March 31, 2022
Leadership at Every Level: Women in Accounting Spotlights
When you ask Johnson Lambert employees what leadership means to them, you’ll get a variety of answers. Depending on the person’s level, practice, interactions with colleagues, or personal career journey, you may hear: “Leadership doesn’t lie in your title, but in your relationships with others,” or “Leadership starts before you are ever ‘in charge,’ and is a mindset that you can own in any role.”
Since Johnson Lambert’s foundation, women have held leadership positions at all levels of the firm. Embodying our core values of trust, agility, and respect, they have always been an equal and integral part of our practice. From associate to partner, the women of Johnson Lambert have an incredible passion for helping improve the accounting industry and the communities they serve.
Becoming a Thought Leader as an Associate
Meet Anabel Crawford, an associate in our business advisory services (BAS) practice:
Although she only has two years of experience under her belt, Anabel has carved out a niche for herself in the emerging environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting and auditing space. By co-authoring an ESG-focused article and presenting on this topic to industry colleagues, Anabel is paving the way to become a thought leader early on in her career.
When looking at potential employers, the diversity at Johnson Lambert was a large factor in Anabel’s decision to join the firm. “I was impressed not only by the number of women in leadership, but also the overall diversity, especially within the BAS group. I felt welcomed and fully valued from the moment I first spoke with a JL associate at my school’s career fair, which was a rare experience as a woman in the technology field.”
Taking on Industry Leadership Roles as a Senior Manager
During her career, Hedy has made a powerful impact not only within Johnson Lambert, but also in the industries she serves. As the chair of the Young and Emerging Accountants section of GWSCPA and a Margaret DeBoe Leadership program graduate, Hedy leads by example for women seeking leadership in the accounting field. Whether she’s speaking at an upcoming conference or attending one of the many committee meetings on her calendar, Hedy is continuously contributing her time and efforts to support the nonprofit and employee benefit plan communities. Committed to her local community as well, Hedy serves on the board and audit committees of SCAN of Northern Virginia and on the audit committee of Food for Others.
Equally meaningful to her professional success, Hedy focuses on what’s important to her personal and mental wellbeing, “One of the things I have realized is that feeling connected to others plays a big role in my mental health, both on a professional and personal level. Spending time with others and connecting with colleagues brings out the best in me.”
Leading From the Inside Out as a Partner
Brandy started at Johnson Lambert as a manager nearly 20 years ago and jumped into firm leadership roles quickly. During her career at Johnson Lambert, she has served as the HR oversight, the tax practice lead, and on the partnership committee. Currently a member of the executive committee, Brandy has the opportunity to help develop how this committee strategically leads the firm.
Although incredibly involved in the guidance and direction of Johnson Lambert itself, Brandy is also a frequent speaker on tax topics at industry conferences and events. In recognition of her role in building the Johnson Lambert tax team and her consistent involvement in the accounting community, Brandy was awarded the third annual Distinguished Alumni Award from North Carolina State University in 2021.
In addition to her work responsibilities, leadership roles, and industry involvement, Brandy also leads her own “Team Vannoy” at home. “It’s constantly a balance, and you have to make sure you know what your priorities are, and then figure out how to make everything work. I also couldn’t have managed life with kids and a successful career without the flexibility that JL offers.”
Words of Wisdom for Women in Accounting
As with all things in life, learning to lead can take time and commitment. Anabel, Hedy, and Brandy are devoted to their careers, communities, and lives outside of work. They lead by example, but they also offer some great insights for women of every level who hope to find success and happiness in their endeavors.
Advice to Graduating Students
Reflect on your accomplishments! Reminding yourself of how far you’ve come can help you enter the workforce with confidence in your abilities. It’s also a good practice to prepare yourself to be your own advocate when it comes time for performance reviews in the workplace. – Anabel Crawford
Advice to Professionals a Few Years Into Their Careers
Be your own biggest advocate! Ask for what you need without feeling guilty. Remember that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but it reveals strength, gives you an opportunity to improve, and creates a path forward. – Hedy Sadeghein
Advice to Leaders Working Toward Becoming Partner
You can do it! As with anything that’s worth it, you will have to work to achieve your goals, but it’s doable. Mentors are also a big help in working with you to see how to get there. – Brandy Vannoy
Their words and stories serve as a kind reminder that leadership manifests in many ways and offers many opportunities beyond current roles in the workplace.