In the latest edition of FICPA Conversations, we’re excited to welcome the incoming Chair of our Young CPA Committee, Alex Welsh!
A graduate of Florida State University, Alex works as a Manager at A-LIGN, where she oversees information security and internal audit engagement. She is also a member of the Women to Watch Awards committee and a past participant of our Emerging Leaders program.
In this Q&A, we discuss the committee’s upcoming CPA Day of Service on Saturday, May 21, and the important role Young CPAs play within the FICPA and the profession at large.
How did you get started in volunteer leadership with the FICPA and what’s experience been like for you so far?
The CEO of A-LIGN, Scott Price, is a past FICPA Chair, and he first encouraged me to get involved with Emerging Leaders.
Oddly enough, I started with the Young CPA Committee right at the beginning of the pandemic. It was an uncertain time, and the virtual interaction really gave you something to look forward to. I’m proud of the way we were able to create a productive and rewarding experience despite the obvious challenges. A lot of the new members who joined during that time are still with the committee, so I think that shows we handled it well. And now that experience is evolving. We’ve gone from having a lot of phone calls and trading emails to doing more and more activities and events in person. It’s been nice to meet everyone finally.
I’m glad that I had that time – during COVID – to make the FICPA a priority, because now I can say that it won’t stop being a priority.
Speaking of in-person events, our CPA Day of Service – organized by the Young CPA Committee – is coming up soon on Saturday, May 21. Can you tell us about your past involvement with the Day of Service and why you’d encourage other FICPA members to get involved and give back?
The Day of Service gives CPAs the chance to give back to their local community, with service projects being organized across the state. You can either join an existing project or start one of your own!
Last year, I was a part of the team in Fort Lauderdale, assisting Project Downtown, and we’ll be partnering with them once again this year. We'll be working directly with the homeless community to make a difference in their day. This is a vulnerable group of people who were hit especially hard the last couple years. Being able to make even a small impact can mean a lot.
I’d encourage anyone on the fence about volunteering to review the list of projects below. This is a great opportunity to connect with other local CPAs and make a difference in your community. Once you get involved, you’ll keep coming back year after year, and maybe week after week. Volunteer work is something that can be a part of your life, and this can be the first step in getting started:
- Habitat Hillsborough: Construction Site, Tampa
- Habitat Hillsborough: ReStore Thrift Store, Tampa
- UCP: Unlocking Children's Potentials Charter Schools, Orlando
- Project Downtown, Fort Lauderdale (Donate)
- Salvation Army, Fort Lauderdale (Donate)
- Cape Coral Animal Shelter, Fort Myers
- Alachua Habitat for Humanity, Gainesville
- Keep Pensacola Beautiful, Pensacola
- Second Harvest of the Big Bend, Tallahassee
As you’ve now progressed from being a member to Vice Chair and Chair, what in your mind makes the Young CPA Committee so special and what kind of role can it play in a member’s FICPA journey?
The Young CPA Committee has my heart because it’s gives you a start. When you’re early in your career, it can be hard to know who to talk to or how to get involved or what you want your career look like. This committee gives you a foot in the door and opens up a world of opportunities. It also advances your personal and professional skills. I’ve found that I’ve excelled at work as a result of the experiences I’ve had being a part of the Young CPAs. Taking advantage of leadership opportunities, navigating speaking engagements, and being creative outside of work have all helped me at work.
And long-term, today’s Young CPAs are tomorrow’s leaders of the profession. You have to practice leadership at different levels, and that’s what the Young CPA Committee offers – that chance to practice, get feedback, learn from it and then succeed.