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Celebrating Women in Leadership

May 25, 2023


In March, the WSCPA celebrated International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month by recognizing the contributions women have made to the accounting profession. As part of the Member Exclusive Webinar Series, which provides free CPE to members, Kimberly Scott, WSCPA President & CEO, recently caught up with three amazing women CPAs to learn more about their professional journeys.

The panel discussed a variety of topics, including their journeys into accounting, people who influenced them along the way, finding work/life balance in a demanding profession, overcoming gender obstacles in leadership, the importance of volunteer work and their advice to new accounting professionals. Here’s just a little bit of the advice they received over the years that really guided them in their careers.

Bonnie Tse, CPA, CIA, CISA, PMP, CC, is an internal audit manager at T-Mobile. In her spare time, Bonnie serves on the WSCPA Board of Directors, Emerging Leaders Committee and is a Washington CPA Foundation Scholarship Reviewer.

“Say yes to opportunities… A lot of times I found that one opportunity had ripple effects and led to many others. For instance, volunteering with my local chapter of the IIA (Institute of Internal Auditors) led me to a leadership role as an officer, and then it led me to being more  involved by creating a mentorship program for students—something that I wish I had when I was a student.”

Jenny Cravens, CPA, is Executive Professor of Accounting at Central Washington University. Jenny is a “big fan of the accounting profession” and strives to educate and inspire the next generation of accounting leaders.

“Check in with yourself…your internal guidance system is inside you. A lot of people that are drawn to accounting are also drawn to following rules and doing what’s expected. We like clear guidance but that  doesn’t always work in a career setting. Every single individual is  unique and so your solution and your right answer is going to be unique to you. And so, it means gathering advice from multiple sources. Don’t just take one person’s word for anything. Do like you would in an audit; you are looking for evidence and then you are drawing conclusions based on it.”

Kelly Nelson, CPA, is a managing partner of the Seattle business unit of Baker Tilly. Kelly also serves as chair of the WSCPA Diversity Equity & Inclusion Council and is a WSCPA Board of Directors nominee.

“I think some of the best advice I had was from a mentor who said to really listen. When you’re coaching, in a mentorship or sponsorship, listen to the person you are meeting with and what their needs are… You may have a vested interest in [recommending a particular direction] for somebody, but you also have to understand and respect where they are in their life… Make sure you listen to what they’re saying and then figure out what opportunities are best for them, because some of the most rewarding things in your life are going to be when you’re pulling somebody up and watching them flourish. I want to see these people be trailblazers in their own way and do their own thing.”

Learn more about these leaders and their inspiring stories by watching the Member Exclusive: International Women’s Day - Women in Leadership Panel video, here.

Kimberly Scott, CAE, is WSCPA President & CEO. You can contact Kimberly at

This article appears in the spring 2023 issue of the Washington CPA magazine. Read more here.

Find more inspiring tips and tools for your leadership journey at the WSCPA Women's Leadership Summit, May 25 in Newcastle or via webcast. Visit for details!