Date: 8/26/2014
 Doors Open: 6:00pm 
 Location: Biltmore Hotel 
  2151 Laurelwood Road 
  Santa Clara, CA 95054 
 Presentation: "Excel Tips" by Maria Pribyl
   Cost:Day of Event at the Door 
  $40 members 
  $50 guests 
Discount rate, register and pay using Paypal here 
  $35 members 
  $45 guests 




  Maria Pribyl - "Excel Tips"

Maria has been in the training business since 1991 in the capacity of a Computer Trainer, Training Coordinator, Curriculum Developer and Web Designer. She credits her success to her five years' membership in Toastmasters International, culminating in the Distinguished Toastmaster designation.


M. L. Pribyl and Associates specializes in Computer Systems Training and Custom Website Design. As an accomplished computer training instructor, she provides high quality customer service with focus on personal interaction and product quality, in order to provide services which will meet or exceed requirements. Testimonials from former participants indicate how Maria keeps them engaged with the topic as she expresses her passion for excellence. Sharing her vast knowledge, she is patient to ensure that everyone leaves her course with a better skill set. 

(click on a Sponsor to be directed to their website)



- Secretary's Message - 
- July Membership Meeting Recap -
Strengthening Communication through Participation
21 Ways To Motivate Yourself
Who Makes A Better Leader: A Man Or A Woman?

How to Create Relational Databases in Excel 2013


Nicole Letellier

AFWA - Silicon Valley Chapter President 2014-2015

This month has been a difficult one for me as my dear brother lost his battle to lung cancer. The reason
I bring it up is to highlight another benefit of being a member of AFWA. During this difficult time, my
fellow board members have all pitched in to attend to my president's responsibilities for me. I want to
thank all of them and especially Eileen Perry, our President elect, for their diligence in filling in for me.

I was able to travel to be with my family with peace of mind that my duties were well taken care of.
Thank you to all of you from the bottom of my heart!

Being a member of AFWA is being part of a community who cares about their members. It is a
community of people who support each other and in times of need, whether the needs are of
professional or personal nature, my fellow members have been right here to help me. It is one of the
greatest benefits and I am so grateful to be part of this supporting group.

At this month's meeting you will be able to fine tune your excel skills. In today's work landscape, it is
impossible to be in the accounting and finance field without advanced skills in excel. I invite you to
attend this presentation and to bring your questions that our expert presenter will be happy to answer.

In addition to great networking you will leave with increased knowledge that you can use in your everyday tasks.

Looking forward to seeing you on August 26th.



Nicole Sheets

AFWA - Silicon Valley Chapter Secretary 2014-2015


As I was reading Nicole Letellier's previous President's message about what AFWA means to her, I realized that we all have a special story to tell about what AFWA has done for us. I decided to share my thoughts in the newsletter and challenge you to do the same. 


I could say that my journey started with "Be careful what you wish for!" I have been a  member of other organizations and had decided that I wanted to improve my leadership skills. At the time I did not know what a wild ride this would be. I joined a board of another organization and became the Secretary. That first year was quite interesting and I learned a lot. At a dinner at the Biltmore I saw a sign for American Society of Women Accountants, and was intrigued by the name. I am a woman and an accountant; Could this association benefit me? 


After trying to get further information about this association, I determined that at the time the website was horrible and I did not feel confident as to when and where the meetings were. Fate would later step in when my association held a joint meeting with ASWA and I was seated with many of the current board members of ASWA Silicon Valley. These were definitely a great bunch of women and again I felt that this association could benefit me. When I attended my first ASWA Silicon Valley dinner, my term as Secretary for the other association had just ended. Near the end of the dinner, it was mentioned that there were a few board positions still available and were urgently needed to be filled. I thought to myself that I had enjoyed being the Secretary and if that position was available I would take it. 


Well, that was two and a half years ago and I have been on the board as Secretary ever since. I definitely feel I have learned a lot from wonderful women and can confidently say I have improved my leadership skills. Many of these women have become good friends, and I always look forward to seeing them. I attended the National Conference in San Diego a few years ago and was a delegate for the vote on changing the association's name to AFWA - Accounting and Financial Women's Alliance. I was very honored to be part of that decision and feel hopeful that this will open the membership to many more wonderful women. For this term I have also taken on the responsibility of the website so future potential women feel comfortable about coming to our dinners. My journey is far from over and I look forward to what is ahead! 

