Stephanie Bowie, CPA
Program Manager – Defense Finance & Accounting Service (DFAS)
You are a member of the United States Army Reserve. Thank you for your service! What role has being in the military played in your career?
Founder – B. Empowered Leadership Academy
Serving is my honor, and I’ve been able to do so for over 20 years now. I joined the Indiana National Guard in 1992, then transitioned to Active Duty and now the Army Reserves. My military service is something I’m very proud of, and has formed my current outlook, mindset and leadership philosophy.
I learned several skills I still lean on to this day: how to be a professional; the importance of being technically proficient; and what a leader must be, know and do. I also learned how to thrive in and build diverse and inclusive environments with people who don’t look, vote or worship like me.
The highlight of my career was my deployment to Kabul, Afghanistan in 2009 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. I was the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of the Camp Eggers finance office. It was a bit nerve-racking sleeping in a small room next to a vault containing $1.2M!
You have shifted your career goals and are now launching a training company, working on your first book and seeking public speaking opportunities. What are you speaking about?
One of the most important areas I conduct training in is character development, with a focus on integrity. I believe lasting success is predicated on a foundation of integrity, which I define as alignment of one’s core values, beliefs and actions. I am now working to build my love for training, speaking and writing into a business and brand.
Why did you decide to become a CPA?
I became a CPA to prove to myself I could do it. It was a key accomplishment in my journey toward self-confidence. When I decided to major in accounting and finance, I knew the pinnacle of the field was becoming a licensed CPA, but I had heard how tough the Exam was and struggled to believe I could pass it.
In January 2020 I accomplished my goal of becoming a licensed CPA! I’m now working on a book detailing my journey and sharing the mindset and methods I used to overcome obstacles.
You’ve volunteered during CPA Week to speak with high school students about your CPA journey. What have you taken away from that experience?
I had an amazing experience speaking with accounting students at Warren Central High School in Indianapolis. I was so impressed by the lively conversation we had and the challenging questions they asked. Considering the current conversations surrounding K–12 education, and the long-standing homogeneity of the CPA profession, I feel a strong call to action to use my experience, stories and voice to further efforts toward a more diverse and inclusive profession.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Sharing knowledge with others. My best days are when I’m designing and developing an experience that will enlighten people, whether the topic is bookkeeping, process improvement, accounting for appropriations or leadership. I know I will spend my lifetime embracing every opportunity to build others up and help them achieve their goals.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the profession?
Practice professional authenticity to the greatest degree possible. Be willing to open up and share your differences, especially cultural. The work of building diverse, equitable and inclusive workspaces starts with each of us “owning” the things that make us unique. It’s important for leaders to experience beliefs, viewpoints and worldviews different from their own.
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