, VA

  • Amanda Kremer, Brown Forman, Louisville, KY

  • Kendra LaFleur, Carr, Riggs & Ingram, Duluth, GA

  • Catherine Mackenzie, PwC, Laurel, MD

  • Samantha Maiorano, Cover & Rossiter, Wilmington, DE

  • Connor Malatesta, Connor Malatesta CPA PLLC, Saint Clair, MI

  • Juan Martinez, Widmer Roel PC, Fargo, ND

  • Michael Meihaus, Meihaus CPA PC, Escondido, CA

  • Perisha Milikich, Brantley Janson, Federal Way, WA

  • Jeremy Newell, StoneTurn Group LLP, Boston, MA

  • Caitlyn O'Neil, CBIZ Denver, Denver, CO

  • Chukwunwike ("Chuck") Onuaku, The W2 Group, Lanham-Seabrook, MD

  • Marcus Rien, Lightstar, Minneapolis, MN

  • Heber Rojas, Tapia, Rojas and Associates, Miramar, FL

  • Catherine Samson, PSK LLP, Arlington, TX

  • Christine Stolzenburg, Freed Maxick, Tonawanda, NY

  • Blaise Wabo, A-LIGN, Denver, CO

  • Ariane Washington, Loyal Health, Durham, NC

For more information about the AICPA Leadership Academy, visit

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