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MAC Alumna Receives Women to Watch Emerging Leader Award

Emily Wetsel (Jenkins Master of Accounting, 2009) is a recent recipient of the Women to Watch Emerging Leader Award from the North Carolina Association of CPAs (NCACPA). Currently a manager with the health care group of CliftonLarsonAllen (CLA), Wetsel specializes in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement and related consulting services. She has dedicated most of her career to helping countless organizations navigate through the ever changing world of health care reimbursement.

To be eligible for the emerging leader award, the NCACPA looks for women who have “demonstrated their ability to promote, within the accounting profession, a work environment that provides opportunities for the successful integration of their personal and professional life, and the advancement of women to positions of leadership.” The association defines an emerging leader as a professional who has made a significant contribution to the profession and her community, but who has not yet reached the highest levels of advancement.

Wetsel has been very active in the NCACPA throughout her past eight years as a member.  The association has provided her multiple opportunities to demonstrate and hon in on her leadership skills, while also giving back to the profession. Her most rewarding experience thus far has been her contributions to the NCACPA Membership Committee. She was a founding member of the committee in 2015.

According to Wetsel, “the team was initially tasked with rethinking and developing innovative ways for the organization to remain relevant in the accounting profession.” This involved developing strategies to measure and promote member involvement. “The work the committee has done will be felt throughout the heart of the association through community volunteering, CPA profession advocacy, networking events and continuing education, just to name a few”, she adds.

At the CLA office in Charlotte, Wetsel has led a women’s initiative for the past six years, providing networking and professional development events for women in that office. She founded the initiative to support female accounting professionals on their career journey by connecting them with local leaders and development opportunities in casual, non-threatening settings.

“It has proven to be a great way for all the women in the office to network together, despite working on different service lines and industries,” she says.

Outside of the CLA office, Wetsel has also been involved with the NCACPA’s Charlotte area Women’s Initiative Networking Group since its inception several years ago. The group plans many events throughout the year in the Charlotte area, including book club lunches, wine tastings, and cooking classes. She is also a frequent technical speaker on all topics related to health care reimbursement. She speaks at various regional associations, as well as at a national level. Wetsel strongly believes that sharing her experience and knowledge to other CPAs and accounting professionals is a crucial piece of the puzzle for the CPA profession to stay relevant in a time of great change.

Wetsel continues to be involved with the academic community as a member of the campus recruiting team at CLA. She has developed countless relationships with accounting students from various schools and helps mentor them through some of the critical decisions and questions they have early on in their careers.

What advice does she have for students entering the public accounting industry that want to become future leaders in the profession and community?

“One of the best decisions I made when I started my career was to say “yes”.  I wanted to make sure that I was able to give back to my community and profession. I would also encourage all future leaders to choose a job they are excited about going to each day.  Be your own advocate when it comes to you career – be direct with your career coaches about how you envision your career progressing. There are endless opportunities for CPAs and accountants to find a career they love, whether it be at a public accounting firm or in industry.”

Looking back on her career and the time she spent in the Jenkins MAC program, it’s the relationships she developed that stand out the most. “The faculty and classmates I met through my one year MAC program have proved to be some of the most impactful relationships thus far in my career and personal life,” she says. She learned how to effectively interact with various personality types through all of the group work and that has continued over to her career.

She also credits the faculty for helping her learn about the many opportunities for CPAs outside the traditional tax and audit paths. “They really are CPA celebrities with everything they have accomplished in their career paths leading to becoming professors,” she adds.

Final words from this woman to watch, “do not waste your time in a position that makes you unhappy or brings negative energy into your personal life. There will always be something out there for you, you just need to find it or create it!”

When not working or volunteering her time, Emily can be found hanging out with her husband and two-year-old son Holden.  Every fall, Emily and a few other MAC Class of 2009 alumni plan a long weekend trip to meet up at an away NC State football game.  On all other weekends, she enjoys trying out new local places to eat with friends.  She is expecting another future Wolfpacker (baby girl) on February 12, 2020!

This story is the third in our “Life After MAC” series.  All Jenkins MAC alumni are encouraged to share their stories with us. If interested, email, Andrea Young. All stories in the series can be found on our alumni website.