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Generation Next: AICPA Leadership Academy, Class of 2013

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The American Institute of CPAs recently announced the 2013 class of Leadership Academy graduates.

As part of an ongoing effort to inspire, nurture and empower the next generation of CPA leaders, the AICPA established the Leadership Academy in 2009 to provide rising stars in the profession with advanced leadership training and access to well-connected professional networks.

One of the reasons the program has proven to be effective is the environment the AICPA has created and the pre-work completed by participants beforehand, according to Donna Salter, AICPA Senior Manager Young Member Initiatives, who plans and facilitates the Leadership Academy.

“The event is designed as a nontraditional training program, and participants were asked to fully dedicate themselves to an experiential learning environment for four days. The Leadership Academy demanded their complete focus and necessitated that outside distractions were eliminated. In addition, participants engaged in a series of self-reflection exercises, both prior to and during the event. One very successful component of our onboarding process is to pair participants with a fellow attendee. Pre-event conversations help expedite a strongly united team environment. Once on-site, they learned a very powerful team collaboration process and a strategic planning tool which has immediate real-world application when they return to their jobs,” said Salter.

Another factor that sets the Leadership Academy apart from other training programs is the access to some of the most influential leaders in the profession. This year’s class had the opportunity to interact with Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, the Institute’s president and CEO, AICPA Chairman of the Board of Director (2012-13) Richard Caturano, CPA, CGMA,  Janice Maiman, AICPA senior vice president, communications, media, news and professional pathways, and Jeannie Patton vice president, academics, professional pathways and inclusion.

“The opportunity to connect with the current and future leaders of our profession at the Leadership Academy generated an energy that will emanate from the participants as we continue to develop our careers,” said Elizabeth Pittelkow, CPA, CGMA, CITP, senior accounting manager at ArrowStream and a 2013 AICPA Leadership Academy graduate.

In addition, specific skill building sessions develop attendees’ leadership techniques and help them understand how to best represent themselves, ensuring they are positioned for success.

“The Leadership Academy helped me realize what my strengths are as a leader and taught me how to use them in a more purposeful manner. The time management skills I acquired help make the eight hours I put into my job each day more valuable.” said Joe Navarro, Business Manager – City of Bakersfield Recreation and Parks and a 2013 Leadership Academy Graduate.

Beyond developing leadership techniques and strategies, the program places an emphasis on communication and the value of personal branding.

“At the Leadership Academy, we worked with these young CPAs to help them understand, develop and communicate their personal brands. It’s a critical process in the leadership journey, one that will give them a firmer foundation for the future and guide them as they approach both challenges and opportunity, said Jonathan B. Cox, AICPA Senior Manager – Media Relations, who facilitated a session on personal branding at the event.

Navarro saw immediate value in the exercise. “The personal branding statement I drafted has made me more transparent and accountable to the greatest stakeholder in my life – myself,” he added.  

This year’s 37 graduates join a Leadership Academy alumni network of 160 talented CPAs with diverse backgrounds from all across the United States, many of whom will bond over their shared experience as they continue to take on leadership roles in the profession.

 “The Leadership Academy has been successful because it builds on the foundational knowledge, experience, and perspective of each individual. Participants have a uniquely different experience with one common thread – everyone walks away personally and professionally transformed,” Salter concluded.

Read the full list of the 2013 Leadership Academy class online.

, Media Relations Manager, American Institute of CPAs.

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