Blog Archive

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

ALPFA Exposed

by Nelly Montoya, Assurance Senior Associate, San Francisco
and Michael Gerlach, Assurance Director, Chicago

The 2014 installment of the Annual ALPFA Convention was held August 2-6 in Lake Buena Vista, FL. Under the direction of Rich Caturano, McGladrey leadership chose approximately 25 professionals to represent the firm at the convention to learn more about the importance of diversity and inclusion, increase the familiarity of McGladrey in the professional and educational environments, and get to know the professionals and students attending. We were two of the lucky attendees that got to experience what ALPFA is all about and we’d like to share a little of that with you. But first, some background on ALPFA and the convention:

ALPFA (Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting) was established in 1972 and currently has over 23,000 professional and student members. The organization is the successor of the American Association of Hispanic Certified Public Accountants and was one of the first national associations of Latino professionals in the United States. With such rich history, it is no surprise that McGladrey has chosen ALPFA as one of the organizations to partner with in connection with its Culture Diversity and Inclusion initiative.

Every year, ALPFA hosts a national convention that brings together over 3,000 of the top Latino and other minority students and professionals from some of the biggest and best firms and companies (McGladrey, Big 4 firms, Merrill Lynch, Charles Schwab, BNY Mellon, Walmart, Disney, State Street, Johnson & Johnson, etc.) for a few days in order to focus on professional development, networking and leadership. The sponsors of the convention host both technical and soft-skill workshops for professionals and students, women of ALPFA events, a scholarship luncheon, a career fair and a closing black-tie gala, which all allow convention attendees the opportunity to tailor their convention experience. Additionally, the local chapter of the host city for the convention hosts several after-hours social events that really allow convention attendees to build lasting professional and personal relationships.

Having no idea of what to expect from the convention, we were completely blown away by the energy and excitement every single attendee exhibited throughout the entire five days. For us, it was truly an eye opening experience and by far one of the best professional conventions we have attended. The opportunity to introduce McGladrey to hundreds of students via the Jenga challenge workshop we hosted and the YouTube “Personalities Wanted” challenge were truly inspiring. (Plus, Michael being able to say his team won the Jenga challenge was exciting for him!) The tremendous feedback we received from the students highlighted how McGladrey made one of the biggest impressions of many of the companies in attendance. The excerpts from emails we received from students across the country, which we have included below, exemplify the energy McGladrey professionals put forth in taking a vested interest in each student. As a result of the conference, many students we met have since been through the McGladrey interview process and will be joining McGladrey in the next few months. In addition to meeting professionals and students outside of McGladrey, we also had an opportunity to meet other passionate McGladrey professionals committed to career development and to building a pipeline of talent to better serve McGladrey’s middle market clients. Words cannot express what a wonderful experience we had and we encourage all professionals to become involved.

Student excerpts:

I wanted to thank you for your time and effort that you took out of your busy schedule to come to the convention. It was a pleasure talking to you about what McGladrey has to offer and especially the social responsibility initiatives that have been initiated. I am glad to have shared my campus experiences and especially the non-profit MADE microfinance. I was interested and amazed about the community service initiatives that you and your team have taken.
-Student at Robert H. Smith School of Business, University Of Maryland College Park

It was a pleasure to be able to meet you at the ALPFA convention. Thanks again for inviting Marcela, Melissa, and me to sit with you and the other McGladrey professionals at the gala. It certainly shows how much McGladrey values students and wanted to get to know us on a more personal level. It was truly an honor and that definitely set McGladrey apart.
-Student at Florida International University

I would like to thank you for taking the time to speak with me about the Audit Summer 2015 Internship at McGladrey. It was a great pleasure meeting with you, I learned a lot about the culture, leadership philosophy, core values at McGladrey. Most importantly, I had the opportunity of getting to know you personally and professionally. I am very enthusiastic about the possibility of a career with McGladrey and working under your guidance.
​-Student at University of California, Riverside

It was a pleasure meeting you at the ALPFA National Convention and having you as an adviser for our team in the Jenga Structure Challenge! I really enjoyed this interactive workshop as it provided insight on my leadership style and the dynamics of a team in the public accounting profession. It was also interesting to hear about your experience and how you transitioned into your current role in Financial Services at McGladrey. Your story helped emphasize the fact that there is no set path that one needs to take to end up in public accounting. This is refreshing to hear, especially for me, as I prepare to decide where I will begin my career and how I can achieve my career goals.
-Student at Robert H. Smith School of Business

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