MACPA Honors Four Leaders as 2015 ‘Women to Watch’; Plus One Man ‘Who Gets It’

Four outstanding business leaders have been honored by the Maryland Association of CPAs as Maryland’s “Women to Watch” for 2015.

Launched in 2014, the AICPA awards highlight the accomplishments and contributions of women in the CPA profession and demonstrate to emerging female leaders that success is not out of reach. The “Women to Watch” awards are sponsored by the MACPA’s Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Task Force in an effort to create important conversations about the issues and resources we can bring to member firms and companies.

Two women were honored in each of two “Women to Watch” categories:

Emerging Leaders

This year’s winners were:

Michelle Chopper, who manages the Consulting and Advisory Group at Arthur Bell in Hunt Valley, Md. Chopper joined the firm in 2002 and assists asset manager clients with critical business needs, including operational infrastructure, risk management, succession planning, financial reporting, and forecasting. She promotes an enriching work environment of teamwork, diversity, mentoring and employee training.

Jennifer Milas, a senior tax manager with McLean, Koehler, Sparks and Hammond in Frederick, Md. Milas has 10 years of experience in accounting with extensive involvement in tax planning, strategy, and compliance for closely held, mid-size businesses and their owners. She continually gives back to the community and the accounting profession and employee training.

Other nominees in the Emerging Leader category were Jennifer Amato, director at SC&H Group; Jodi Blair, member with Smith Elliott Kearns & Company; Donna Defino, president and CEO of Hebron Savings Bank; Sharon Gubinsky, principal with Santos, Postal and Company; Kayla Kania, senior manager with Aronson; Elizabeth Long, manager at Hertzbach and Company; Edie Manney, director of finance with the Community Action Council; Tysheba Morgan, senior manager in accounting for Exelon Corporation; Rachel Ndungu, director of financial reporting at Fannie Mae; Teri Overington, manager at CBIZ MHM; Joye Sistrunk, principal and founder of Premier Group Services; Amanda Wilhelm, manager with SC&H Group; and Nicole Yost, principal at WABC.

Experienced Leaders

This year’s winners were:

Jennifer Elder, a keynote speaker, trainer, and business coach who has conducted seminars for the Fortune 500, the United States government, state CPA societies, and CPA firms in 35 states. She also has moderated many AICPA panel presentations. Jennifer is the author of two books.

Jan Williams, an associate professor and director of the accounting honors program at the University of Baltimore. She holds the Yale Gordon Chair for Distinguished Teaching, and her passion for empowering students to reach their potential has led to numerous awards. She has published articles in Accounting and Finance and The CPA Journal.

Other nominees in the Experienced Leader category were Christine Aspell, partner in the audit practice at KPMG; Leara Dory, vice president of compliance and shared services for EGS; Chimere DeVane, manager in the Financial Services practice of PwC; Tricia Griffis, director of the Internal Audit Division for Frederick County Government; Andrea Hartman, senior manager with Hertzbach; Betsy Johnson, a partner in the Baltimore office of PricewaterhouseCoopers; Sylvia Lagerquist, president of Haines & Lagerquist CPAs; Marilyn Schneider, director with Hertzbach & Company; and Karen Syrylo, director at Altus Group.

Men Who Get It

For the first time, this year’s MACPA Women to Watch Awards included a category to recognize “Men Who Get It.” The category honors a local businessman who mentors and sponsors women via career development and champions the cause for diversity.

The winner of the inaugural “Men Who Get It” award is Brian Israel, a business development executive with Dixon Hughes Goodman.

Other nominees in the “Men Who Get It” category were Mark Cissell, president and CEO of KatzAbosch; Edward Karl, vice president, taxation of the American Institute of CPAs; Dalton Tong, faculty member of the Carey Business School of the Johns Hopkins University; and Steve Wolf, a partner with BGR CPAs.