This month we are proud to feature Mary Rapp MacBain in our Leadership spotlight. Mary is the President and CEO of the Kansas Society of CPAs. She describes her role implementing the strategic plan of the KSCPA and leading the KSCPA team as a “dream come true.” She has surrounded herself with a team of people who have a vision for the future and who are dedicated to helping others succeed. She strives to open doors for young professionals who want to lead and appreciates being in a position to make this possible at both the state and national level.
Leadership can sometimes feel like somewhat of a roller-coaster, taking us through a spectrum of feelings, emotions and experiences. Mary describes leading as challenging, heartbreaking and rewarding. In her guest blog post below, Mary lets us take a peek into what leading her team has been like and what she has learned along the way.
The Challenge, Heartbreak, and Reward of Leadership
Leading is challenging, heartbreaking, and rewarding. My first challenge as the President and CEO of the Kansas Society of CPAs was filling the shoes of a long-term, effective leader who had a different leadership style than me. Heartbreak came shortly thereafter, when I recognized that to be effective, the team had to change. The reward is having developed a team that reflects my leadership values and is committed to achieve the same goals within the profession.
My leadership style focuses on the conceptual - vision, mission, strategies, and goals while clearly stating what the leadership of our organization expects. What we do on a day-to-day basis echoes these expectations. Creativity, flexibility, high energy, and teamwork describe how we get things done. While each person oversees specific activities, we are all part of every project.
I knew I was truly leading when one of my team members said, “We’ve got your back.” This sense of respect goes for everyone in the organization. Everyone understands the importance of working together to meet our goals. Mistakes happen, yet we all understand the standard is to achieve excellence and to provide unparalleled customer service.
It is my responsibility to communicate the vision and strategies of our leadership, to teach, to authorize, to make decisions, to create an open environment, and to recognize achievements. Each member of the team is a leader and the reward comes in watching them grow and achieve goals. Team input is critical because it grants permission to everyone to uncover the options so that we can evolve, always asking, “How can we do a better job?” The challenge is making the decisions on which option to select and accepting responsibility for decisions that don’t turn out so great.
We also work together with a clear commitment to support each other. As John Lennon stated, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” We are all human and have lives outside of work that we need to balance. Sometimes the balance tilts to work and sometimes to life. As individuals, we have different balance needs at different times. As a team, however, we are in perfect balance because we truly have each other’s back.
Mary Rapp MacBain, CPA.CITP, CGMA