The president of Pershing Yoakley & Associates shares THEIR secret to success.
Warning: I am getting ready to brag…
Four years ago, the CEO of a major competitor called me with what he thought was a routine question: “How did you do it? How did you get so much female ownership in your firm?”
I was bewildered.
(Now, this particular accounting firm ranks in the Top 50 in the country. Our Firm, headquartered here in Knoxville with clients in all fifty states, is ranked 90th in the country.)
He said of all the partners in his firm, only 10% were female. Then, it hit me. We do have a high percentage of female ownership (40% at the time), but I couldn’t answer how because it was not deliberate. We do not have a gender equity plan or formula. We simply recruit talent based on a person’s capabilities regardless of gender, race or age. Since we are committed to work as a team, not as individuals, anyone may navigate the seasons in life and still be able to contribute to our Firm and our clients.
Our female leaders don’t just “Lean In” to their careers—as author Sheryl Sandberg advises—they are “All In.” As a Top 100 Accounting Firm and one of the largest Consulting Firms in the nation, I make my case with the following points:
Nearly 60% of our entire management team is female • Female Managing Principals lead four out of five office locations. • Our Chief Administrative Officer, Chief Compliance Officer, and two of our five Service Line Leaders are female.
Clearly, our female colleagues are “All In” at all levels. They are leading our firm because they are talented leaders . . . who happen to be female.
As a native Knoxvillian and President of PYA, I just have to brag. (You were warned!) If you call Knoxville home, I want you to brag as well. Our Knoxville office culture set a philosophy in motion for our whole firm that talent and merit determine who leads, who envisions the future, who executes, and who owns!