Winners of the GWSCPA 2015 Women to Watch Awards Announced

Winners of the GWSCPA 2015 Women to Watch Awards Announced

Washington, DC—The Greater Washington Society of CPAs (GWSCPA) has announced the winners of the 2015 Women to Watch Awards, which were presented at the Society’s Women to Watch Awards Luncheon on October 13, 2015 at The Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC. 

A list of the 2015 award winners follows:

CPA Experienced Leaders

CPA Experienced Leaders are women CPAs who have made notable contributions to the accounting profession, their organizations, and the development of women as leaders.

Debbie Johnson, American Diabetes Association
As CFO of the American Diabetes Association, Debbie’s’ dedication to improving the transparency of financial reporting in the not-for-profit sector, and her role as a mentor for her staff and other leaders within the Association and other organizations is what made her a great candidate for this award. 

In her nomination narrative, Debbie is noted as constantly challenging her staff to raise the bar by not only providing the financial information to the Association but also to tell “the story” behind the numbers.  She challenges her staff to ask the tough questions and dig deep to really understand the reason behind the trends.  She empowers the managers underneath her and provides support and a fresh perspective when needed.  Her support of the group she works with gives them the confidence to try new approaches which in turn helps them learn and develop new skills.  She does this for other young leaders and even her colleagues throughout the Association.  

Patricia Drolet, Councilor, Buchanan & Mitchell, PC
Pat is the executive vice president of Councilor, Buchanan & Mitchell.  In 1997, Pat decided that she wanted to go out on her own and founded Drolet and Associates, a public accounting firm focused on serving individuals, closely-held businesses and not-for-profit organizations.  She created a firm staffed with diverse experienced professionals.  Her reputation as a well-respected accounting professional and successful business woman caught the attention of the partners at Councilor, Buchanan & Mitchell, PC (CBM), a 94 year old CPA and business advisory firm in Bethesda, Maryland.  After running her own firm for 17 years, Drolet & Associates merged with CBM.  At CBM, she is also in charge of the firm's Diversity & Inclusiveness initiative.   From 2002–2003, she served as GWSCPA president. She is a good role model to the female professional staff who strive to one day become future leaders.  

Susan Colladay, Tate & Tryon
Susan Colladay is a true inspiration to women in the accounting field. As one of three female partners at Tate & Tryon, she and her colleagues work to support, mentor and keep female talent, by helping females advance through the levels and reach partner at the firm. Susan spearheaded an initiative at T&T that is modeled after the AICPA Women’s Initiative Executive Committee (WIEC) to educate, advocate and advance females in the accounting profession. 


L-R: (Front) CPA Experienced Leaders Award winners Patricia Drolet, Susan Colladay,
Debbie Johnson. 
(Back) Presenters Carrie Karn, Katherine Wiernicki, Maria Christofi
Georges, Wells Fargo Gold Sponsor 
Kari Bedell, GWSCPA executive director
, and
Kathy O'Connor.

CPA Emerging Leaders

CPA Emerging Leaders are women CPAs who have demonstrated characteristics that will enable them to become leaders in the profession.

Corinne Dougherty, KPMG, LLP
Corinne is a senior manager with KPMG. Corinne is trusted with significant responsibility as a senior manager on the audits of two of our nation’s cabinet level federal agencies.  She demonstrates her commitment to professionalism and excellence by maintaining her technical expertise while sharing it with others.

One of Corinne’s counselees noted in their upward feedback, “Corinne is the perfect example of what a mentor and PML should be at KPMG. She is extremely approachable and truly wants the best for her mentees. Any time I've ever needed advice or support for a decision, she has continuously shown involvement and a personal interest. She is dedicated to her role and has given me support in not only getting a diverse client experience, but also in taking advantage of the internal opportunities that KPMG has to offer. I can honestly say my experience at KPMG would not have been as great as it has been if it weren't for the continued support from Corinne. Knowing that I have someone who is responsive and truly cares on my side has been invaluable.”

Liisa Warden, Baker Tilly Virchow Krouse, LLP
Liisa was recently promoted to senior manager at Baker Tilly. She is an emerging leader in the firm’s DC office real estate group with a proven track record of providing best practice insights and practical solutions for her valued clients.

A peer of Liisa’s is quoted in her nomination narrative: “Her work ethic embodies one of a true professional and valued business advisor. Every day, she passionately listens to her client’s needs, provides insight and practical solutions to the problems at hand, and delivers exceptional client service. Liisa understands the importance of being involved as a leader, not only at Baker Tilly, but also in the business community where she is active on various committees for CREW DC and serves as the treasurer of the Bowen McCauley Dance Company. She is someone whom many seek out for advice and guidance. We are confident she will continue to grow in her journey as an influential leader and mentor at Baker Tilly and in the real estate community.”   

Jessica Silwick,  The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc.
Jessica is the comptroller at a nonprofit, non-governmental organization. Her nominator is quoted from her submission: “She has been an inspiration to women, young and not so young, and is constantly seeking means to provide for those less fortunate. Jessica has a history of providing opportunities and taking risks on people, believing that everyone has potential. One of her employees was hired six years ago without a college education and with Jessica’s support and guidance is due to receive her BS in Business with an emphasis in accounting this December.” 

For the past four years Jessica has also implemented and maintained a summer internship program in the accounting department for junior year accounting majors.  All of the interns are still in touch with Jessica and continue to use her as a reference for jobs and graduate programs. 

Jessica implemented the ABET cares program.  Semi-annually an organization is selected and Jessica educates the ABET staff about the recipient organization.  She is also getting ready to launch an ABET volunteers program that will allow ABET employees to volunteer at a charitable organization and use up to a day of administration leave a quarter to volunteer.  Jessica is also a volunteer at her children’s school, participates in several 5k races for charitable organizations, and several food drives throughout the year.


L-R: (Front) CPA Emerging  Leaders Award winners Liisa Warden, Jessica Silwick,
Corinne Dougherty. (Back) Presenters Carrie Karn, Katherine Wiernicki, Kari Bedell,
GWSCPA executive director, Maria Christofi Georges, Wells Fargo Gold Sponsor,
and Kathy O'Connor.

Community Leader

Community Leaders are women who provide opportunities for the successful integration of women’s personal and professional lives, and the advancement of women to positions of leadership and/or who have been civic leaders in our community on professional women’s issues. This may be a CPA or non-CPA nominee.

Kimberly Ginn, Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP
Kimberly is a partner at Baker Tilly and is a leader of the firm’s higher education and research institutions industry practice.  She has more than fifteen years of experience assisting organizations with enhancements to their business process. 

Kimberly leads by example through embracing flexibility and promoting individual’s personal life interests/passions to better integrate them into the professional environment. She refuses to allow non-traditional paths and thoughts to impede leadership of professional women.

Her nominator quoted: “Kimberly’s ability to successfully integrate her professional and personal life is exemplary,” “Always the mentor, Kimberly is well known for her leadership and ability to help the firm’s women tackle professional issues head on. She develops meaningful peer-to-peer relationships with these women and guides them on their growth path, which is very valuable to them as individuals, as well as the industry as a whole.”   


L-R: (Middle) Community Leader Award winner Kimberly Ginn . 
(Back) Presenters Katherine Wiernicki, Carrie Karn, Maria Christofi Georges, Wells
Fargo Gold Sponsor, 
Kari Bedell, GWSCPA executive director, 
and Kathy O'Connor.