This week’s podcast guest has more celebrated achievements than worth listing; Jessica McClain’s leadership and innovation continually spur our industry forward, and I’m excited to share our conversation with all of you. We talked about how in this day and age, women are to be awarded opportunities that our ancestors would only have dreamed of. Accounting organizations have carved out spaces for women to be themselves, and Jessica has insight on how to make the most of these spaces. In this episode, we talk about what it takes to succeed as a woman in business, how to effectively manage a mentorship relationship, and so much more. I hope you enjoy our conversation!
1. People don’t succeed on their own
Jessica credits her fascination with accounting to a substitute teacher, who shared her journey as a tax accountant with Jessica at a young age. Young people want to become what they see, she says, and sharing your story is just one way to engage with your community to ensure that you can succeed while lifting others. Giving back is how we move forward.
2. Be unapologetically ambitious
Jessica beautifully worded her gratitude for the opportunity to be ambitious; to take the circumstances in front of her and make the most of them in honour of those who were not afforded such opportunity. For the women and minorities who have been excluded from these options, be unapologetically ambitious when working on reaching your goals. Don't let other people define success for you - determine what works for you and your family, and do so with pride in the opportunity.
3. Don’t tell yourself no
Ask for what you want. Don’t be afraid. Whether it's a promotion, wanting to work on a new project, getting a pay increase, changing your work schedule, or a desire to attend a conference for your business. Don’t tell yourself no, just ask for it. Since you can’t get what you don’t ask for, there’s not a lot to lose. Jessica holds this lesson, from her mother, close to her heart, and recommends others to do the same - because you truly never know - they just might say yes!
4. BONUS: Mentorship requires engagement and commitment
If you’re seeking a mentor, Jessica recommends reaching out to your state societies, university, employers, and the industry or business organizations that work in a field of your interest. She’s adamant that mentees ensure they can be fully engaged and follow through with the time commitments of the mentorship if they are seeking guidance in order to be respectful of others’ time. To strategize, she recommends clarifying exactly what your goals are so that you can identify the best possible mentor.
🎧 To learn more about Jessica’s journey, women in accounting, or to gain more mentorship advice from Cece Leung, listen to the Dear Accountant podcast here.
🎙 The “Dear Accountant” podcast is a uniquely insightful and entertaining podcast for aspiring young business professionals. Each episode is packed with actionable advice to help young finance professionals get ready for whatever challenge they may face next. Aside from all of the many cool things in accounting (technical topics and trends), we bring in industry experts and influential leaders to share their journey, insights, and perspectives. We will also cover topics that were not taught in school - life essential skills such as personal finance, emotional intelligence, mentorship, networking, body language, and human behaviours, and so much more!
💬 About our guest, Jessica McClain: Jessica McClain is a powerhouse; she currently serves as the Chief Financial Officer of Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital and as an Adjunct Accounting Professor at Nichols College, where she teaches Current Issues in Accounting. Jessica has dedicated her accounting career to helping young women strive for success, and continues to engage with areas of impact such as DEI, Project Management, Relationship Leadership, and serving on the board of not-for-profits. Jessica has sustained excellence in managing multiple and complex projects, driving organizational efficiencies while working with all levels within the organization. Finally, Jessica’s high integrity, tremendous tenacity, and work ethic, when combined with her creative mindset, lead to solid Audit engagements and corrective actions. We’re so excited to have had the chance to speak with her today!
📖 Get amazing advice from the 20 mentors in “Dear Accountant” Book: The book offers a unique immersion into the lives and careers of 20 inspiring leaders in finance from different disciplines - their backstories, pivotal moments, career trajectories, and hiccups along the way.
🎧 Listen to Cece’s interviews about her passion and mission in writing this book and paying it forward to help young professionals to find meaning and fulfillment in their life and career: