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Leading accounting experts to discuss diversity in the accounting profession at Smeal roundtable

February 20, 2018

A trio of accounting experts, each of whom has served in a national leadership position within the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) or the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), will participate in a roundtable discussion about increasing diversity in the profession at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 27 in the Business Building Atrium. 

“Roundtable on Diversity in the Accounting Profession” has been organized by Smeal College of Business Instructor of Accounting Ed Jenkins and the Diversity Enhancement Programs office. He said he was inspired to act on the topic of diversity in accounting after reading an AICPA’s Trends Report. 

“That report identified a dramatic underrepresentation by persons of color in our profession,” said Jenkins, who still maintains professional consulting positions as a CPA. “How do we change the color of the classroom in Penn State’s accounting programs? The underlying theory is the color of the profession does not change until the color of the classroom changes.” 

Jamie Campbell, assistant dean of Diversity Enhancement Programs, said he believes that the roundtable will provide all students with an excellent opportunity to meet with leading professionals in the field of accounting. 

“While is it important for all students to have the opportunity to meet with these outstanding professionals, it is even more important for diverse students to have the ability to not only see people that look like them in positions of leadership in accounting, but that they also have the opportunity to speak with, and possibly be mentored by, these proven professionals,” he said. 

The three professionals who will share their stories during the roundtable will be: 

Kimberly N. Ellison-Taylor, CPA, CGMA
Global accounting strategy director — financial and professional services industries — Oracle America
Immediate past chairman of AICPA

Jina Etienne, CPA, CGMA
Co-founder, EtiennePartners
Past president and CEO of National Association of Black Accountants (NABA)
Former director of taxation at AICPA

Derrick A. Roman, CPA
PwC partner, risk assurance
NABA Corporate Advisory Board

The overarching goal of the event is to expose diverse students to opportunities in accounting by introducing compelling personal stories of how the roundtable participants decided on a career in accounting. It is intended to expose students to role models in accounting so students can see themselves in the accounting profession. 

A second goal is to use the event as a lightning rod to raise public awareness of the need for more diversity in accounting and celebrating successful persons of color in the accounting profession. 

The final goal of the event is to raise targeted scholarship funds for diverse students in accounting field. 

Roundtable participants will engage in meetings all afternoon with university constituents for the purpose of sharing concepts for inclusion in accounting and how the pipeline infrastructure for diverse students can be enhanced.

Media Contact

Andy Elder
Public Relations Specialist