Plante Moran women find career advancement opportunities through strategic community service
Southfield, MI – Plante Moran, PLLC, the nation’s 12th largest public accounting and business advisory firm, has been included on the 2012 List of Best Public Accounting Firms for Women released today by the American Society of Women Accountants (ASWA) and the American Women’s Society of Certified Public Accountants (AWSCPA).
Ten winners were drawn from 29 participating firms in the 2012 Accounting MOVE project, an ASWA and AWSCPA initiative that helps the public accounting profession measure the status of women and collaborate on practices that advance and retain women.
Plante Moran was lauded for its efforts to keep women in the pipeline to partnership, concentrating resources on the three years preceding partnership to decrease barriers in the final stretch. The firm was also selected for its approach to community service and philanthropy, which is shown in studies to provide an effective means for women to build business relationships.
“We are pleased to be included in this year’s list of the best public accounting firms for women,” said Gordon Krater, managing partner for Plante Moran. “We have had policies and practices in place for more than 25 years that help develop women’s long-term careers with the firm, but we need to be open to fresh approaches. With strategic community service becoming a greater focus in recent years, many women staff are making unique contributions to the community while fine-tuning skills that further career opportunities to partnership and other leadership roles.”
The 2012 Accounting MOVE Project report, Building Careers and Communities: How Strategic Community Service Advances Women in Public Accounting, addresses women’s attraction to community service and documents how firms like Plante Moran leverage community service investments to build communities and achieve firm goals. For example, Plante Moran supports professional-track volunteering, with even entry level women (and men) mentored into community service with the expectation of making long-term professional and personal commitments to community endeavors. Such progressive actions were noted by Joanne Cleaver, president of Wilson-Taylor Associates, Inc., the firm that manages the Accounting MOVE Project.
"Plante Moran extended its lead on most public accounting firms by looking for philanthropic opportunities that offer professional development, too. The Accounting MOVE Project expects innovation from Plante Moran, and once again, the firm's thoughtful approach to advancing women exceeded even our expectations," Cleaver says.
Plante Moran is prominently featured in the 2012 MOVE report, with profiles of three Plante Moran women partners who deepen community ties, strengthen their presentation and networking skills and establish business relationships through community service.
Tina Ferland, a partner in the firm’s East Lansing office, volunteers as a trustee at the Capital Region Community Foundation. As the committee shapes the foundation’s charitable priorities, Ferland advocates for a spectrum of organizations to provide opportunities for charitable support. She has translated her creative aptitude to a career that supports her philosophy of client service and her desire to be embedded in the fabric of the Lansing area community.
Health care partner Betsy Rust paved her own career path with strategic community service, she notes in the report.
"I built my career around involvement in trade associations that advance senior care and senior living,” she says. “For me, there's a natural intersection with how I feel about the organizations I work with professionally."
Plante Moran partner Kelly Springer, of the firm’s Grand Rapids office, used key volunteering assignments to complement the skills she gained at every level of her career. She started with a small nonprofit board that was seeking younger participants "for generational diversity."
Instead of offering her accounting skills, Springer took on several operational roles. She also found that working with the local chapters of Easter Seals and Jaycees honed her ability to introduce herself and her qualifications with confidence. "It was a nonthreatening place to tell my Plante Moran story, who I am and what I do. I didn't have to compete with the partners at a bank mixer," Springer says. She has also been active with InForum, Michigan’s influential women's business network, and has taken a lead in strengthening the organization’s West Michigan presence, amplifying her impact and influence in the broader business community in the process. Separately, Crain’s Chicago Business named the Chicago office of Plante Moran to its top ten list of best workplaces for women.
About the 2012 Accounting MOVE Project
The Best Firms were among the 29 that participated in the 2012 Accounting MOVE Project. Through the project and its sponsoring associations, the American Society of Women Accountants and the American Woman’s Society of Certified Public Accountants, the profession can consistently measure the status of women and collaborate on proven and promising practices that advance and retain women. Read the 2012 MOVE project report, here.
About Plante Moran, PLLC
Plante Moran is among the nation’s largest certified public accounting and business advisory firms, providing clients with tax, audit, risk management, financial, technology, business consulting, and wealth management services. Plante Moran has a staff of more than 1,600 professionals in 21 offices throughout Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois with international offices in Shanghai, China; Monterrey, Mexico; and Mumbai, India. Plante Moran has been recognized by a number of organizations, including FORTUNE magazine, as one of the country’s best places to work.