MICPA Celebrates 2022 Outgoing Board Members, Announces New Additions


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The time is coming once again for the MICPA to celebrate the many contributions and accomplishments of its members with the 2022 MICPA Award Season. Of course, this time of year also means the MICPA Board of Directors is set to reconfigure. Our organization is only as impactful as those who volunteer to ensure its many initiatives are realized, and our board members donate their time, their insights and their expertise to ensure the organization continues to be a meaningful source of support, knowledge and advocacy for current and future generations of CPAs. As they move on to the next milestone, we thank our outgoing board members, Andy Bittinger, CPA, Partner, PwC, Leon LaBrecque, JD, CPA, CFP®, CFA, Executive Vice President, Head of Planning Strategy at Sequoia Financial Group, Marianne Lilly, CPA, CGMA, CFE, Partner, ShindelRock, and David Echelbarger, CPA, CGMA, President, EHTC, for the guidance and perspective they lent the MICPA throughout their time on the board, and for their contributions to our continued mission.

“Being involved with the MICPA has provided an opportunity to become more connected with Michigan CPAs,” says Bittinger, who will depart as director alongside LaBrecque and Lilly. Bittinger adds that he has most enjoyed his work with the High School Leaders program, which aims to build interest in accounting among high school students. He adds, “I have been very happy with the level of involvement and the support received from the MICPA staff.”

LaBrecque expresses a similar appreciation for those he served alongside on the board. “I have truly enjoyed working with a group of spectacularly smart and motivated people,” he says, “They’re one of the best groups I’ve worked with.” LaBrecque, whose articles on retirement strategies are often published by Forbes, notes that working with the MICPA grants access to hundreds of colleagues and their expertise, which runs a wide range of specializations. He adds, “It’s been an important collaboration tool.”

“I have met so many people and developed many professional and personal relationships over my years of involvement with the MICPA,” Lilly recalls of her time spent as a board member, “Being on the Board has provided me with so much insight into our profession and the challenges we face, our responsibilities and the opportunities available. It has shown me how we, as an Association, have worked through all the changes, through so many years, for the benefit of our profession and the public we serve.”

Finally, outgoing past chair Echelbarger says awareness is among the key takeaways from his experiences within the organization, and as a part of the Board. “I had limited awareness of the impact the MICPA and AICPA have on our profession, especially as it relates to tax laws and licensing in the state.” He adds, “The MICPA taught me how to be a productive voice within our legislature. I wasn’t looking to be involved, but I became fascinated with the process and my personal impact on the outcomes for the greater good of CPAs and society. As a board member there was an opportunity to step up and have a voice for the profession.”

As Echelbarger, Lilly, LaBrecque and Bittinger depart, setting their sights on new challenges, the MICPA is happy to welcome incoming directors Unyime Ekpenyong, CPA, MBA, audit director, PwC, Kevin L. Patterson, CPA, audit office managing partner, BDO, Tiauna Ross, CPA, SCPM, CBAP, PMP, CISSP, director, digital cybersecurity operations, Stryker, and Imelda Scott, CPA, MBA, MSBIT, director of finance, all of whom express excitement about getting started.

“Growing up, I always wanted to be a CPA. My older sister took to her role as an accountant with grace and ambition, earning the respect of our family and friends, and having her set that example is what really inspired me to join the profession,” says Ekpenyong. “Of course, I was very proud when I achieved that goal, but it really stood out to me that less than 2% of CPA professionals are Black. It is critical that we can continue to excite, educate and empower the next generation on what it means to be a CPA. That journey can begin in high school and that is why I am also looking forward to working with the MICPA High School Leadership program to contribute to the organization’s mission and make an impact.”

Patterson, who recently completed the six-month community leadership program, Leadership Detroit, alongside MICPA president and CEO Bob Doyle, is also passionate about helping the MICPA continue its connection to CPAs of all ages. “I feel blessed to be a CPA, so I want others to experience that same career path!”

Likewise, Ross, who became an MICPA member in college, shares Patterson’s interest in developing the next generation of CPAs. “I am passionate about youth development and leadership, especially for underrepresented groups. I want to help the MICPA expand our impact on the next generation, to inspire and encourage them to become CPAs.”

Scott, a member of both the MICPA Women’s Initiatives and DEI task forces, agrees. “I hope to be able to give back to the profession and support the pipeline of future accountants.” A mentor to high school and college students, Scott is already paying it forward to a future generation of CPAs. However, she is also excited to bring a perspective of greater diversity to the Board. “Last year, I was featured as part of the Hispanic Heritage Month in an interview by Bob Doyle, where I talked about my journey, beginning in Mexico to moving to the USA, learning English, getting a job, and earning my CPA.” She notes that Hispanic voices are underrepresented in leadership and in the boardroom. “As a Mexican immigrant, I bring a different perspective - I will be able to contribute my point of view and ethnic diversity.”

The MICPA is excited to add these new voices to its board of directors, broadening our horizons for the future of the profession. For more about your board members and task force chairs, follow us on our social media as we continue to acknowledge the many contributions of our member volunteers. Plus, don’t forget to mark your calendars for Nov. 9 as we plan our annual celebration of leaders within the profession at the 2022 MICPA awards event, Celebrate.  

Interested in being considered as a candidate for the MICPA Board of Directors? Learn more and apply here.

Source: MICPA

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