Advice from Trailblazers and Rising Stars: Since 1986 More Than 50% of Accounting Graduates Have Been Women vs. Just 10% in 1970, Much of This Impressive Progress Is Due to Noteworthy Women and Their Contributions to Their Employers and to the Profession

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Be True to Personal Values

Shirley Cheramy was the first female managing partner of a "Big Eight" firm. "The partner who appointed me was totally unaware no other woman had ever held a similar position. He said he chose me for the 'right reasons' and not because I was a woman." A 1970 University of Washington graduate, she joined Price Waterhouse, Seattle, and in 1990 became the first woman to be a managing partner of the Century City, Los Angeles, office. In 1994 at age 46, Cheramy retired to Wyoming and is currently active in nonprofit organizations.

Speak Out, Move Up

Lissa Perez is a Deloitte & Touche partner and Tennessee practice leader for the enterprise risk services group. The 1991 Miami University graduate successfully handled international assignments, spousal job relocation and three children by a willingness to be adaptable, using flexible work arrangements and having self-confidence. Perez says women in general are not good about "tooting their own horn"

and tend to focus on the project at hand, believing that if they are successful in completing it, their work will speak for itself.

"Can-Do" Attitude Works

Julie Floch of Eisner LLP in New York became an audit partner in 1998. An avid fitness, music and

dance enthusiast, she cites helping to start Eisner's not-for-profit practice as her greatest professional accomplishment. It enabled her to combine her arts background and love of the not-for-profit sector with her "day job" of accounting. Floch also is proud to be an adjunct lecturer for New School University and Baruch College's MBA program. Married with two teenage stepsons, she is aware that her full life naturally involves trade-offs.

Emulate the Best

Wanda Wallace, CPA, PhD, CMA, CIA, professor emeritus at the College of William & Mary, began her career in public accounting with a BBA at just 18 years of age. After completing a PhD at the University of Florida in 1978, she received numerous honors including being named "the most published accounting academic" as author of more than 40 books and 200 articles. Wallace has served the profession extensively through the FASAC, AICPA, AAA and Government Auditing Standards Advisory Council.

Surpass the Status Quo

Professor Karla Johnstone recently achieved tenure at the University of Wisconsin. Married for 14 years with three young children, she is proud of maintaining strong relationships with colleagues and family. She says her mother was key to her professional and personal success. "My mother was a working room who showed me how to embrace and manage a full professional and personal life. She gave me the confidence to know that a woman can be many things, and that being multidimensional is not only possible, but fun, interesting and satisfying."

Confidence Propels

Judge Judy Trepeck of the Michigan Tax Tribunal entered public accounting in 1971 and built a consulting practice around law firm management, family-owned businesses and boards of directors. She has served the AICPA and the Michigan Association of CPAs, speaks internationally, has received multiple honors and is the mother of two adult daughters. Central to her success was an early acknowledgement that accounting was about making information useful to clients.

Listen and Respond

Gloria Lamb Jarmon, managing director for congressional relations at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, is the Comptroller General's chief liaison with Congress. …