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VOL. 127 | NO. 157 | Monday, August 13, 2012

Accounting Firm Supports Women Initiative

By Andy Meek

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Accounting and consulting firm CBIZ MHM Thompson Dunavant has launched a professional development and networking program for women executives in the firm’s Memphis office.

The new CBIZ Women’s Advantage Networking Circles program is a yearlong initiative comprised of a series of small group meetings and program action items. It represents the increasing reality that accounting is no longer heavily dominated by men and that the growing number of women in the field necessitates a greater focus on networking, leadership, mentoring and other skill-building opportunities for women.

Networking Circles is one subset of CBIZ’s broader “Women’s Advantage” focus, an umbrella term that includes a variety of networking and other programs. Implemented in 2007, it was created in response to the need to recruit, retain and advance more women in the field.

“We have 50 percent women in our office, and plenty of our up-and-comers are women,” said Megan Murdock, client development manager at CBIZ. “And I think it’s important to let them know there’s a network for them within the firm, that there’s a support system for them.”

Linda Lauer serves as the Network Advantage Leader for the Memphis office. Along with Murdock, the inaugural class includes Brooke Balducci, Cherry Blanton, Karen Cassella, Moira House, Anna Howell and Holly Thompson.

CBIZ Women’s Advantage provides women decision makers with access to a network of highly skilled, seasoned, professional women to assist their business needs.

“In its first five years, CBIZ Women’s Advantage has provided professional development programs for more than 700 women, established Women’s Lead Groups for business development, been involved in many external networking events and established a national community outreach program supporting women in business and not-for-profit organizations focused on developing women,” said Nancy Mellard, national leader of CBIZ Women’s Advantage. “CBIZ is very excited to bring this strong sustainable program to our Memphis CBIZ women associates and introduce to the greater Memphis business community how we demonstrate our mission of ‘CBIZ Women Helping Women Succeed in Business.’”

Thompson said CBIZ has similar groups in many of their offices that include women who get together and discuss women’s issues.

“And we’ve even had things in our office where we’ve made certain changes to ways we do things based on feedback we’ve received,” Thompson said.

In 2011, Memphis accounting firm Thompson Dunavant PLC joined CBIZ Inc. and Mayer Hoffman McCann PC to form CBIZ MHM Thompson Dunavant and Mayer Hoffman McCann PC. Together, CBIZ MHM LLC and Mayer Hoffman McCann PC are the seventh-largest provider of accounting services in the U.S.

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