I often sit and wonder where my career will be in 5, 10, or even 20 years. It strikes me as odd that the most recent study done by the Journal of Accountancy shows that although public accounting firms are made up of 44% women, only 19% of partners are women. It would seem like the odds are against me for becoming a partner in an industry I love; and, although I really don’t know where I will be personally in 8 years, I know that professionally I want to be a role model, a positive influence, a success story: I want to be a partner.
When I officially decided that I wanted to become a partner, at the same time I decided that these statistics needed to change. At CDH, our firm is completely in line with the statistics of the industry: 45% of our firm is comprised of women, and 14% of our principals are women. Today we begin our journey to change that ratio, however. Today CDH formally launches its women’s initiative, “Women LEAD at CDH,” with LEAD standing for leadership, empowerment, advancement and development.
There are many different business drivers for starting a women’s initiative. One of the main drivers is the significant cost of employee turnover, which not only includes the dollar impact it causes a firm, but also non-monetary costs. It is said that every time a person leaves a company, it costs 1.5 to 3 times their salary to replace him or her (do the math and you will be shocked). Some indirect costs include disruption to the service provided to customers, as well as a negative impact on morale – things better to avoid all together.
One of the other main reasons for starting a women’s initiative at CDH is the connection it has to our vision statement. Our commitment to growth, support of employee dreams, and the fostering of honest, lasting and meaningful relationships all play a role in the creation of Women LEAD at CDH. Based on these business drivers, the vision of Women LEAD at CDH became the “attraction, development, advancement, and retention of women at CDH.”
I am excited to help propel CDH into the future by changing perceptions, empowering women, and increasing the number of women in leadership positions.