Plante Moran Launches ‘Women in Leadership’ Initiative

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SOUTHFIELD — The CPA and business advisory firm Plante Moran PLLC Friday announced the launch of its Women in Leadership initiative for the attraction, retention, development and advancement of women into leadership positions within the firm.

For the last 25 years, more than 50 percent of accounting majors have been women. Plante Moran’s hiring has reflected this trend and for several years, the firm had one of the highest percentages of female partners among the nation’s largest public accounting firms, according to public accounting trade reports. The firm’s turnover rate is also among the lowest in the profession at 12 percent. The Women in Leadership initiative is designed to help Plante Moran accelerate its ability to both attract and retain women leaders.

“Historically, Plante Moran has been a pioneer in women’s issues. For more than 25 years, we have had the PTA (Personal Tightrope Action) Committee to create policies and practices to help retain women and working mothers at the firm; we’ve had flexible work arrangements and we’ve encouraged balance for all of our staff members. While we have done these things well, we can’t afford to stand still; competition for the best candidates is intense, and we want to continue to be able to attract and retain strong performers,” said Gordon Krater, managing partner at Plante Moran and the initiative’s management team sponsor.

The long-term goal of the program is to have equal presence, impact and influence from men and women at all levels of the firm, including partnership. Plante Moran is not alone in this challenge, according to Susan Perlin, CPA, a 31-year Plante Moran staff member who, along with her husband, raised two daughters while climbing the career ladder. She is an audit partner in the firm’s not-for-profit services group and is serving as the leader of the Women in Leadership initiative.

“Other accounting firms, law firms and Fortune 500 companies are facing similar issues with women in leadership roles, so we are not unique,” said Perlin. “However, we need to reposition ourselves as a leader in the space and this is where the Women in Leadership initiative comes into play.”

Plante Moran’s Women in Leadership initiative is driven by four key strategies:

* Ensure the initiative has dedicated leadership, senior management team involvement and coordinated activities and programs. The WIL Steering Committee includes a member of the firm’s management team, other partners and liaisons from the human resources, training and marketing groups.

* Focus on increasing the visibility of women leaders both internally and externally. Examples include the presentation of highly inspirational profiles of female partners and managers on the firm’s intranet and seven panels of women managers and partners who spoke to female staff at Plante Moran offices.

* Provide targeted developmental career opportunities in order to retain and advance women leaders

* Continue to work on developing customized career and life integration strategies that complement the firm’s existing and proven work-life programs

The program’s success will be measured by several factors, including more women achieving career successes quicker.

“We want to increase our focus on developing staff faster and better and developing competencies that will allow more women to become partners,” said Krater. “Success will be shown by an increase in the percentage of women partners, women in leadership positions and when Plante Moran has a larger representation of women where there aren’t currently women leaders internally. That will not only define success, but serve as a competitive advantage for the firm and our clients.”

To view a video and learn more about the Plante Moran Women in Leadership initiative, visit www.plantemoran.com/about/women-in-leadership/Pages/mission-vision.aspx.

Plante Moran has a staff of more than 2,000 professionals in 21 offices throughout Michigan, Ohio and Illinois, with international offices in Shanghai, China; Monterrey, Mexico; and Mumbai, India.

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