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VSCPA Volunteer Month Spotlight: Charlie Valadez, CPA

June 21, 2018

Happy Volunteer Month from the VSCPA! While we always appreciate our member volunteers, this is the month we dedicate to celebrating them and their efforts to keep the VSCPA running smoothly. We're profiling four VSCPA volunteers this month: One board volunteer, one task force member, one writer and one media ambassador. Thanks for everything you do for the VSCPA!

Our next profile is Charlie Valadez, CPA, chief audit officer at TechnoServe in Washington. Charlie is the chair of the VSCPA Accounting & Auditing Advisory Committee.​ Here are his own words about why he volunteers with the VSCPA.

Picture of Charlie Valadez

"I started volunteering with the VSCPA about eight years ago in the Members in Industry Task Force, where we delivered presentations on technical accounting and IT topics. I was away for about three years when I relocated to Connecticut to serve as the AVP, Global Internal Audit Services, for Save the Children.  

"I came back to D.C. about four years ago and worked initially as a Senior Analyst for the Pentagon and now as the Chief Audit Officer for TechnoServe Inc. 

"Since I returned to D.C., I have been volunteering  as the Chair for the Accounting & Audit Advisory Committee, a member of the Not-for-Profit Task Force, and a member of the Educators' Symposium Task Force. I have also been a participant in our Leaders' Summit each year. 

"Outside of the VSCPA, I volunteer as a question writer for the CPA and CIA exams for the American Institute of CPAs and the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). I also volunteer as a member of the local D.C. IIA Group and the ISACA Northern Virginia Society. I also volunteer as the academic program chair for the Accounting and Finance Programs at the University of the Potomac, a D.C.-based private business undergraduate and MBA university. I am also an active member and volunteer for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Human Rights Campaign.

"My volunteer experience has greatly increased my perspective and network in both my professional and personal life. It has enabled me to participate in the standard-setting processes and stay on top of the business areas which impact my career. 

"I am most surprised by the caliber and professionalism of my colleagues and their ability and willingness to assist me in all aspects of my career. 

"I would recommend that any professional volunteer for the VSCPA. It is a robust society that will give back much more than you put in. Just remember that volunteering is just like any paying job. It is hard work that requires a commitment to the integrity and excellence of the accounting profession."

Jim Shepherd, CPA
Partner, Verus Financial Partners, Richmond
VSCPA Media Ambassador

Picture of Jim Shepherd

VSCPA: How did you first get involved with volunteering with the VSCPA?
JS: When first entering this profession, it was quite evident to me that the VSCPA was doing great things to help its members and the profession as a whole. Throughout my career, I have always recognized that being a volunteer for good causes can provide an opportunity to try new things, gain additional experiences and meet other professionals. As a result, I truly felt privileged to be able to join the VSCPA when I first became eligible.  

VSCPA: Where do you volunteer outside the VSCPA?
JS: I have been involved in many civic and professional organizations and have always worked in leadership positions for the betterment of those organizations. Some of the organizations I have been involved in have been professional organizations, a county-appointed health commission overseeing a retirement community and a treasurer for a property owners' association, as well as being an advocate for animals and those less fortunate.

VSCPA: How have you benefited from your volunteer experience?
JS: The greatest benefit any of us receives from volunteering is the fulfillment of doing greater things. In my mind, the greatest thing we can do in life is to realize that it is not about ourselves that matters as much as what a difference we can make in this life for others. Once we realize that life is not so much about us, but how we can make a difference for all, then volunteering becomes a natural extension of that philosophy.

VSCPA: What has surprised you ​most about your volunteer experience, whether with the VSCPA or otherwise?
JS: The overwhelming positive experience of working with others that you would never work with otherwise as well how much it can truly benefit our profession and society. It is a great satisfaction to see ideas and efforts that are implemented for the greater good of all. 

VSCPA: What would you tell someone who was thinking about volunteering with the VSCPA?
JS: Take care of your basic work and family needs, but believe in what is possible and then look beyond yourself to see how you can make a difference for others that will ultimately define your life.

