Leadership / Management

Samantha Bowling: Turning struggles into strengths

Note: The following is part of the MACPA’s “Share Your Story” series that showcases members. Learn more about the series and why we are doing it here:


If you have read the last two posts in our “Share Your Story” series, you might have noticed a theme − one that is carried here as well. Just like Tim Samuel and Lisa Cines, Samantha Bowling was inspired to pursue accounting as a career by a class in high school.

Samantha’s bookkeeping teacher first introduced to her accounting and the various career opportunities the CPA credential provided. From there, Sam decided she wanted to be a CPA and, eventually, a partner in a firm because it combined her love of accounting and her desire to serve the public by helping businesses thrive.

Samantha achieved that partner dream relatively early in her career, but it wasn’t easy.

Samantha battled against the CPA exam. After failing the first time, it took her two years and some nudging from her husband to even consider taking the exam again.

The next time, though, she was ready.

The magna cum laude Salisbury graduate had learned that the CPA exam was a different beast than the exams she took in school. She took a review course, bought some ear plugs, and battled through victoriously.

Samantha also battled against discrimination and even sexual harassment. But her palpable passion for the profession, exceptionally dedicated colleagues, faith in God and support from her husband, Dave, carried her through. She became the first female partner in a firm that had existed for 60 years.

Sam thinks those experiences, although hard, made her stronger and even more valuable as a CPA. She now uses those experiences to be an advocate for diversity and inclusion. She serves not only on the MACPA’s Board of Directors but also as chair of the MACPA’s Task Force on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

Throughout her career, the two biggest lessons Samantha has learned are to focus on the strengths of others to fill your shortcomings and to let your faith guide your difficult decisions.

“There will always be people who tell you you don't belong, you can't do something or that you don't fit in,” she said. “But it doesn't matter what they think. Believe in yourself, work hard and surround yourself with those who will support you.”

We are proud to have a warrior like Samantha Bowling as a member, volunteer and friend. But we wonder what would have happened without that bookkeeping class or the other high schools classes our previous stories have mentioned.

Educating and preparing a diverse workforce
The MACPA’s student initiatives have historically revolved around college students, but that is about to change.

The MACPA is proud to announce it is joining and supporting a joint effort between the AICPA and the National Academy Foundation’s Academy of Finance to educate and prepare a diverse workforce for the accounting profession. The AICPA / NAF Recognition Program combines a variety of learning platforms and experiences designed to engage NAF Academy of Finance high school students who are concentrating on accounting. The goal is to reach them early in their career decision-making process. You can read more about the AICPA / NAF Recognition Program here.

To get involved, contact me at rebekah@macpa.org.


Rebekah Olson