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Podcast - Finding Fearless Podcast

The Finding Fearless Podcast exists to share the stories of empowered women as they navigate and innovate in the working world.

 

FINDING FEARLESS PODCAST


Episode 21 - Gail Perry

The path to equality is hardly linear, at least that’s what we’ve been told by those who have been paving the way since long before we began walking down it. Sometimes it feels like we’re hardly making progress, at least that is until our own lived experiences are held up to the wider historical context. It’s easy to look at today’s political & social climate and ask “Why aren’t we further along?”. Yet it wasn’t until I sat down with Gail Perry, author, advocate, and accounting industry legend that I realized how far we have come in just her lifetime.

During our conversation, Gail told me a story about an experience she had early in her career working for a large regional accounting firm in Indianapolis. The firm had a particularly prominent tax client that refused to “have their taxes done by a woman”. Because of her expertise, the firm assigned Gail the tax client. However, because of the client’s disparaging belief about the intellect & abilities of women, a male colleague led meetings with them while she whispered tax advice to him from behind a curtain. The image this story conjures up feels laughable on the surface and seems to be something out of some long forgotten era. But it was the reality for a woman whose own two daughters have only just embarked on their own careers in the last decade.

Yes, we’ve made progress. But we have so far left to go. That is what I took away from my conversation with Gail. That, and the fact that the only way we’re going to reach our desired goals if we stop asking for permission to be a part of things. It’s time for women to stop waiting to be invited and to start claiming our seats at the table. And if we aren’t invited to the table, we have to recognize and own the fact that we have the power and abilities to create our own.

It’s easy to sit back and say that there should be more representation & equality in the working world. It takes a lot more effort to show up & speak up about these issues and make space for others to do the same. We often trip ourselves up thinking things need to be polished & completely perfect, but as the author 34 books and the editor-in-chief of one of the most influential publishers in the accounting industries, Gail Perry is a testament to the progress that can be made simply by showing up & putting in the work. For that, and for her incredible candor & support of women in the accounting industry, she will always be someone who continues to inspire women to show up for themselves & teach others to do the same.


Madeline Pratt
Episode 20 - Sasha Graham

There’s no dancing around the subject. The stats speak for themselves. The state of equality (or lack thereof) within the executive level workforce is dismal and in dire need of disruption. It’s a problem that to some might seem insurmountable, or at the very least, pretty daunting. However, to the folks at the Equality Group, this is the exact problem they are determined to tackle head-on.

The Equality Group is an executive search firm that focuses on placing diverse leaders in the roles in the realms of Finance, Technology, and Social Impact. Founded by entrepreneur & philanthropist Hephzi Pemberton, the firm is committed to changing the business landscape by widening the range of exceptional candidates and offering them unique leadership opportunities. When I first connected with the firm on Instagram, I was determined to learn more about the tactics they are taking to level the playing field, and I ended up sitting down with their marketing manager, Sasha Graham to record an incredibly thought-provoking episode of the podcast.

During the latest episode, Sasha and I talk in depth about inequality & lack of diversity of the working world, and how equality is presenting the issue as a case for building a better & statistically more profitable business. We talk about the power of data to drive shifts in behavior and elevate unconscious bias, and how data-driven marketing is re-educating business owners on a global scale. In addition to discussing the work of the Equality Group, we took time to talk about some of the more tangible tools for driving change like training, policies, and legislation. Sasha shares with us her broad experiences from working in industries from fashion to finance, and the power of putting your values forth in an actionable way by working for a company that is creating positive and intentional change in the world.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Equality Group you can visit their website or follow them on Instagram at @equalitygroupglobal.


Madeline Pratt
Episode 19 - Lizzy Cook

If there is one thing I love most, it’s a woman that isn’t afraid to speak her mind. A rule breaker, a no shit taker, a woman that has found her voice and encourages other women to do the same. Looking back now, it's not surprising that I instantly felt a kindred connection to Lizzy Cook. She was simply my kind of gal.

Lizzy and I first met in the world of tech and would connect at conferences where we were representing for our respective companies, both of us figuring out how to navigate on minimal sleep, social interaction overload, and often dealing with some not so subtle sexism. Whether it was men referring to us as “booth babes” or planning an escape from a bro-heavy happy hour, Lizzy was one of the women in my world that really understood what it is like being a #womanintech. And just like me, she isn’t content to sit tight with the status quo, she’s ready to change it.