Cheri David, CPA
Partner, Clarkson David CPA, Rockville
Member, Disclosures Editorial Task Force

Picture of Cheri David

VSCPA: How did you first get involved with volunteering with the VSCPA?
CD: 2008. I first served on the Disclosures Editorial Task Force from 2008–2010.  

VSCPA: Where do you volunteer outside the VSCPA?
CD: Along with regular volunteering for my children’s schools and youth associations, I also am involved as follows:

  • Tourette Association of America, Active Richmond Chapter Member, 2013–present
  • Richmond Community Church, Sunday school Instructor, 2011–present
  • KDI Kares, charitable organization, advisory board member, 2004–present

VSCPA: How have you benefited from your volunteer experience?
CD: Volunteering adds depth to my life. Doing well at being a mom, wife, partner-CPA is one piece, but the real magic happens when I give my time to help others. For me, community service is a requirement of humanity and I would not feel complete without giving of my time to others.

VSCPA: What has surprised you most about your volunteer experience, whether with the VSCPA or otherwise?
CD: Sometimes, I am surprised at how much extra time the volunteering sometimes takes — planning a commitment means putting non-chargeable effort into something. It's hard sometimes to find the time, with our busy family and business life. However, there is significant intrinsic reward and I never regret the time spent!

It also surprises me sometimes that it seems like most of the volunteering is provided by the busiest people. Normally, one would think the volunteers are the ones with lots of time on their hands, However, it boils down to those that have the least amount of time.
With any extracurricular activity, it takes time and effort. I try to balance my time between organizations.  I am often surprised when I meet individuals who give most of their time to organizations and do the bulk of the work without any financial compensation. On the flip side, there are times when I see how so few volunteers there are when many are needed.   

VSCPA: What would you tell someone who was thinking about volunteering with the VSCPA?
CD: I have enjoyed giving back to the profession I love so much. I am really grateful for the amazing people I have met through the volunteer experience at the VSCPA. It’s an honor to be a part of such a professional, influential organization of the CPA community.

George Forsythe, CPA
Managing Partner, WellsColeman, Richmond
Member, VSCPA Board of Directors 

Picture of George Forsythe

VSCPA: How did you first get involved with volunteering with the VSCPA?
GF: My first volunteer experience was on the Young CPAs Committee, literally decades ago. I believe this committee later became a task force and later disbanded.  That said, it was a great way to be introduced to other professionals and the Society as a whole.

VSCPA: Where do you volunteer outside the VSCPA?
GF: My family started a nonprofit called Service Kids in Progress where we focused on bringing elementary aged kids out into the community to perform service projects. This was extremely rewarding and impactful to both the youth who volunteered and the agencies who welcomed fifth graders and younger into their organizations. As our boys are now in middle school, we have recently passed the torch.

Additionally, I was a founding director for the Community Toolbank of Richmond, where we focused on lending tools to organizations performing service projects in our community. As I left that board, I joined the board for Leadership Metro Richmond, an organization focused on growing our community leaders. Professionally, I am on the AICPA’s PCPS Executive Committee, that focuses on providing much needed resources to smaller firms in all areas of practice.

VSCPA: How have you benefited from your volunteer experience?
GF: I see myself as a lifelong learner and have learned from each and every volunteer experience. I’ve been on a leadership journey where I’m focused on becoming the best leader possible, professionally, personally and within our firm. While I haven’t become the leader I desire to be, I feel that I’ve made significant progress and am optimistic I’ll continue to improve each and every day.

VSCPA: What has surprised you most about your volunteer experience, whether with the VSCPA or otherwise?
GF: The biggest surprise is that I continue receive more out of volunteering and “giving back” than I’ve ever managed to give any organization.

VSCPA: What would you tell someone who was thinking about volunteering with the VSCPA?
GF: I would tell them to commit fully or don’t commit at all. Our profession and our Society need our best effort and this cannot be done if we are just phoning it in. And if they happen to commit fully, they’ll find the rewards are far greater than the efforts expended.

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