What's your journey?



Registration is now open!

2014 Accounting & Financial Women's Alliance Annual Conference

Sunday September 28- Wednesday October 1, 2014
Astor Crowne Plaza


Don't miss this opportunity to network with other women in accounting and finance from across the country. Join us in New Orleans and learn from leading experts on ways to develop a variety of your skills. The Accounting & Financial Women's Alliance Annual Conference will be loaded with opportunities for networking, leadership development, education - including CPE credit hours - and fun!


You should attend if you are...

  • Responsible for monitoring developments in accounting, taxation and finance
  • Responsible for the quality and profitability of your company or firm
  • Supervising and/or training accounting and finance staff
  • Interested in developing a network of outstanding professionals.
  • Ready to promote your company or product in today's marketplace
  • A beginner or veteran, with or without a degree, in private or public accounting, finance or academia

What will you learn at the Accounting & Financial Women's Alliance Annual Conference?

  • The latest technical developments in accounting, auditing, finance, tax, management, leadership, government and industry, including e-commerce, and budgeting and accounting software applications
  • Motivational strategies that work
  • Methods for effective management of people and the marketplace
  • Effective means of identifying and responding to economic problems
  • Valuable leadership techniques
  • Means for achieving effective communication
  • Professional contacts in a variety of industries

Need help convincing your organization to send you to our conference? Build your case and read our reasons why you should attend.


Stay tuned for session and registration details!





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AFWA Silicon Valley members and guests attended July's membership meeting for a special presentation about Feng Shui from Feng Shui master Linda Lenore. 





AUGUST NEWSAccountability

By Berranthia Brown, CMI, AFWA National President
August 13, 2014


As National President of the Accounting & Financial Women's Alliance, my communication skills are key to sharing the mission of AFWA. Last month, I traveled with our Executive Director, Ericka Harney, to visit in person with our Honorary Trustees, Robert Half, Ledgent, and Xero, to share the AFWA's 2014-2015 strategic plan and vision. During these meetings, I realized how all my years of AFWA leadership had prepared me for this moment. As my leadership roles evolved with AFWA, so did my communication skills. From Chapter President to National President, each of these experiences challenged me to better communicate and effectively represent our organization.


Effective communication skills allow me to share AFWA's story, present the importance of partnership with our Honorary trustees, and assist Headquarters with obtaining new sponsors and forming new alliance partners.


As a member of AFWA, you can develop your communication skills, both written and oral, in a variety of ways:

  • Serve on the local and/or national board
  • Present as a speaker at the monthly meeting
  • Introduce speakers at local and national meetings
  • Volunteer to write an article on a topic and share it with others for a publication/newsletter

Recently, there was an article in the Forbes magazine, by Susan Tardanico, that listed 5 essential communication practices of effective leaders. I keep these on my desk as a daily reminder.

  1. Mind the say-do gap. Your behavior is your single greatest mode of communication, and it must be congruent with what you say. If your actions don't align with your words, there's trouble. Rule of thumb: it's better to say nothing or delay your communication until you're certain that your actions will ring true.
  2. Make the complex simple. Simplicity has never been more powerful or necessary. Say what you mean in as few words as possible.
  3. Find your own voice. Use language that's distinctly your own.
  4. Be visible. Visibility is about letting your key stakeholders get a feel for who you are and what you care about. Although e-communication serves a valuable purpose, it is no substitute for face-to-face and voice-to-voice communication. Show your people that you're engaged and care about them and their work.
  5. Listen with your eyes as well as your ears. Stop, look and listen. Remember that effective communication is two-way. Good leaders know how to ask good questions, and then listen with both their eyes and ears.

This month, I encourage each of you to challenge your communication skills, become stronger leaders, and share your talents through involvement with AFWA.



from Business Insider
by Paul B. Brown, Inc.
July 28, 2014


You'd like to think you are going to be just as motivated and enthusiastic on Day 1,672 of work as you were when you first began.


