Profession’s future shines at Student Leadership Academy

Wow. Just wow.

That pretty much sums up my feelings coming out of the our inaugural Student Leadership Academy. I had the privilege of spending two full days with 26 amazing accounting students from 12 colleges and universities across the region.

On Thursday, June 25 we learned from Courtney Kirschbaum about the “Success Factor” — the mindset, techniques, and tools for exceptional levels of success. In recapping the session, the students pointed to the following learnings:

  • The ability and confidence to face challenges.

  • The power of our own minds.

  • The process of creating and reaching breakthrough goals.

  • E + R = O: You can’t control the E (event) but you can control the R (your response) and therefore impact the outcome.

  • Each “no” you hear is just one step closer to hearing a “yes.” Don’t be afraid to ask.

Then it was time for some fun and networking. We were joined by some great CPAs — MACPA Board member Kelly Jennings, MACPA Chair Marinela Del Pino Rivera, past MACPA Chair Anoop Mehta, Laura Swann, Thao Khuu, Steve Oppitz, Sonny Cox, and John Pelicano of Yaeger CPA Review. Following dinner, we played cornhole, pool, ping pong, and networking Bingo. The two winners of networking Bingo received full CPA review course scholarships, courtesy of MDS CPA Review and Wiley CPAexcel.  

Friday, June 26 was a busy day. We started with Tom Hood welcoming the students to the profession and getting their thoughts on what they want from an employer and their association. Then we went straight into what all students want to know: how to pass the CPA exam. We were blessed to have Sonny Cox from Yaeger CPA Review and Karina Khadaran from Roger CPA Review, who not only served on our CPA exam panel but graciously donated scholarships to three lucky students. Some of our own young professional members — Debbie Hale (who joined via MACPA’s robot!), Rachel Bauder, and 2015 Elijah Watt Sells Award winner Kristin Fleet — also served on the panel to answer the students’ questions.

After a break for lunch, we were back at it again. This time a new panel discussed the different career paths available to CPAs. The students asked a lot of questions from young professional members Kuo Lee, Katy Koza, Kristin Krawchuk, Tim Samuel, and Barrett Young. Finally, we wrapped up the day with Part 1 of “Using Your Strengths and Values” with the MACPA’s Certified Coactive Coach and facilitator extraordinaire, Amy Stumme. 

Friday night featured more fun and networking at the Orioles game. We were joined at the ballpark by MACPA board members Kelly Jennings and Amy Myers, as well as Dr. Jan Williams, Maria Uy, and young professional members Kuo Lee, Tiana Wynn, and Keith Parker.

On Saturday morning, June 27, the students were tired but quickly energized as we finished up Part 2 of “Using Your Strengths and Values.” As we closed our inaugural Student Leadership Academy, their evaluations scored the event a 4.6 out of 5 and a net promoter score (how likely are you to recommend this program) of 9.6 out of 10.

I want to share one story in particular of a student who entered the Academy discouraged and thinking that they would not pursue the CPA. Throughout the program, we saw this student’s mind changed. Thanks to Gleim, we were able to offer that student a full scholarship to a CPA review course!

Here is just some of the feedback we heard from students:

  • “This helped me verify that this is a profession I am confident I can succeed and be happy in.” — Ryan Ruiz, Frostburg University 
  • “This academy sparked motivation in me. I also learned how to keep pushing. These skills will give me success at my next job interview.” — Chris Obiamiwe, Mount St. Mary’s University 
  • “Great academy! I learned a lot and feel more prepared for my accounting career.” — Randi Reed, Salisbury University
  • “Now that I know my strengths, I can use them to add value within an organization.” — Emmanuel Crawley Jr., Bowie State University 
  • “I learned to better define my strengths / values. This allows me to bolster my existing strengths to make me a more effective professional.” — Doug Falatko, University of Maryland
  • “College will help me get in the door for my career, but I felt that this program has helped me go further and that is extremely important because I don’t want to stay the same, I want to grow.” — Angel Nelson, Stevenson University
  • “MACPA is an amazing organization, but you have managed to bring them to another level. I know it must have been a lot of hard work, but it was one of the best experiences of my college career.” — Laurie Ziegler, University of Baltimore

Their one- or two-word descriptions of the workshop:

We talk a lot about the future of the profession, dealing with uncertainty, and the “shift change” at MACPA, and I am happy to report that you don’t have to fear. With students like these leading the way, the future of the profession is in great hands.

A huge thank-you to our sponsors who donated time, money and full scholarships for CPA review courses: 

And to our CPA volunteers:

  • Amy Myers, University of Maryland Medical System
  • Anoop Mehta, Science Systems and Applications
  • Barrett Young, The Green Abacus
  • Debbie Hale, Weil, Akman, Baylin & Coleman 
  • Dr. Jan Williams, University of Baltimore
  • Katy Koza, Grant Thornton
  • Keith Parker, Morgan Stanley
  • Kelly Jennings, Quincy CFO
  • Kristen Fleet, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
  • Kristin Krawchuk, Johnson Lambert & Company
  • Kuo Lee, CrossCountry Consulting
  • Maria Uy, Under Armour
  • Marianela del Pino Rivera, CPA
  • Rachel Bauder, American Urological Association
  • Steve Oppitz, University of Maryland Medical System
  • Thao Khuu, CohnReznick
  • Tiana Wynn, SB & Company
  • Tim Samuel, Bridgeway Community Church 

We could not have done this without you! 

Check out more photos from the event on the MACPA’s Tomorrow’s CPA Facebook Page.


Rebekah Olson