By Brendan Fitzgerald, CPA
2012-2013 Chair of the Executive Board
At the end of December, we closed the books on a career that spanned 40 years with the retirement of OSCPA President and CEO Clarke Price, CAE.
On Jan. 31, we welcomed Scott Wiley, CAE to lead us into the future.
I have the unique experience of serving as Chair of the Executive Board at the end of one era and the beginning of a new one. I am tremendously excited about the future of OSCPA under Scott’s direction. The Ohio Society is positioned as a nationally recognized and influential organization. With Scott’s hiring, we expect to continue being out in front of important issues and forge new paths under his leadership.
Scott’s many positive attributes made this a logical decision for the Executive Search Committee. He is a proven association executive coming to us from the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity, where he served as their Executive Director for the past 10 years. His broad experience in many areas of association management will be vital in retaining OSCPA’s position as a top association and driving development of even more innovative programs that serve CPAs and the public interest. He has a strong intellect, a passion for work and a track record of program and staff development. I believe you will find Scott to be a compelling public speaker and a creative, thoughtful leader. Scott will also undoubtedly be called upon to use his significant advocacy experience.
When comparing Scott’s qualities to the list of attributes we desired in a candidate, we found significant similarities and strengths in the right areas. When we also established that Scott was a cultural fit for OSCPA, we knew we had found the right candidate. While his past experience is not in the accounting profession, he impressed us as highly intelligent and a quick study. As a profession, we strive to attract the “best and the brightest.” Scott just happens to be our latest recruit.
Last month’s CPA Voice featured an in-depth story on Scott, his background, family and vision, providing insight into the formative influences on his leadership skills development. He describes the opportunities ahead and the challenges to be addressed with equal enthusiasm. While there are highly visible issues where Scott will be the “face” of OSCPA, he also understands that there is the business of OSCPA that will benefit from his leadership. Since Scott was announced as our new President and CEO in early November, he worked tirelessly to become familiar with our organization and the issues we face. Before he ever had an ohio-cpa.com email address, he was listening and learning about our values, staff, continuing education, advocacy, dues, budgets, Professional Issues Updates, member needs and Society relationships with outside stakeholders. The good news is that he was not scared away.
In Scott’s first week on the job, the Ohio Jobs 2.0 budget was introduced, which includes – among other things – taxes on certain services that previously were exempted.
While Scott and I were talking about OSCPA’s need to poll our members to assist with strategy development, I said, “Welcome to OSCPA.” He immediately commented how excited he was to be involved in an issue that affects both our members and the public. He is also keenly aware of our highly visible efforts to reform the municipal income tax system in Ohio. His advocacy experience will certainly be valuable in that initiative.
It is incumbent upon the Executive Board to set priorities for Scott and staff to carry out. At the same time, the Board’s relationship with Scott will be one of symbiosis. As he engages our members in the coming weeks and months, he will be gathering valuable information about their wants and needs to share with the Board for thoughtful consideration.
There will be instances in the future, as in the past, where OSCPA’s position will be controversial to some members. That is unavoidable. As chairs come and go, Scott will be the one constant. I am convinced we have the right leader to move OSCPA forward. One piece of advice I gave to Scott early on was not to feel compelled to just build upon what he inherited, but to help us forge new paths into the future.