But sometimes we can all use a bit of help to keep going.


In the face of the inevitable obstacles you are going to encounter, here are ideas that have worked for me, my friends who run both entrepreneurial and micro businesses, and others I talked to.


1. Necessity.  This one is incredibly underrated which is why I put it first. You have bills that have to be paid and employees who are counting on you. If those two things won't keep you going, I don't know what will.


2. Personal pride.  Although they rarely talk about it publicly, many entrepreneurs are extremely proud of what they have accomplished and take (usually quiet) satisfaction in keeping the enterprise going no matter what problems arise.


3.  A mission to change the world. A significant number of the entrepreneurs and business people I talked to truly believe their offerings will make the world a better place.  It is the deeply help belief in that mission that keeps them going.


4. Quotes. Inspirational quotes were cited by many, but how they used them were as unique as they are.  Some literally had a wall or white board filled with quotes they had discovered through the years, while others took to putting a particular favorite (such as "just keep swimming," from the kids' movie "Finding Nemo") taped to their monitor, or they used a favorite quote as a screensaver.


5. Support groups (Part I). Many entrepreneurs met periodically with other entrepreneurs who could offer words of encouragement and advice when they were stuck.


6. Support groups (Part II).  Even if they did not ask for advice, simply being associated with other successful people made the entrepreneurs I talked to work harder. They didn't want to fall behind their peers.


7. Consider the alternative.  This one, too, took two forms.  To keep themselves going, some entrepreneurs either thought back to the days before they started their companies and recalled how unhappy they were working for someone else. Or they pictured what it would be like to once again have a boss.  Either image, they said, was enough to keep them going.


8.  "I'll show them." More people than I would have thought say they keep going no matter what to prove to all the people "who told me I would never be successful, that they were wrong."


9. A legacy.  Knowing that their company may be the only real thing they are remembered for, or hoping that their kids will take over the business someday, keeps many entrepreneurs going, when times get tough or they simply get tired.


10. Build up momentum.  Goals like: $500,000 in sales within the first year can sound awfully daunting from a standing start, i.e. you are beginning with no revenues.  But, if you say, "let's get $41,666.66 coming in this month; and $41,666.66 next month," the numbers don't seem as big, and you get a chance to celebrate 12 small wins, as well as the one big one, when you hit $500,000 in sales.

from Forbes
by Sebastian Bailey, Contributor
July 23, 2014



In 2012, women held just 3.8% of Chief Executive Officer positions in Fortune 500 companies, and 90 out of 535 seats in US Congress.  Much has been written about why women are so severely underrepresented in senior leadership - from poor childcare provisions to institutional bias. One thing researchers can't agree on is whether there are fewer women leaders because they're less effective at the job, or because society expects them to be.


One theory goes that society generally associates successful leadership with stereotypically 'masculine' traits such as assertiveness and dominance, and so disapproves of female leaders because they violate these gender norms. As a result women experience greater obstacles to reaching the upper echelons. In the 1970s Virginia Schein came up with the phrase 'think manager-think male' to explain the automatic association between leadership and masculinity - an association which still exists, in certain circumstances, today (see a previous post  here). But with the recent rise of transformational leadership and its emphasis on traditionally 'feminine' traits like empathy, collaboration and emotional intelligence, could the expectations of female leaders be shifting?


Of course, there is no universal rule: different individuals are differently suited to different situations, and context is, as ever, king. To that end, a study published recently in the Journal of Applied Psychology aimed to add a more nuanced insight to the 'male vs female leaders' debate. By analyzing the results of 99 different studies that measured leaders' effectiveness from 1962 to 2011, the researchers were able to unpick the situations in which male or female leaders excelled.


Perhaps unsurprisingly, the results suggested that the culture of the organization makes a difference: in traditionally male dominated, masculine organizations like government or the military, male leaders were more effective , while women triumphed in more 'feminine' environments like social services and education . Interestingly, under the vague umbrella term 'business', female leaders also came out on top.

<Read More>

from PCWorld
by Julie Sartain

Excel used to be the poor schmuck's database, with spreadsheets that just sort of sat there. You could create something more sophisticated with LOOKUP functions, but they were a huge hassle to set up.


