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In 2016, the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) chose its first African-American Chairman of the Board of Directors, Kimberly Ellison-Taylor, CPA, CGMA. With her leadership experience at NASA, Motorola, and Oracle – as well as her active involvement in the AICPA – Ellison-Taylor was a natural choice for the position. During her term as Chairman of the AICPA Board of Directors and beyond, Ellison-Taylor has been a vocal advocate for inclusion and equality in the field of accounting.
Transforming the Business World
Ellison-Taylor’s interest in becoming a CPA started at a third-grade career day when a visiting CPA described their role managing money. For her younger self, “if you managed the money, you were the boss.”
After years of volunteer work, becoming a CPA, and going on to earn a number of advanced degrees, Ellison-Taylor became “the boss.” Throughout her career, she has been a driving force for organizations embracing Cloud computing and Big Data strategy. Notably, Ellison-Taylor’s expertise in accounting and enterprise technology can be seen as a crucial aspect of Oracle’s modernization.
Her implementation of these progressive solutions and her committee work at the AICPA opened the door for her to bring about change as the Chairman of the AICPA Board of Directors. Ellison-Taylor has often described her desire to “pay forward” her success and create opportunities for underserved populations.
In June 2020, Ellison-Taylor published an influential article in the Journal of Accountancy detailing a 12-step plan to “address racism and unconscious bias” in the field of accounting. Her direct stance and attainable steps helped spark the current conversation about the necessity of diversity in the field of accounting.
It is important to celebrate the historic trailblazers who made it possible for women and minorities to achieve success in accountancy—without them, women-owned firms like SDC CPAs (founded by Dee Studler and Krista Doyle) may be even more rare. However, it is just as important to celebrate the modern trailblazers, like Ellison-Taylor, who are creating opportunities for generations to come.