insight magazine

IN Play | Fall 2016

Person of Interest: Elizabeth Pittelkow

My Q&A with ArrowStream Inc.'s director of Accounting & Compliance.
Sarah Herrmann ICPAS Assistant Director, Member Outreach


Elizabeth is an expert in ethics, this year's recipient of the Young Professional Leadership Award, a member of the ICPAS Board of Directors, and INSIGHT's newest columnist. Here are her insights into what it takes to build a brilliant career in accounting.

Q: What was square one for you in terms of launching your career?

A: ”I have a recommendation that anyone can do right now to launch or relaunch their career. It is to have grit. There is an excellent TED Talk by Angela Lee Duckworth titled Grit: The power of passion and perseverance. I recommend people watch it and incorporate it into their daily lives.”

Q: What was your most exciting career moment?

A: ”Passing the CPA exam! Studying for the exam taught me discipline and focus; passing the CPA exam gave me confidence and energy to pursue my career. Another more recent exciting moment was lobbying in Washington, D.C. with Illinois CPA Society members of the AICPA Council. I feel strongly about advocating for the profession and making a difference for others.”

Q: Who is your role model and why?

A: ”My dad has always been and continues to be my role model. He has taught me the importance of working hard, being honest, mentoring others and caring about people. He gave up his job and his daily activities to take care of my mom when she needed him most. Seeing my dad prioritize my mom above himself has taught me what love should look like.”

Q: What energizes you most about the future?

A: ”Being able to help shape it. You can lead from wherever you are in life, and as Mahatma Gandhi said, you should “be the change that you wish to see in the world.” I want to contribute to the future of the profession in ways that inspire others to love the profession and want to contribute to it, too.”

Q: If you could recommend just one book for an up-and-coming finance pro, what would it be?

A: “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen Covey. The habits are insightful and can be implemented by professionals at all levels of their careers. I teach from this book and talk about it with others often.”

Q: What’s the most rewarding aspect of being an involved member of the Illinois CPA Society?

A: “The Society gives me opportunities to serve where I feel the most purpose, which includes upholding our profession’s ethical standards, increasing diversity and promoting financial literacy. The CPA Day of Service is one of my favorite days of the year because I am able to use my professional skills to improve the lives of others.”

Check out Elizabeth's column, Ethics Engaged.

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