The Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance (AFWA) announced the recipients of the 2017 Women Who Count Awards during the annual Women Who Count Awards lunch held October 30, 2017 in Alexandria, Virginia.
This year’s recipients demonstrate a drive to take on challenges and strive for success. They are leaders in their companies and communities. They’ve earned the trust and respect of their clients and peers. And they show enthusiasm toward their career and the accounting and finance industry as a whole.
Emerging Leader: Jennifer Brodmann, MBA, MSFE
PhD Candidate/Dissertation Fellow, The University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA
Jennifer Broadmann is described by one of her students as a passionate scholar who manages to break up the complicated subject of finance into something everyone can understand. She has earned the admiration of her students, who seek her out for career advice, and the respect of her peers who seek her for teaching advice.
Makeen Huda, who nominated Jennifer for this award, states “The fact that so many of us flock to work with Jennifer reflects her integrity. We trust her to put her all into every endeavor. She has proven to be hard-working, reliable, and meticulous in her research.”
Industry Professional: Grace Staten, FSCP
Marketing Director, MassMutual, San Diego, CA
As Marketing Director for two agencies with MassMutual, Grace advises producers on how to position their practices in the marketplace. During her tenure with MassMutual, she used her leadership qualities to increase their field force, volunteerism and diversity.
Grace has dedicated much time throughout her career to community involvement. And her personal volunteer efforts have inspired many others within MassMutual to do the same. In fact, She ensures that the firm is out in full force volunteering and partnering with local nonprofits.
She dedicates her time serving as a mentor to young women professionally and personally. Over the last three years, she has spoken with several women who are first entering the financial services industry through her women’s related industry associations. She is also the coordinator of the internship program for the office heading up thirteen interns who are interested in eventually becoming financial advisors.
Public Practice Professional: Kelly Haden, CPA, CGMA
Manager, Ericksen Krentel, New Orleans, LA
Kelly is very driven and rarely says no to a challenge. She has her eye on becoming the first female partner at Ericksen Krentel. Kelly has developed a coaching relationship with each of her direct reports and serves as a mentor in the firm’s mentoring program to help develop and retain staff. Kelly was instrumental in helping create the framework for the performance management and learning culture committees to support the firm’s Performance and Career Excellence (PACE) program, which enhances staff development and retention.
According to Kevin Neyrey, Managing Partner at Ericksen Krentel, “It is apparent in everything she does at the firm that Kelly is driven to provide clients with great service, assist with firm growth strategies, and remain focused on her own personal growth to advance within the firm.”
Woman of the Year: Dr. Marilyn Willis, CPA, CGMA
Professor Emeritus, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Chattanooga, TN
This award is presented to a woman who has demonstrated extraordinary achievement in her efforts to support other women in career advancement. Dr. Marilyn Willis is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. She earned her doctorate in Business Education: Accounting at the University of Kentucky in 1976. She was one of the only women in her class, and was often challenged by the male professors about whether she deserved to be there even though she turned out to be one of the top students in the class.
She has extensive experience working at CPA Firms, as a consultant for large organizations, and countless committees and boards of directors, however her most important work is demonstrated through 45 years in the classroom teaching generations of accounting students. In her classroom, she demanded excellence and accepted nothing less than the best from her students. She expected her students to act professionally, be on time, and come to class prepared. It is said that Her reputation for being an outstanding teacher draws students like flies to honey. Dr. Willis has empowered many women over her years of teaching. Her former students have gone on to become CEOs of companies, controllers of corporations, Vice-Presidents of Finance, tax attorneys, partners in accounting firms, entrepreneurs, and professors – like her! What is most wonderful about Dr. Willis, however, is that her students will seldom have a more powerful advocate than her.
In addition to the prestigious Women Who Count Awards, AFWA also presented two annual member awards during the luncheon.
AFWA Chattanooga member, Debi Gilley, was honored as National Member of the year. Debi continually exceeds expectations in her volunteer roles for the Chapter. According the Chapter President, Christie Jordan “Debi has helped so many of our chapter members and leaders reach their personal & professional potential through her support, advice and friendship. She is always willing to give her time and expertise when people need her, and is one of our chapter’s greatest assets.”
And finally, AFWA’s top honor the President’s Award, was presented to AFWA Billings member, Cathy Allen. The Award was presented by Immediate Past National President, Linda Harris, CPA. “Cathy is the embodiment of what the President’s Award stands for; her dedication, vision and impact on AFWA, both National and at the Chapter level is amazing. It is my honor to be able to recognize her with this award,” said Harris.
Congratulations to all of this year’s Women Who Count Award recipients. For more information on the annual awards visit the Women Who Count Awards page.