Getting to Know Kathy Powers BY KATHLEEN HOFFELDER, NJCPA SENIOR CONTENT EDITOR
improve operations are big parts of her job. “I have the ability to impact those individuals that we serve. I get to do so many different things,” she adds. Having worked with Matheny as a client previously as well as other nonprofits, Kathy was able to easily understand the organization’s many lines of business including its adult and children’s hospital, educational center and adult resident community; hire the right resources; and fit in with its unique culture. “I had to slow down. I was used to going fast, fast, fast, but you have to slow down, and you have to listen,” she explains.
The New Jersey Society of CPAs welcomes Kathleen F. Powers, CPA, chief financial officer of Matheny Medical and Educational Center of Peapack, as its 2022/23 president beginning June 1, replacing outgoing president Harry P. Wills, III, CPA, MBA, a partner with Voorhees-based Bowman & Company LLP. Knowing how to not only listen, but listen well, helped propel Kathy to her current positions with both the NJCPA and Matheny. Prior to becoming NJCPA president, Kathy was a member of the Board of Trustees for the past three years and participated in several groups including the Governmental Accounting & Auditing Interest Group, Nonprofit Interest Group, Finance Committee and Business & Industry Professionals Interest Group. Before joining Matheny, she worked more than 15 years in public accounting, most recently at ParenteBeard (now Baker Tilly). “I spent all but the last seven years in public accounting. I think that truly prepared me for the job I have now. As a CPA, you are managing people, but also managing expectations. You are managing client expectations, those above you and you are also managing your staff,” she explains. “You are learning to work with people with different personalities and points of view.” Thinking strategically and working to
SUMMER 2022 | NEW JERSEY CPA
LOOKING FORWARD As NJCPA president, Kathy will look to espouse the advantages of working in corporate and nonprofit settings to the next generation of CPAs since they may not realize the many benefits of those kind of jobs and what’s needed to get there. According to Kathy, being CFO is a very hands-on, strategic role, saying, “I really had to roll up my sleeves and get into the weeds.” Always an advocate of women’s equity, Kathy will also focus on enhancing women’s leadership in the accounting profession. Currently the manager of about 40 individuals on staff, she explains that the COVID-19 pandemic did offer flexibility in terms of schedules for many
individuals, but particularly women, who are managing households, adding, “which is all we ever wanted.” Mentoring has helped women, she notes, but to truly move the needle forward on diversity, equity and inclusion there needs to be more of those willing to “go to bat” for them and “invite them to the table,” not just advise from afar. “It’s important for women to see themselves in other people and important to pull each other up,” she adds. “Women have made great strides in getting to the C-suite level but it’s still too few.” LEARNING FROM THE PAST Positive career influences came at an early age from Kathy's parents as well as her grandfather, who earned his CPA license in his 50s. Her mother, who worked in the banking industry while she was growing up, encouraged her and her three siblings to be “independent and strong.” Already knowing the benefits of being a CPA, she acknowledged, “I always wanted to be a CPA; it was never my immediate goal to be a CFO, but I always wanted to be a CPA.” Married, with two daughters in high school and college, respectively, Kathy is still hopeful about passing that CPA tradition on to at least one more family member. Learn more about Kathy at njcpa.org/ about/board.
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