Topel Forman News

Stories From Women In Accounting

For International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month our Women’s Employee Resource Group and our DEI Committee hosted a panel featuring six of our professionals from tax, audit, and operations. They had an inspiring and insightful conversation about their unique experiences navigating motherhood, external and self-made expectations, and being able to maintain a balanced life. Here are some highlights from our discussion:

How Have You Set Boundaries From Your Work Life and Your Personal Life?

“Nobody can set your boundaries for you and if you don’t do it, you won’t be happy. There can be a lot of external voices that tell us what we should want for ourselves. So I think the best thing we can all do is look inside and ask ourselves “What do I actually want, and what works for me?” The boundaries work on both sides which means sometimes I have to get somebody to take my kids to their swim meet because I can’t, but it is much nicer now that I can log off, have dinner with my family and log back on, with so many of us working remotely.”

“It can be really easy to say that I am going to set boundaries, but when there are external voices it’s hard to cut them out. I had to learn over time, and working in a new culture that I can set my own boundaries. I learned that it was very difficult to meet people’s expectations while keeping family, my child and my self care all in-line. It’s a work in progress and I am constantly asking myself where my line is and what I need to keep the balance.”

What experiences do you have regarding supporting each other in the workplace?

“Regarding doing things that make me feel uncomfortable, and working with a large group, and different personalities, I am not always the loudest, so it’s been important for me to have people that back me up, and tell me to go for it. That’s come from men and women. I’ve been fortunate in my career to have that community, where people ask me what I think and then say ‘let’s do it.'”

“I have had the opportunity to work with a lot of successful women and they have showed me how to move up in a career, how to ask for what you want, and how to work for it.”

“Do things that make you nervous. I’ve been lucky to work with people, men and women, who have encouraged me to go for it.”

“When I started to grow my career, I was able to learn how to advocate for myself. My experiences working at other places empowered me to speak up for myself and advocate for what I needed to be successful.”

“I remember when I was earlier in my career, there was more competition and trying to get noticed to be able to move up the ladder but now my team is more friendly and collaborative which feels nicer in some ways. I don’t feel like I’m competing with my coworkers to get promoted.”

How have different generations in the workplace been an influence on you?

“Before I had my family, I worked and worked and worked to succeed in public accounting. I put on a lot of self-pressure and then I had to re-evaluate my level of work and my ability to take care of my family. Once I asked for a reduced schedule, I was told by an older partner, that it would take me longer to advance. Seeing that as a challenge, I said, ‘We’ll see about that.’ The older school of thought that came from this partner taught me a lot and let me show him that someone could work in public accounting and still accomplish their goals at home.”

“Each generation teaches other generations things. Younger generations are helping us realize that we can relax a little and they might have a better sense of work-life balance. The older generations can teach younger ones about patience.”

“If I see further it’s because I stood on the shoulders of giants, and some of that is what not to do. We learn from each generation to become a little better each time.”

© 2024

 

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