Leading with empathy, creating a culture of inclusion, and providing a pathway to professional success

  • Deanna Salo

    Deanna Salo

By Deanna Salo
Cray, Kaiser Ltd.
Updated 11/8/2021 8:38 AM

Leaders and employers tend to hire people like them or who fit within a specific mold, which leads many new employees to feel they need to act a certain way to fit the company culture. But it is not in the best interest of the employer or the employee.

The truth is, the most successful companies have a culture that allows employees to be their authentic selves in the workplace, and empathy -- the ability to understand and share the feelings of another -- is the key.


As an accounting firm we are, of course, numbers people. But more importantly, we are people people. We value the person. Every member of our team has something to offer to the success of our clients and our firm. We hire to add value, not for fit.

I've "grown up" at Cray Kaiser and have had the opportunity to get to really know our people. The relationships and connections we build as a team are significant contributors to our success. Studies have shown that when individuals know their supervisor cares about them, they are more likely to support their co-workers, come up with new ideas and contribute more. As managing principal, I am committed to continuing a people-focused leadership approach and providing succinct pathways to help develop new talent. As our firm's first female managing partner, I am especially proud of our firm's support of women in public accounting. Today, 54% of CK is women-owned and 48% of CK staff are female.

Vital to developing the leadership skills of all members of the CK team is professional development within our CPA firm and opportunities outside of our workspace. We value professional development on soft skills as much as technical skills to enhance our staff's abilities. In addition, our internal mentorship program offers team members a lane to explore opportunities and receive performance feedback based on goals and outcomes. The firm also supports external mentorship and professional connections apart from the organization.

One unique aspect of being part of CK is the ability to work on assurance and tax projects early on in every team member's time with the firm. In doing so, we help every individual explore varying aspects of public accounting and develop a unique skill set. Our focus on the individual extends to offering team members flexibility in scheduling their contributions as life situations change, be it the birth of a child or the illness of a parent.

Are you looking for a new path that provides a rich team environment while offering a hybrid work model? We're always looking for team members who are people as much as numbers people. To learn more about CK, we invite you to visit www.craykaiser.com.

• Deanna Salo, CPA, is managing principal at Cray, Kaiser Ltd.

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