Cracking the glass ceiling: profiles of female managing partners in Ohio.

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In the past couple of years the "men only" sign has been taken down from management doors at firms across Ohio. This new wave of managing partners has been led by some of the best CPAs in the state, who just happen to be women. Until recently, Columbus' female managing partners where limited to local or regional firms. That changed with Julie Kunkel.

Julie T. Kunkel, CPA

Managing Partner

Ernst & Young LLR Columbus

Julie Kunkel's path to an accounting career isn't unique. After excelling in math in high school, she became a math major in college. Accounting wasn't yet in her sights. She explains, "When I started college, I initially majored in math with the intention of becoming an actuary." However, after a college-level calculus class she looked into accounting and found her path.

What is unique about Kunkel is the level of success she has achieved. In August 2003 Kunkel was promoted to managing partner at Ernst & Young LLP, becoming the first women managing partner of a Big Four firm in Columbus. She received the news in a phone call from Ernst &Young Global Chairman and CEO Jim Turley, encouraging her to consider stepping into a recently vacated managing partner position. "I had a few days to consider the role and its impact--both personally and professionally," she recalls. She accepted the position and hasn't looked back.

Not only has she set a new standard for women CPAs, but she doesn't let her success blur her perspective. Kunkel's main focus is still her clients. Looking towards the future, she knows the best thing she can do for her firm is to "ensure that we attract and retain top talent so that we can continue to provide exceptional service to our clients."

Annette Hoelzer, CPA


SS&G Financial Services, Columbus

Annette Hoelzer made a stop most accountants don't make on their way to becoming a CPA. She was a band director for eight years. After teaching for three years, pure curiosity drove her to take an accounting class. "After I had taken a few classes, I was hooked," she said. Going into the CPA exam she had doubts about the reality of a former band director being taken seriously as an CPA but, there was one thing she had in her corner. "I passed the CPA exam on the first sitting, and that gave me the credibility to find an accounting position," she recalls.

Not only is she a fully employed CPA, she has been a managing partner...

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