The American Women’s Society of Certified Public Accountants (AWSCPA) helps women CPAs meet new career challenges by providing educational programs, and the opportunity to discuss career issues with other women CPAs. A national committee structure enables AWSCPA to impact issues and regulatory policies that effect the entire profession. In 1981 the Society established a network of locally affiliated groups to improve the delivery of services to members around the country, to enhance the visibility of local members and to create new opportunities for leadership, direct participation, and networking. There are now local groups in all major cities around the country.
AWSCPA Utah Chapter
In early 1983, a small group of Salt Lake City CPAs, Lynne Wilhelmsen, Cindy Brickley, Janis Kline, Joan Glenn as well as Larzette Hale, who was also the national AWSCPA President, got together to organize an affiliate. The Utah chapter started out with a steering committee and received it’s official charter from national a year or two later. By December, the group was in operation. During the first two years the AWSCPA went through three Presidents. Then in July of 1985 Cindy Brickley became the forth President of the AWSCPA of Utah. Soon after, Cindy had a baby girl and moved to Rochester, New York. Through it all, Brickley says the members have more than adequately met the challenge of holding together a rapidly changing group.
AWSCPA of Utah First Meeting
Cindy Brickley explains how the first meeting for the AWSCPA of Utah was conducted. The first speaker was Christine Durham where 100 to 150 attended and women were invited from other professions to attend as well. It was a great opportunity to network with the other professionals in town. “Our very first meeting was a solid one,” she explains. “Several firms helped sponsor it. Larzette Hale (AWSCPA past president) came down from Logan and provided a great pep talk. There was a lot of enthusiasm, and we were determined to keep the group moving and growing. After we lost our first two presidents, Lynne Wilhelmsen stepped in cold, worked hard, and provided the leadership and continuity that kept us together.”
Maintaining AWSCPA of Utah
To recruit and to keep it’s members, the Salt Lake City affiliate spent a good deal of time developing attractive programming. “I think that most of our energy goes into scheduling speakers,” says Brickley. “We work to get the right people, because it’s hard to recover from even one flop.” With no apologies, she pointed out that every speaker except one was female. As she explains, “We are looking to develop a unique support system for women CPAs, and one way to do that is to put women in the spotlight.”