On the latest episode of the podcast, Lizzy and I sat down and dug deep into the issues that face both women in tech and women in the broader working work. From breaking the glass ceiling, to addressing the gender pay gap, to talking through real-life tactics that women can use to elevate each other in the workplace, the conversation was all about our own experiences and how they have inspired us to speak up and drive tangible change for ourselves and the women around us. Tune in for this episode to hear our take on how to advocate for yourself in the current corporate climate, get advice on negotiating your next salary, and the lessons we’ve learned from bringing our values to the forefront in our work.

To connect further with Lizzy, you can find & follow her at @lzzycook.

Madeline Pratt
Episode 18 - Special Episode: IWD Panel Discussion

If you are connected to the online accounting community, you probably have noticed that there has been a plethora of noteworthy industry-related conversation emerging recently within the Twittersphere. From the future of bookkeeping to debunking whether certain apps are truly powered by AI, these conversations have sparked lively back and forths, and a variety of subsequent content pieces. As each hot button topic has unfolded, so have a number of carefully crafted responses of so from practitioners & “industry experts” alike. Even though their individual responses & opinions have varied, the ones that have gotten the most airtime have all been connected by a common thread: they were all produced by men. I’m not knocking the content that these guys wrote, but the cacophony reached a point where some of us started to wonder, where are the women in all of this? Are we somehow getting lost in the noise or do we need have to still shout to be heard in the first place?

Women’s voices are still dramatically underrepresented in the world of accounting, despite the fact that women make up the majority of the profession. 61.3% of the profession at large is female, and yet we still see a predominate number of men highlighted online & at conferences as “authorities” on topics related to the profession. It’s clear that there is a disconnect that goes deeper than the surface because more women than ever before are graduating accounting expertise, yet the top positions of the profession are still overwhelmingly male-dominated and the wide gender pay gap within the profession isn’t showing any signs of closing. As one might guess, the statistics for representation & pay for women of color within the profession are even more abysmal. These inequalities are hardly unique to the accounting profession, but the issues are pressing all the same, so it’s time for us to set aside some time to start addressing them head-on.

With International Women’s Day on the horizon, and with it the release of Practice Ignition’s list of Top 50 Women in Accounting, it seemed like the perfect time to spark a conversation with women in accounting and provide a place for them to share their stories and opinions around the status of women in the profession. Rather than sitting around waiting for someone else to pass the mic, I collaborated with Practice Ignition to host a virtual panel discussion featuring some of the incredible & inspiring women in the accounting space. The goal of the moment was simple: to shed some light on the experiences, opinions, and triumphs of women in accounting.

The panel discussion happened live Practice Ignition’s Facebook page the morning of March 8th, and featured some of their Top 50 Women In Accounting finalists, as well as a diverse array of other female voices from across the profession. For those who couldn’t make it live, I captured the conversation in this special episode of the Finding Fearless Podcast. The conversation covered a variety of questions about their entrepreneurial ambitions and the current position of women in the accounting profession, along with talking about the ways that we can elevate more women to within the profession to share their voices & be heard. Although there were only so many questions we could tackle in a since hour, it is my sincere hope that this first discussion sparks many more conversations & opportunities to highlight women from all corners of the accounting community.  

Madeline Pratt
Episode 17 - Alexandra Sirocky

One of the most common misconceptions I see in the world of entrepreneurship is the idea that the path of a founder is linear. We often times hear these tales, particularly about male founders, where they get an idea, go out and get a bunch of funding, and BOOM! They make it. Instant success.

As a female entrepreneur myself, I know there are other equally important stories out there worth sharing. Tales of long term ideas turned side hustle where you bust your ass for YEARS before it can become your full time gig. I also know that “making it” means something different to everyone, and that it feels a whole lot different if you had to overcome hurdles and hardship along the way.

This past week, I had the chance to sit down with Alexandra Sirocky, and I was honored to hear her share so candidly about the struggles that arose along her path both in her personal life and her life as an entrepreneur. For those of you that are not familiar with Alexandra’s work, she is a yoga teacher, writer, and the force behind NOMaste, a business she launched to help others live a more integrated yogic lifestyle through movement medicine, self care practices, and establishing intuitive eating habits.

Alexandra first became interested in exploring yoga after an accident derailed her dreams of becoming a dancer. Along her path of discovering yoga, her life shifted dramatically, and her personal strength was seriously tested as a series of hardships cascaded into her life. What Alexandra found throughout this experience was that the practice of yoga could carry her through the hardest of times & connect her to the powerful personal strength she held within.

Join Alexandra and I as we talk about the power of being positive & in the present, our own struggles with authenticity & social media, her new e-book, and much more.

Use the audio player above to listen to my interview with Alexandra Sirocky.

You can also can connect further with Alexandra by following her on Instagram and by visiting her website.


Madeline Pratt