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Ohio CPA Foundation mentors and mentees attend annual MLK Breakfast

Written on May 1, 2020

By Molly Ryan Kowaleski, OSCPA PR & Engagement Manager

The Ohio Society of CPAs’ STRIVE Mentorship Program hosted a table at Monday’s 34th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Breakfast at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

MLK_Breakfast19STRIVE stands for “Success Through Retention, Inclusion, Visibility and Engagement.” It’s a new initiative from The Ohio CPA Foundation that seeks to address issues related to the lack of diversity, inclusion and equity in the accounting profession. Through a tiered mentorship family structure, the goal is to open access to and retain underrepresented talent at all levels of the accounting field by facilitating mentorship relationships between high school students, college students and emerging professionals.

The breakfast, which was hosted by the MLK Breakfast Committee, Inc., is held each year to commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to promote social welfare.

“We felt it was important to have a presence at this year’s breakfast because it was a reminder that there is still much work to be done in achieving Martin Luther King’s legacy,” said Sierra Austin, Ph.D., manager of diversity and inclusion at OSCPA. “We talked about the continued fight for civil rights and about how to create change in the accounting profession for marginalized groups.”

This year’s keynote speaker, Dr. John B. King Jr., was the secretary of education under President Barack Obama. Additionally, three young people delivered orations and the Capriccio Columbus Choir, Columbus Children’s Choir and Dance E.L.I.T.E. Performance Academy performed.

“It was really impactful to hear from Dr. John B. King Jr. at the breakfast. He framed his keynote around education, mentorship and the power of our young people,” said Austin. “At our table, we discussed the many movements for liberation in our country that have been created and organized by youth. Youth truly are our future. This is the message we’re hoping to cultivate in the minds of our STRIVE participants.”

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Breakfast is the largest United States event of its kind, with thousands in attendance this year.

To learn more about STRIVE or get involved, contact Sierra Austin.

PHOTO: Pictured, left to right, are Aisha Watkins, CPA, of Cardinal Health; Amari Dryden of EY; Faith Nimely of The Ohio State University and Jordon Marsh, CPA, of Crowe.