International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day is a global event celebrating the achievements of women. The theme for 2021 is Choose to Challenge. Through challenge comes change.
Sarah Spoja, CFO at Tipalti, believes that “it is important to continue empowering women to achieve their professional goals,” and said that an important initiative at Tipalti is “the Women at Tipalti group that we use to help build meaningful connections and foster professional development.”
We are choosing to challenge and celebrate gender diversity in the finance field by recognizing and honoring these female financial leaders as well as every female in finance.
Company: T3 Micro
Title: VP of Finance and Admin
Amanda Afeiche is the VP of Finance and Admin at T3 Micro, part tech start-up, part beauty venture helping people love their look by developing hair tools that deliver consistent results. Amanda is an experienced Vice President of Finance with a demonstrated history of working in the consumer goods industry. She is a strong finance professional with a B. Management focused in Accounting from The University of Lethbridge.
Women are resilient, resourceful and can tackle new challenges. Learning is part of growth – and accomplishment – and what may come with initial discomfort will often lead to most meaningful personal and professional development.
Company: Attune Insurance
Catherine Lally is a senior executive and business partner with a successful track record of driving efficient and effective financial operations. Known for critical analytical thinking and analysis that delivers on an organization’s strategic vision, multidisciplinary team approach resulting in operational improvements. A strategic thinker and strong executor, successfully balancing analysis with practical and business acumen to foster efficient and effective decision making. Ability to work with all levels to build and empower high-caliber teams based on trust and transparent communication, and collaboration, locally and globally.
Women in the financial industry are collaborative, inclusive and draw on an emotional intelligence that fosters a holistic approach to financial analysis. My personal belief is to never compromise your integrity, lose sight of who you are and what you represent.
Courtney Santry, CPA is Controller at Sensei, an ecosystem of sustainable farms and modern wellbeing retreats supporting its mission to help people live richer, longer lives. Founded by Larry Ellison and Dr. David Agus, Sensei develops products and experiences that inspire you to grow well. Courtney is also co-founder of Signal Financial, a finance and accounting consulting service for start-ups.
The success of a business is rooted in the cohesiveness and stability of the team. Ensuring that the team is diverse in gender, race, ethnicity, and perspective creates an environment for collaboration, dialogue, and expansive thinking. This is how we grow!
Working at Sensei, where we foster differing opinions while supporting one another as we build towards the Company’s vision, has been a rewarding and challenging experience.
Title: Accounting Manager
Gabrielle’s career began as an industry accountant focusing on month-end close, but with her sights set on making a greater impact, she quickly rose to her current role as an Accounting Manager at Toast, Inc. where she specializes in driving process improvements, identifying efficiencies, and enhancing stakeholder relationships with accounting.
Early in my career, I realized that Accounting (and Finance) teams are often viewed as wardens rather than business partners, and I challenged myself to change this perception. At every possibility, I question ” how can we improve so stakeholders at Toast (and beyond) view Accounting as a resource, rather than a hurdle?”, and I use that mentality to drive changes within myself, my team, and the industry.
Title: VP Cloud & Security Services
Jo Peterson is the Vice President of Cloud and Security Services for Clarify360. Her engineering team focuses on cloud optimization, cloud security and security as a service offerings.
An Engineer by trade, Jo is a 2016-2020 CRN Women of the Channel Recipient. She is a member of the Forbes Technology Council. Jo is followed by an audience of over 60,000 on Twitter. In 2021, Thinkers360 listed Jo as one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders and Influencers to follow on social media and Onalytica listed her as one of the Top 100 Cloud Influencers. She is currently in process on her CCSP and CISSP. Jo is an Air Force vet and the founding Co-Chair of Cloud Girls.
Disrupting a bias begins with change. Being paid well helps to create change. Women in the U.S. who work full time, are paid 82 cents to every dollar paid to men. As an advocate for women in tech, I’m here to tell you that its okay to be paid well. It’s okay to find a role that you find stimulating, offers you advancement opportunities, provides a great environment and culture and also one that rewards you well financially. It’s okay to tell our daughters and our nieces and the young women we mentor that its okay to be paid well too. Tech pays well.
According to payscale.com, the average tech worker in the US earns $112,000 annually. Compare that to the average annual salary in the US which is $66,778.
Your worth is not determined by your salary, but there is a tiny ripple in the wage gap every time a woman earns more than the average wage. Eventually, the gap begins to close. You begin to disrupt biases by equalizing the pay scale. You begin to create change.
Tech is not a perfect industry. There are challenges, just like in every industry. But tech pays well. That is disruptive. That is a start.
Title: Corporate Controller
Julia Farquharson, CPA is Corporate Controller at TuneIn, one of the most widely used streaming audio platforms in the world with 75 million monthly active users. TuneIn broadcasts over 100,000 owned & operated and partner radio stations globally and more than 5.7 million podcasts, and is available for free across 200 platforms and connected devices. Prior to TuneIn, Julia led accounting functions at PWC and Deloitte.
Particularly in a technology company, many financial decisions are intrinsically human decisions – both my biggest challenge and greatest source of pride comes from getting to the answers that can’t be seen just by looking at the numbers. Leading with empathy has been a key differentiator for me throughout my career.
Company: 1st Step Accounting
Making Accounting a Little Less Taxing ® for small business owners is Nayo Carter-Gray’s goal as owner and founder of 1st Step Accounting LLC. Mrs. Carter-Gray is an Enrolled Agent, a QuickBooks Online Advanced Certified Pro-Advisor, was named one of Hubdoc’s 2017 and 2018 Top 50 Cloud Accountants in North America, was handpicked to sit on the 2018-2019 Intuit Accountant Council, was recently named one of Forbes Top 100 Tax Twitter accounts to follow and one of the Top 50 Women in Accounting by Practice Ignition.
Disrupting the biases of finance means showing up to be a voice of education and change in this industry. Far too long have conference speakers and teachers not looked anything like me or our diverse society. So I feel the need to help lead that change.
Title: Staff Accountant
Shawna Stewart is the Staff Accountant at Brooklinen, a startup company that has exploded in popularity for its super soft sheets that don’t break the bank. Brooklinen (ranked #7 on LinkedIn Top Startups) provides luxury bed sheets, pillows, comforters, & blankets delivered straight to your door. By cutting out the middleman, Brooklinen bypasses costs like wholesaling, storefronts and designer licensing fees, and passes these savings along to its customers. In 2020 Brooklinen raised $50M to expand beyond sleep and bedding, to offer a range of goods around comfort at home. Prior to Brooklinen, Shawna was a tax accountant with Ernst & Young. Shawna holds a Master’s degree from Michigan State University.
As an African American woman in the accounting industry, there are constant feelings of not belonging, feeling misunderstood, inept, given chances “just because you’re black,” and being an “imposter” in the industry. Working within finance and accounting has been challenging, but so much more rewarding in knowing I am representing as a double minority, being supported by organizations to keep going, and can be part of conversations that will pave the way for more black girls to work in this industry. I enjoy challenging stigmas and biases set up against me as a woman, breaking them down, and building up other women and BIPOC in the process.
Company: Camp Gladiator
Stephanie joined Camp Gladiator, as Controller in 2019. She was pleased to join a company with an incredible mission to positively impact lives and who has been named Inc. 5000’s fastest growing companies in America. Prior to CG, she has held CFO, Controller, Director and Treasurer roles across diverse business sectors including healthcare, construction, family services, and financial services ranging from $10M-$200M. She has worked on teams that are 100% women and has had the pleasure of working with and learning from some of the smartest and most dedicated women around!
Disrupting bias in finance, or any industry, means to be a part of the progress by first challenging yourself. Be curious, be open minded, be assertive and commit everyday to being the best teammate and business partner. I challenge bias by stepping up, showing up and leading well. Meaningful impact and authenticity chip away at blind spots that exist which in turn allow and promote meaningful change.
Company: United Language Group
Toni Tornell is the Controller at United Language Group (ULG), one of the world’s largest and most innovative translation and interpreting providers, where she is responsible for leading ULG’s accounting team and the oversight of financial operations. The company provides unique technology solutions and high-quality translation and interpretation services to more than 3,000 global organizations in a variety of industries. Toni is an accomplished finance leader with prior experience in corporate finance roles at WPT Industrial REIT and Webdigs. Toni holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Business in Finance from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota and a Master’s Degree in Accountancy from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.
We, as women, need to continue to challenge ourselves. Don’t be afraid of being the only woman in the room or to make your point or raise your hand. Continue to be bold and be curious. Take risks. Trust yourself. We will be challenged, and we will make mistakes, but overcoming those challenges and learning from our mistakes leads to growth and opportunity.