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VSCPA Announces Inaugural Women to Watch Awards

December 10, 2020

The Virginia Society of CPAs (VSCPA) champions the accomplishments of women in the accounting profession and has created the Women to Watch Awards for established and emerging female leaders in the accounting profession. Winners will be recognized at the second annual Women’s Leadership Forum in December. 

In 1898, when Christine Ross became the first woman to pass the CPA Exam, it took nearly two years for her state to accept her as Certified Public Accountant. When Nella Ebert, who was certified in California in 1951, was applying for accounting positions, she had to include her height and weight on her résumé. Today women make up 60 percent of the accounting field, yet fewer than 20 percent hold top leadership positions.

The CPA profession owes a lot to its female pioneers, past and present, and the VSCPA is committed to increasing their presence among the profession’s elite leadership. We are proud to highlight the accomplishments of women in the profession who demonstrate leadership, support the development of future female leaders, and fight for workplace evolution geared toward leveling the playing field. 

The VSCPA is proud to honor Joan M. Renner, CPA, CGMA, shareholder at Renner and Company in Alexandria, as the Experienced Leader Award winner for her long track record of promoting strong female leaders in the profession. On her selection, Renner said, “I am honored to receive this award and grateful to the VSCPA for selecting me. I am also grateful for the individuals who helped me learn, provided me with opportunities to grow and supported my efforts along the way. Providing that kind of support to future leaders is really the point of the Women’s Leadership Forum.”

Emerging Leader honoree Iris Wigodsky Laws, CPA, senior associate at Dixon Hughes Goodman in Richmond, founded and chairs the Richmond Emerging Leaders Network. “At the end of the day, it’s the teams I’ve been a part of and the people within those teams that keep me motivated to advance the profession and the careers of those around me,” Laws said.