Recognizing the importance of recruiting, developing and retaining talented women in the accounting, business consulting and technology industries, Dean Dorton, launched an internal Women’s Initiative Committee last fall. During its initial year the Committee has made significant impacts across the firm.
The Women’s Initiative Committee’s mission is to promote a firm culture that provides women with support, mentorship and training in order to fully develop their potential as leaders. The Committee, comprised of seven women across multiple service lines and office locations, represents a total of 132 female team members in the firm. The Committee spent the last year identifying potential barriers women face both in the industry and at Dean Dorton through various means, including a survey of the women in the firm.
As a result of the survey and discussions with team members, the Committee created a monthly breakfast series to allow all women of Dean Dorton to interact and learn from each other. The breakfast meetings include conversations with recognized female leaders in the community, panels of Dean Dorton leaders sharing their stories and advice and opportunities for women of the firm to build and strengthen social connections.
“The monthly breakfasts have been a great avenue for the women at Dean Dorton to connect with one another,” said Natalie Schuler, manager of Tax Services and Chair of the Women’s Initiative Committee. “The two panel discussions with our own women leaders led to very open and honest discussions. I am grateful to work for a firm that supports this kind of open dialogue.”
The Committee also recently launched a pilot mentoring program specifically designed to support women in reaching their leadership goals, pairing Committee members with leaders within the firm. Once the program is fully established, the Committee members will become mentors to other women within the firm.
Realizing the impact that workplace benefits has on an employee’s job satisfaction and retention, the Women’s Initiative Committee worked with firm leadership to enhance the firm’s maternity leave benefit. The Committee also established a family leave benefit designed for team members—both men and women—needing to take off for family medical reasons, which includes the birth of a child.
“I am impressed with the strides the Women’s Initiative Committee has made over the last year,” said David Bundy, CEO and president of Dean Dorton. “When we first started this program, I wanted to make sure we were doing something that actually makes a difference and not just creating a group to have a name. More than half our firm is comprised of women, and we have always had strong female role models within the firm. For several years we have noticed an increase in turnover among our female team members after a certain point in a woman’s career. We selected a group of women who would work to help us change that narrative. The Committee has not taken the task at hand lightly and achieved a great deal thus far. I’m excited to see the accomplishments in future years both from a career development and talent standpoint for the firm.”