The Virginia Society of CPAs had been looking for the best ways to engage young professionals in the state for several years. They wanted to be able to offer their 35 and under members something of value, and hoped that, in turn, the experience would encourage more engagement in the future on the part of the participants.
The Virginia Society and many of their members had been talking about the value of a “pipeline,” or a steady source of younger people coming into the profession with clear goals to move forward, people building their skills now with the intent of advancing into leadership roles in the future. The Society was hearing from its members the importance of supporting future leaders in the present. They booked the Business Learning Institute’s Leadership Academy to that end.
As reported by the VSCPA, the energy during the Leadership Academy event was palpable. Participants were excited to be there and eager to learn from Tom Hood and Gretchen Pisano. The session lasted two and a half long days. Presenters and attendees were tired by the end of each day, but the excitement for the material didn’t fade. Participants were talking during every break time, forging connections with one another and making plans to put into practice what they’d just learned.
A strength assessment exercise was especially powerful for many of the young Virginian CPAs in attendance, several of whom expressed having never approached the subject from a positive perspective in the past.
Molly Wash, the Academic and Career Development Director at the Virginia Society, says that the best thing to come out of the session was participants’ increased engagement. “With the material, with each other, and with the Virginia Society. We’ve heard from management at firms who sent their people that the experience was great for their members, and that they plan on sending more people this year,” she says.
After that first event, the Virginia Society of CPAs has decided to make BLI’s Leadership Academy an annual event for the foreseeable future.
“We’d been talking about doing it for years, and now that it’s off the ground and we’ve seen how beneficial the results are for our members, young professionals, and the society we don’t see it ending anytime soon.”
Molly Wash, Academic and Career Development Director