GBQ hosts office visit for STRIVE mentorship program

Written on Jul 02, 2019

By Abigail Draper, OSCPA communication & engagement manager

GBQ’s new efforts to increase diversity and inclusion began in May with an office visit and panel discussion for OSCPA’s STRIVE mentorship program.

At this year’s GBQ partners annual retreat, many brought up the lack of diversity efforts in the company in relation to the LGBTQ community and people of color. Because of this, GBQ contacted OSCPA to see how they could collaborate and grow their diversity and inclusion efforts.

Sierra Austin, Ph.D., OSCPA diversity and inclusion manager, suggested creating programming for OSCPA’s new STRIVE mentorship program, which stands for “Success Through Retention, Inclusion, Visibility and Engagement.”

“We were really excited to jump on that opportunity,” said Natalie Lo, accounting intern at GBQ.

The event included an office tour and two panels, one on specialty and core practices and one on interview and resume tips.

“We did a ‘day in the life’ panel, and we had our core practice, then had some specialty practice, so [the students] could see the different paths so they know that they have options in accounting,” said Maria Nobile, GBQ forensic dispute and advisory staff member.

GBQ managing director, Darci Congrove said planning this program helped GBQ determine where they lacked diversity and inclusion knowledge and how they could address these issues in their office and with recruitment.

“I think the real value for us probably was more so in the planning and thinking about what the issues are, and how we might address them, and how we might get ourselves up to speed so that we are informed and educated,” Congrove said.

GBQ has had a women’s inclusion initiative for years, and they said it is time to focus on other diversities as well and get everyone, including allies, involved in these programs.

“We are making some very intentional efforts to get men to come to those conversations, because we're realizing that we've kind of been talking to each other for 15 years, and we're only going to move the needle so far if we don't include the other 50%,” Congrove said.

She continued, “We're trying to take some of those lessons and apply them to this new effort and maybe from the beginning, do something that brings a broader group of people to the table.”

Overall, this STRIVE event was both beneficial for the students and GBQ. The firm was able to learn what they needed to focus on and students got a look into life in public accounting.

Student Dayna Shoulders said, “My experience at GBQ was inspiring and have elevated my confidence in striving to become a CPA.”
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