Blending Family and Career on the Path to Partnership

Weaver’s Empower Impact team caught up with women in leadership roles at the firm to learn more about how they have built successful careers and overcome challenges. These inspiring women had great insights and advice for professionals at every stage in their career.

Ayssa

Kerri Franz, Partner | Employee Benefit Plan Audit Services

When did you decide that being a partner at a public accounting firm was a goal and a fit in your life?

When I graduated from college with a degree in accounting, my goal, like so many others, was to be a partner someday. I ended up reaching that goal, but it took longer than I expected to find the right fit that worked for my life.  I began my career at a small accounting firm, where I progressed to a senior role doing both audit and tax work. Then I had my first baby and my priorities shifted. After about six months, I decided to leave my full-time job to care for my family. Back in the day, you did not hear of anyone progressing in public accounting by working part time or from home, so at that point I thought my career was over.

When did you realize that you could have your career back?

It wasn’t until I came to work at Weaver that I could see the opportunity and a renewed path to my goals. Here, everything is growth driven, I could see that if I worked hard and gained the trust of my colleagues and clients, I could help grow the EBP practice area and have the kind of career I had once envisioned for myself. 

How did you succeed in winning over the sceptics?

Once you have taken a different path, reintegrating is a challenge and you do have to prove yourself and build trust among your colleagues and clients. Working part time does not make your life easier, it takes a lot of self‐discipline, organization skills and good communication to make this kind of work arrangement successful. You will need to organize your work and life differently. You need to be able to prioritize to make sure you are moving forward and able to pivot so that you are able to grow and adapt to needs as they change. At times I have had to put the needs of my work or my family above one another, but my clients and colleagues always knew they could trust me to get the work done.

What to date, do you cherish as your most favorite professional achievement?

My relationship with my clients and colleagues is what I treasure most about my work. However, becoming a partner at Weaver has been my proudest achievement largely because at one point in my life I had given up on it. I give credit to Rance Buss and Weaver for believing in me and giving me that opportunity.

What advice would you give your 25-year-old self? 

Keep going. Keep the faith. When I graduated, I was a driven young woman who  thought there was only one way to reach my goal. I found out there were different paths to the same goal. My journey took longer, but I’m fine with that. As I look back now, I would not change anything.

What life hack would you share with aspiring professionals? 

It's more of mantra than a life hack. I never say no, but I will say when. I try to always be honest about what I can do for people in the time I have available, and then they can make the decision if they need to look elsewhere for help. The key is to be responsive and upfront and then, of course, I make sure to deliver my end of the deal.

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