“May I ask what kind of job you have?” It was the first question asked by my daughter’s sixth grade teacher during the parent-teacher conference. He admitted his interest had been piqued after reading my daughter’s essay: “On the first day of school, I opened my eyes at 5 a.m. with excitement, and came down to the first floor to find my mom hard at work under the dim kitchen lights. As usual.”
My life as a mother, CPA, and non-native English speaker hasn’t been easy. To survive in the battlefield of work, to overcome my innate shortcomings, and to assimilate in America, I had to put in the effort.
I was always a busy mother, and when it hit me last year that I only had six years before my youngest left for college, my heart crumbled with the realization that the minutes on the clock to be a good, involved mom were running low. I had doubts about a work-life balance in a public accounting setting, but I decided to apply to Kreischer Miller after speaking with my friend, Vinita Weir, who is an Audit & Accounting Manager at the firm, and reading current employee articles on the Careers blog.
I’ve now been working here for one year. In addition to work-life balance, these are several of the reasons why I value working at Kreischer Miller:
- The Gift of Imperfection – At one of KM’s Book Club events, the selected book was called The Gift of Imperfection. The way I traditionally understood it, a company’s sole purpose is to maximize profit, therefore expecting all employees to be perfect in the pursuit of that profit. So how could KM choose The Gift of Imperfection as a company-sponsored read? It came as a shock. I had always done my best to reach perfection in all aspects of my life and felt guilty whenever I failed to reach that bar. But within this circle, I learned that everyone else feared failure as much as I did and that here at KM, it was okay to fall short of that illusion of perfection. I felt reassured that the firm understood and embraced individuals who were imperfect, like me.
- KM Family – On my birthday, a hand-written card with bright, shiny confetti was delivered from two unexpected individuals, Chris Meshginpoosh (the firm’s managing director) and Todd Crouthamel (leader of the firm’s Audit & Accounting group). Over the next few months, I received a flurry of holiday cards and e-mails from directors and managers expressing gratitude for my hard work. I received a box of chocolates with a thank you note while working from home. Surprise, surprise! It was more than a surprise, really. While admiring shiny confetti, eating my chocolates, and reading cards and e-mails, I found myself asking the same question with a smile on my face. Who am I at KM? Am I considered more than an employee? Yes, it was the sense of belonging and of being cared for. That was special, and I found comfort within this family-like community.
- Career Progression – I participated in a variety of engagement projects, ranging from not-for-profit audits to employee benefit plan audits. I learned that I can reach out to anyone for help and that the workplace doesn’t need to feel like a battlefield. I came to realize that not knowing something wasn’t a personal failure. I came to learn that there are always team members around me who can offer guidance and instruction. During the non-busy season, I received heartfelt advice from Kevin Gloviak, my career counselor, and Vinita Weir, my “buddy” (who were both assigned to me when I first began working at the firm). I had a chance to be closer to clients by joining a client’s holiday party with Maxine Romano, the leader of the firm’s Not-For-Profit industry group. I took CPE courses, read articles from accounting magazines, and had a moment to stop and think about what path I wanted to take for my future professional growth. I felt confident that I had found a career path that fits me and an environment in which everyone looks out for each other.
- Human Leadership – With the outbreak of COVID-19, I have gained a better understanding of how the leadership of a company can significantly impact its employees. Kreischer Miller has a strong will to overcome these difficult times and protect its employees. The firm has held Town Hall meetings to communicate its plans and provide us with accurate and timely information. Chris’ inspirational speeches have given me an indescribable sense of security. The work-from-home policy reflects the value the company places on its employees’ physical and mental health. The idea that my employer values what’s best for me and my family has helped alleviate anxiety during this stressful era.
- Moving Out of My Comfort Zone – With the help of Kristin Seeger, the firm’s director of talent acquisition, I joined Ascend, a non-profit Pan Asian Organization for business professionals in North America. Various lectures and conferences taught me the value of my identity. I learned how to break out of my shell as a minority and how to move forward, step by step. I learned that my cultural perspective could be an important factor in creating the melting pot at KM.
Over the last year, I’ve laughed more, learned more, and carved out more time for my children. For several months throughout the year, the firm has allowed us the option to end our Fridays two and a half hours early, which has increased happiness in our house (for both me and my children). I’ve been somewhat relieved of the pressure of perfectionism. I feel a sense of security that I am part of a family, the KM community. I feel confident that I am able to burst out of the shell that has caged me in for so long. Above all, I have been motivated to contribute to the development of KM and embrace its unique and beautiful culture.
I am thankful to work at Kreischer Miller and am excited to continue to build strong relationships and grow on both a personal and professional level!
Yunmee Yu is a senior accountant in Kreischer Miller’s Audit & Accounting Group. She joined Kreischer Miller in 2019 after working for a mid-sized public accounting firm for six years. She graduated from the University of Texas, Dallas, with a master’s degree in accountancy. In her free time, Yunmee enjoys hiking, watching movies, and traveling with family.
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