By: Melisa Galasso
It is quite an honor to be the 2013 recipient of NCACPA’s “Women to Watch—Emerging Leader” award. This is a great reminder that the constant juggling act performed by professional woman (particularly working moms) is rewarding and truly worth it.
While I still long for the magic formula to add additional hours to my day, I have found some success by focusing my efforts in areas I am truly passionate about. Furthering the accounting profession, education, and community service are places where my limited hours can drive the most value.
I am a firm believer that being active in the profession is important for everyone who practices accounting. Monitoring new standards and maintaining an understanding of where the profession is headed is very important. I personally enjoy working with NCACPA’s committees to ensure members are well informed and actively participating in the process. The A&A Committee and Members in Business & Industry Planning Committee have been great resources. I thoroughly enjoy teaching courses for NCACPA and being part of groups that keep members informed. When I moved to Charlotte, the support I received from both NCACPA and the Virginia Society of CPAs (VSCPA) really helped make my transition smooth. I was able to take my involvement and experiences with VSCPA and apply them to volunteering with NCACPA.
I am the proud mother of an adorable 6-year-old little girl. While my mother chose to not work outside the home, I made the decision to stay in the workforce. With that decision, I also made a personal resolution to be very active in my daughter’s education and extracurricular activities. When she was in daycare, I served as room mom, a parent board member, and eventually PTO president. Now that she is in kindergarten (time flies!), I am still a room mom, active in the Parents Association, and I also serve on several committees. While I don’t believe in the concept of “having it all,” I do hope I serve as a positive role model to let her know she does not have to be defined by any one aspect of her life, regardless of what future path she may take.
Beyond work and family life, I feel an obligation to be active in my church and community. At my church in Virginia, I was the Assistant Director of Catechism and Treasurer of the Women’s Society. I also served as chair of the Audit Committee. In Charlotte, I serve on the board of the Women’s Society and also volunteer as a catechism instructor. I also currently serve as NCACPA’s Charlotte Chapter as the Community Service Committee Co-Chair. This role is one that brings me great joy. The volunteer work done on the CPA Day of Service has been amazing. Giving back to the community further demonstrates how the CPA profession is serving the public interest.
Many people are surprised to learn that I didn’t go to Georgetown to be an accounting major. My plan was to major in international business (which was my second major), but I fell in love with my required freshman accounting course and the rest is history. Georgetown’s requirement to have a well-rounded education is something for which I am deeply grateful. I have served as an alumni admissions interviewer for Georgetown ever since my graduation as a way of giving back to a school that helped me get where I am today. I am also a member of the Georgetown Club of Charlotte and previously a member of the Georgetown Club of DC. I served as a mentor in their alumni mentor program before I left the local area. Bringing things full circle, I went back to teach at Georgetown as an adjunct faculty in the Accounting Department. Passing my enthusiasm for accounting on to my students was very important to me. I’m happy to report that I have several former students who are now a part of the CPA profession. I am very proud of them!
There are many things I would love to get involved with—fixing Congress, ensuring every child receives a quality education, and solving the US debt issues. Maybe I will get to them one day, but for now, I’m happy with my little juggling act and I am deeply honored to be recognized by NCACPA’s members and staff. Thank you again for this fabulous award!
Melisa is an Audit Manager in the Professional Practices Department at Cherry Bekaert, LLP, in Charlotte. She currently serves on NCACPA’s Accounting & Attestation Committee and is Chair-Elect of the Charlotte Chapter. Melisa can be reached at [email protected].