Not anymore: Excel 2013's table tools include features that make it easy to link charts and cells, perform searches, and create dynamically updated reports,

 just like-yes-a relational database. Excel can handle a lot of day-to-day office data this way, and we'll show you how to set it up.



President - Nicole Letellier

President - Elect - Eileen Perry

Secretary - Nicole Sheets 

Treasurer - Wendy Matthews

Program - Diane Ollila

Membership - Amrit Dhaliwal

Scholarship - Susan Wright

Newsletter/Web - Edronda Guiriba 

Hospitality - Jeanne Kourmako

CPE Compliance - Marvel Khan

Immediate Past President - Julia Becklund 



Click here for more info about the Roles and Responsibilities of the Board of Directors.



Chair: Diane Ollila


There is an excellent line-up of programs for the Silicon Valley Chapter this year, and most of them qualify for CPE!  Check out the line-up as we have engaged some dynamic and outstanding speakers. 

Do you have any topics or speakers you would like to recommend to AFWA Silicon Valley? Contact Diane at and let us know!

Speaker: Maria Pribyl
Presentation: Excel Tips

Speaker: Mike Neurendorff
Presentation: Professional Speaker

Speaker: Jane Louie
Presentation: Financial Planning for Businesses

Chair: Amrit Dhaliwal


  • All Levels of Accounting & Finance
  • Bookkeepers
  • Corporate Accounting Finance
  • Public Accounting
  • Management & Educators
  • Recruiters

If you would like to join the Silicon Valley Chapter of AFWA, follow the link to our National website:


Please feel free to complete the application or forward a copy to someone you think would benefit from joining our Chapter.




  • Prestigious status of professional affiliation
  • National contacts for networking and professional information
  • Forum for CPE
  • Scholarships
  • Leadership opportunities in supportive arena
  • Subscription to Accountability e-newsletter 
  • National and regional conferences at a discounted rate
  • Access to Career Center
  • Access to AFWA's LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter groups and National online membership directory
  • Discounted membership to the Institute for Management Accountants (IMA)
  • Discounted products and services through affiliation agreements
    • CPA review courses, CCH tax & accounting books, Long Term Care Insurance and Bank of America credit card.

Hospitality Chair: Jeanne Kourmako
CPE Chair: Marvel Khan

Reservation and cancellation policy: 
Reservations or cancellations are requested by noon on the Friday preceding each meeting.  Email Jeanne to reserve or cancel. The goal is an accurate count for the hotel.  Unreserved members (not guests) incur a surcharge of $5.00.

Reserved members or guests who are no-shows will be billed if not cancelled by noon the preceding Friday. We do want you to come to the meetings and reservations are helpful but if you have to cancel let us know beforehand to avoid incurring the cost of the meal. WE ACCEPT CREDIT CARD PAYMENT AT THE DOOR.


Volunteers are always welcome at our monthly membership meetings. Lend a helping hand to make our monthly events and meetings even more interesting while building a great network and forming new relationships.


CPE credit is available for participating in any of our qualified programs.  See Marvel for more details in person at the meeting.

Chair: Edronda Guiriba

We have changed our newsletter! Like the new look? Be sure to send us some feedback.

The newsletter is prepared and distributed on a monthly basis.  Visit our web site at  If this Chapter does not have your e-mail address, please contact Edronda at


We encourage our membership to submit articles of interest for our monthly newsletter.  Please make your submission under the following criteria...

  • Prepared as a Microsoft Word document
  • Photos in JPEG format
  • captions are okay, no imbedded text, please
  • 600 words or less

There are four sponsor levels of contribution established for the scholarship fund.
Sponsorship up to $150.00  
Sponsorship up to $300.00 
Sponsorship up to $500.00 
Sponsorship $750.00 or more

Share the information! 
See Susan Wright for more details. 

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 Founded in 1938, AFWA/ASWA provides women in accounting and finance the leadership, education and networking opportunities needed to achieve their career goals. Celebrating 75 years as the only organization that solely represents the interest of women in the entire accounting and finance community. The organization's mission is to enable women in all accounting and related fields to achieve their full personal,
professional and economic potential and to contribute to the future development of their profession.