That sense of community extends into the office, says Butch Anderson, a 1981 UNR graduate and partner-in-charge of Eide Bailly’s Nevada offices. He enjoys the comradery among his fellow UNR alumni. “Almost everyone here is a Nevada graduate. It’s awesome. We all have similar experiences and received similar education. It’s really a lot of fun. We go to alumni events and sporting events together,” he says. “It’s good to give back to the institution that helped me get to where I am today.” When Eide Bailly’s UNR graduates talk about their alma mater, they emphasize how both the university and internships prepare students for the workforce. Combining the intimacy of a small campus with the dynamics of a large campus and student body ensures students have the best of both worlds, O’Carroll says. O’Carroll’s path to UNR and Eide Bailly started four years into her college education. She was a nutrition major who tried accounting at the spur of the moment. The “A” she earned in her first class encouraged her to continue the accountant career path. She was the first female partner elected at her previous firm, and she strives to especially encourage women to pursue accounting careers. “I think there’s a lot I can share with our female staff particularly, like it’s very doable to have a career and be a mom,” she says. Eide Bailly has made it a point to nurture a firmwide culture where women are as likely to succeed as men. First Focus, its women’s initiative, helps empower the women of the firm to accomplish all that they can in what has traditionally been a male-dominated industry. Since the inception of First Focus, the percentage of women partners in the firm has grown from 19 percent to 27 percent. O’Carroll was awarded the President’s Medal in 2016 (an award that honors individuals who have contributed substantially to the advancement of the university), and she’s an emerita trustee of the University Foundation, previously serving as chair of the foundation and Vice Chair of Finance. She also received the Nevada Alumni Association Professional Achievement Award in 2008 and is currently chair of the Sanford Center for Aging Oversight Committee. “The university played an important role in my career. I Eide Bailly partners : want to see it continue to grow • Butch Anderson ‘81 and keep inspiring students to reach for their dreams. The • Daniel Carter ‘06 work going on around campus • Kristen Chinvarasopak is truly amazing and provides an • Todd Ferguson ‘85 opportunity for all to pursue an education,” she says. • Kirk Gardner ‘84 Eide Bailly attracts graduates • Caesar Ibarra ‘00 with benefits such as tuition reimbursement, a fun work • Mike Klaich ‘82 environment, focus on work-life • Felicia O’Carroll ‘76 balance, and opportunities for growth. Interns often become • Lauren Sankovich ‘98
Eide Bailly’s Felicia O’Carroll, Butch Anderson and Lauren Sankovich pose in their Wolf Pack gear.
full-time employees who start their careers at the firm. Part of ushering in the new generation of CPAs is helping them see that accounting is more than numbers, O’Carroll says. “It’s about communication, with your client, your own staff, and making sure everything happens at the right time and the right way,” she says. Sankovich says one of her roles as a partner is to encourage students to be enthusiastic about accounting. “The people are my favorite part. You know you’re doing your job when you can teach someone and they’re excited about it,” she says. “We get to see it all working here. We’re growing. This is a small community and the students are a big part of it.” Qualities that attracted partners like Sankovich, O’Carroll and Anderson to the university are similar to what attracted them to Eide Bailly—a commitment to community and a small-town feel that offers endless opportunities. “The people are genuine. They are some of the nicest people I’ve ever worked with. That’s what drives me in the morning, to come to work with people I like,” Anderson says. “It’s all about the culture and a connection between the firm and university.” That culture is key to Eide Bailly’s continued growth and success. The regional firm serves 59,000 clients across the nation and currently has 29 offices in 13 states. Even as it continues to grow, each individual office has a small family feel, making it easy for students to feel at home. “The businesses here and the university work as a team to ensure students are happy and have jobs after college,” Sankovich says. “Most of all, it’s just about giving back to the community and to the university some of what they gave to us.” ■ The College of Business Alumni Magazine
University of Nevada, Reno College of Business Magazine 2016-2017