June 20, 2019

Turning Legacy into Change - Supercharging Our Young Leaders for the Future

June 20, 2019

Jessica Dwyer, CPA

An Ignite Blog by: Jessica Dwyer, CPA, Manager, KCoe Isom


The KSCPA’s inaugural young leadership program, the '20 up to 40' Leadership Program, reached legacy status by sparking young CPAs in the State of Kansas to become engaged in the profession as both active participants and leaders. Evidence of this is that about half of the KSCPA’s current Board of Directors are '20 up to 40' program graduates, and countless other graduates are active participants. However, legacies can fall in today’s business environment if there is a failure to evolve or innovate. The most recent examples of this are Sears and Toys R Us. Tomorrow’s landscape can’t be navigated with yesterday’s map, so a new map was drawn and from it the legacy '20 up to 40' program evolved into L2F: LEAD TO THE FUTURE, Leadership-Elite Network.

'20 up to 40' Transformed
There are differences between the two programs but what remains is helping young leaders develop the skills needed to be business athletes of the future. Through my involvement in the '20 up to 40' program as both a 2014 graduate and mentor to future classes, I have built many new relationships that have enriched both my professional network and personal life. At the beginning of my career, I remember walking into large conference rooms or events that were full of chatter, socialization, and networking. I would walk the perimeter of the event on my tiptoes peering into the crowd looking for a familiar face…other than a co-worker. Maybe I would see one if I was lucky and try to introduce myself to someone new but I couldn’t help but wonder how on earth these people all knew each other and their interpersonal dialogue sounded like the knew each other for years.

The '20 up to 40' program helped open the door from the perimeter to the middle of the room. The L2F program, much like the '20 up to 40' program, will provide the opportunity to build relationships and communication skills which are both traits of effective business athletes and can enhance one’s personal life and overall career satisfaction.

My “Ah-Ha!” Moment
The program goes beyond offering leadership development training and networking opportunities. My biggest “Ah-Ha!” moment was during participation in CPA Day at the Statehouse in Topeka which remains an event for the L2F program. Before this experience I did not have a full awareness of the reach and impact of the CPA profession on the world around us nor did I have a full understanding of how much the profession is trusted.

When I was in Topeka for the '20 up to 40' program, there were fires burning related to state income taxes. Our elected officials come from diverse backgrounds and the majority oftentimes do not have technical expertise related to the bills they are voting on to become law.  I saw firsthand how deeply involved the KSCPA team and its members are with our elected officials to help them understand the implications of laws impacting the entire state. Our elected officials look to CPAs to help them understand the implications and trusted their advice.

Reconnect and Have a Blast with Fellow Grads at the 10-Year Program Reunion!
To kick-off the inaugural L2F program, the KSCPA is hosting a 10-year reunion of all '20 up to 40' program graduates. I invite all '20 up to 40' program graduates to join me at the reunion where we will be welcoming the L2F inaugural class. The reunion is Speakeasy-themed, so please join us in having fun in the past before we look toward the future!

SUPERCHARGE THE LEADERS OF THE FUTURE by nominating a bright star for the LEAD TO THE FUTURE, Leadership-Elite Network!

LEAD TO THE FUTURE, Leadership-Elite Network

The Ignite blog is an official publication of the Kansas Society of CPAs. Copyright 2019.