insight magazine

IN Play | Spring 2016

Ms. Mary T. & a New Generation of CPAs

I can’t think of a better way to start the year than by jumping right into an active three-day program for accounting students.
Sarah Herrmann ICPAS Assistant Director, Member Outreach

On Monday, January 4, 25 minority accounting students convened in Chicago for the Illinois CPA Society and CPA Endowment Fund of Illinois’ fourth annual Mary T. Washington Wylie Internship Preparation Program (MTWW).

Mary T. Washington Wylie was the first female African-American CPA in the United States. This program honors Ms. Washington by preparing diverse accounting students for the CPA profession through practical training, resources and mentoring. Students learn about topics not typically covered in the classroom, such as business etiquette, leadership skills and personal branding.  (Humble brag: Last year, this program was awarded a 2015 Power of A Gold Award from the American Society of Association Executives.)

For the first time since the program’s inception, three former MTWW scholars served on the young professional panel. It was a very proud moment for me to watch them all shine as they shared their experiences passing the CPA Exam and excelling in their respective internship and full-time positions. It was great to have them share helpful insights from the perspective of someone who has been through the program.

Hype-It Montage

ABOVE LEFT: AICPA Vice Chair Kimberly Ellison-Taylor chats with ICPAS President & CEO Todd Shapiro and guest. ABOVE RIGHT: That's me having a blast with MTWW participant Valencia Pringle.


We were also very fortunate to have AICPA Vice Chair Kimberly Ellison-Taylor deliver an inspiring keynote about her career path and diversity in the accounting profession. Ellison-Taylor is the type of speaker who makes you want to immediately jump into action. She left the students feeling inspired and excited about a career in accounting.

On the third day, students put all that they had learned to the test taking part in interviews with partnering accounting firms. It’s a fun and busy day, during which I spend most of my time helping students expend all their nervous energies. Luckily, it seems to be working; we’ve placed over 75 of the 100 students who have participated in the program over the past four years. I can’t wait to learn where all of our 2016 students land. Watching them succeed is without a doubt one of the most rewarding aspects of my job.

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