AICPA Announces Graduates of 10th Annual Leadership Academy

October 15, 2018

41 Emerging Leaders in the Accounting Profession Enhance Their Knowledge and Skills in N.C.

Durham (October 15, 2018) – The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is pleased to announce the 41 promising young CPAs from around the country who graduated from the 2018 AICPA Leadership Academy, a rigorous four-day program intended to inspire, nurture and empower the next generation of CPA leaders.

AICPA Leadership Academy takes place in an interactive workshop setting that gives participants access to advanced leadership training, networking activities and presentations from some of the profession’s top thought leaders. This year’s event was held in Durham, North Carolina.

The 2018 class discussed key issues and interacted with influential leaders in the profession including Eric Hansen, CPA, CGMA, AICPA Chair and Association of International Certified Professional Accountants Chair, Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, President and CEO of the AICPA and CEO of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants and Mark Koziel, CPA, CGMA, Executive Vice president of Firm Services for the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.

“One of my key objectives as chair has been focusing on how we can advance learning opportunities and invest in the profession’s future leaders,” said Hansen. “For 10 years, Leadership Academy has been a shining example of AICPA’s dedication to developing the next generation of CPAs. This year’s class is an extremely talented group that I’m sure will make outstanding contributions to the profession in the changing times ahead.”

AICPA Leadership Academy is meant to serve as a succession plan for the CPA profession, ensuring a strong base of competent and committed leaders who understand the legacy of the profession, and have the passion and skills necessary to address the challenges of an ever-changing global business environment. The event also encourages self-reflection and a thoughtful exploration of how leadership impacts their personal and professional lives.

“The academy has brought so much clarity and insight to what it means to be an effective leader,” said 2018 Leadership Academy graduate Kelly Mann, a senior manager at Seim Johnson. “It has helped me understand what my most important values are and how they impact my decision making. I have also learned how important consciousness and reflection are to good leadership and how I can bring these lessons back with me, to benefit my firm and the people and organizations I support.”

The program 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 2018 participants comprised the tenth graduating class, and more than 350 CPAs have now graduated from the program.

The 2018 Leadership Academy attendees were recommended by their employers, state CPA societies or both. Candidates submitted resumes and a statement explaining how participating in the Leadership Academy would impact them personally and professionally. They also wrote an essay on the topic, “The future will bring significant changes to the accounting profession. What do leaders have to get right, in order to successfully lead?”

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

“Forty-one CPAs came together to unlearn our unconscious biases of ourselves as leaders,” said Gary Wood, partner at Compere Robinette CPAs and a 2018 Leadership Academy graduate. “The results were transformative, both personally and professionally.”

Details for the 2019 Leadership Academy are available online. The application period is now open.

The full 2018 Leadership Academy class is listed below in alphabetical order:

  • Paul Arab, Home Federal Bank of Tennessee, Knoxville Tennessee
  • Chris Bell, Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc., Little Rock Arkansas
  • Ashley Bryan, Threaded Fasteners, Inc., Mobile Alabama
  • Joseph Caplan, Mazars USA LLP, Edison New Jersey
  • Jenna Christensen, Eide Bailly LLP, Mankato, Minnesota
  • Kenesha Coleman, AbbVie Inc., North Chicago, Illinois
  • Sara deJuliis, Albero, Kupferman & Associates, LLC, Wilmington, Delaware
  • Audra Dixon, Ernst & Young LLP, Denver, Colorado
  • Samantha Doe, Kositzka, Wicks & Company, Alexandria, Virginia
  • Kamal Eko, Aronson, LLC, Rockville, Maryland
  • Josh Elder, Peters & Chandler P.C., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Ben Field, Benjamin H Field CPA, PC, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Verenice Flores, Fair, Anderson and Langerman, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Kyle Graham, Tanner LLC, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Natalie Heacock, Patrick Lumber Co, Portland, Oregon
  • John Hermus, Sheehan & Company CPA PC, Brightwaters, New York
  • Chris Hervochon, eviCore Healthcare, Bluffton, South Carolina
  • Ryan Johns, Altman Rogers & Co, Anchorage, Alaska
  • Deena Keasler, Topp McWhorter Harvey, PLLC, Hattiesburg, Mississippi
  • Alexandrea Keller, Williams & Company, CPA's, Onawa, Iowa
  • Katie Krblich, Charles A. Krblich, P.A., Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Lijah Lokenauth, Tampa General Hospital, Tampa, Florida
  • Danny Manimbo, Schellman & Company, LLC, Broomfield, Colorado
  • Kelly Mann, Seim Johnson, LLP, Omaha, Nebraska
  • Damien Martin, BKD, LLP, Springfield, Missouri
  • Ashley Miller, Plodzik & Sanderson PA, Concord, New Hampshire
  • Maddie Miller, Wipfli, LLP, Bozeman, Montana
  • Bayaan Oluyadi, CohnReznick LLP, Roseland, New Jersey
  • Kenneth Omoruyi, Schlumberger, Houston, Texas
  • Sarah Peltakian, Raimondo Pettit Group, Irvine, California
  • John Perkins, Accuride Corporation, Evansville, Indiana
  • Aaron Peters, Peters & Associates PC, Falls Church, Virginia
  • Leanna Polidoro, Matrix Financial, LLC, Wellesley, Massachusetts
  • Byron Porter, PwC, Houston, Texas
  • Michelle Schumacher, Microsoft, West Fargo, North Dakota
  • Andrew Somich, Rea and Associates, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Garrett Stenhouse, DiSanto, Priest & Company, Warwick, Rhode Island
  • Melanie Urwiller, Lenhart, Mason & Associates, LLC, Casper, Wyoming
  • Lauren Williams, Johnson Lambert LLP, Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Gary Wood, Compere Robinette CPAs, Ozark, Missouri
  • Katie Zahner, Brown Smith Wallace, Creve Coeur, Missouri