MARCH 2015

  Date:  3/24/2015
  Doors Open:  6:00pm 
  Location:  Biltmore Hotel 
    2151 Laurelwood Road 
    Santa Clara, CA 95054 
  Presentation:  Giving Voice to Your Ethical Values: How to Speak Up
 by Susan Parker
    Cost: Day of Event at the Door 
    $40 members 
    $50 guests 
Discount rate, register and pay using Paypal here 
    $35 members 
    $45 guests 


Attend any membership meeting from February until April* 
for a chance to enter a drawing for a
50% discount
to apply to a Becker CPA review course. 

Attend a membership meeting or bring a guest who may be interested!

*To win, you must be present at the AFWA Silicon Valley April 2015 membership meeting, on 4/28/2015, when the winner will be announced.
- To enter the drawing, attend any membership meeting from February to April 2015 and fill out the drawing form with your information.
- Only one entry per person allowed.
- The discount is non-transferable.


Giving Voice to Your Ethical Values: How to Speak Up Effectively

Learn how to be an effective advocate for your point of view within an organization!

Dr. Susan Parker will be discussing ideas on how to handle ethical issues based on the "Giving Voice to Values" curriculum by Mary C. Gentile. Dr. Parker will identify some reasons that stop us from acting on our values when we know what is right. After attending, we hope you will have a better understanding on how to be an effective advocate for your point of view within an organization.


Susan is an Associate Professor and the Director of the Certificate of Advanced Accounting Proficiency (CAAP), in the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University. Dr. Parker's teaching and research interests are mainly in the field of auditing. Her research has been published in Auditing: A Journal of Practice and Theory, Contemporary Accounting Research and other journals. Some of the topics addressed include the determinants of audit fees and the effect of various corporate governance mechanisms (primarily audit committees) on the financial reporting practices of public companies. Prior to returning to graduate school she spent eight years in internal auditing. She received a doctorate in Accounting from the University of Oregon in 1997. She currently teaches the Accountants' Professional Responsibilities course at Santa Clara University. 

<Register Here>

Save the Date!

Tuesday May 26th


The Biltmore Hotel
2151 Laurelwood Rd
Santa Clara, CA 95054 

Special Keynote Speaker:
Dr. Frederic Luskin

Dr. Luskin is the author of the best seller Forgive for Good: A Proven Prescription for Health and Happiness and Stress Free for Good.  He has worked with many organizations and has trained lawyers, doctors, church leaders and congregations, hospital staffs, teachers and other professionals to manage stress and enhance forgiveness all over the United States.  Dr. Luskin's work has been featured in Time magazine, O magazine, Ladies Home Journal, U.S. News and World Reports, Parade, Prevention as well as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, U.S.A.Today and the Wall Street Journal. 

Frederic Luskin, Ph.D. is the Director of the Stanford University Forgiveness Projects and an Associate Professor at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology.  He also serves as the Co Chair of the Garden of Forgiveness Project at Ground Zero in Manhattan. 

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



- February Membership Meeting Recap -

- Throwback Thursday -
5 Tips for Being a Good Mentor
How Women Can Boost Their Financial Confidence
How to Avoid the High Cost of a Bad Hire

- AFWA Annual Conference -

Nicole Letellier

AFWA - Silicon Valley Chapter President


As I am writing this message, spring is in full bloom outside my window. That reminds me how blessed I am to be living in one of the most wonderful places. We are spoiled with great weather and abundance.

Let's not forget our good fortune and remember to share with those who are less fortunate or who
could use our encouragement and support. Our scholarship applications are due very soon and we are
excited as always, to review and award scholarships to the most dedicated applicants. We also need our members' financial support to fund our scholarship award program. Today is the best day for you to go on our website and make a donation that will be used to support accounting and finance students in the Bay Area. For those of you who have already donated thank you from me and all the past, present and future recipients.

At this month's membership meeting, you will have the opportunity to vote for your next AFWA board of directors. Our nominating committee has been hard at work and we have a complete slate of nominees who have accepted to take on leadership positions. I invite you to come, meet them, and show your support.

At our membership meeting on March 24th, we will have Dr. Susan Parker speak to us about
"Giving Voice to Your Ethical Values: How to Speak Up Effectively". This is a program not to be missed.

I am looking forward to seeing you all at our next meeting.

Truly yours,

Nicole Letellier




AFWA Silicon Valley members and guests attended February's membership meeting for the tax filing update for individuals and businesses from special guest speaker Annette Nellen. 



Like us on facebook to see all of the pictures from last month's meeting.   Like us on Facebook


Thanks to board Treasurer Wendy Matthews for submitting a picture of 

AFWA members at RoseGarden!

Do you have any pictures you would like to share? 
Submit them to newsletter chair Edronda Guiriba at

MARCH NEWSAccountability

By Berranthia Brown, CMI, AFWA National President
March 11, 2015


I had the pleasure a few weeks ago to participate in the Beta Alpha Psi Southeast Regional Conference representing AFWA. As a professional partner, we interact with accounting & finance students from various parts of the country. During the conference, I was asked to share my career experiences with the students. Most students wanted to know what it was like to work for my company and what I loved most about being an accountant. By participating in these type of events, it allows me to share and mentor our next generation, and learn from them, what has changed since I left college over 20 years ago.


As a part of my role at The Coca-Cola Company, I interact on a daily basis with other accounting/finance associates across the company. On numerous occasions, I'm given the opportunity to mentor and share my knowledge and career experiences with others. Last year, one of my coworkers, approached me to serve as her mentor. I had recently invited her to an AFWA meeting on a topic she found very interesting. We agreed to meet at least once a month for lunch to talk shop. She was considering applying for a new finance role and wanted advice on how to prepare for the interview. I encouraged her to join AFWA to develop her leadership skills and network with others. She got the new role, joined AFWA and is currently serving as our chapter Program Chair.

There is no doubt that mentoring is a powerful way to give back to others. Mentors serve as "advisors, listeners, and provide guidance to others. But do you really know the 5 tips to being a good mentor?

  1. Do a reality check. What do you want to contribute? Skills? Expertise? Knowledge? Where do you want to make a difference? In someone's career? In someone's professional development? How do you want to contribute? By phone or email? In person? To individuals or groups?
  2. This is a give and take - not a one sided relationship. Instead of sharing knowledge or advice, focus on listening (not just hearing), ask thought provoking questions, and act as a resource or network. Being a mentor is being a connector. Help a mentee make connections between ideas and opportunities, help them map it all out.
  3. Look forward to learning too. The impetus for being a mentor is more often to give back. But usually mentors also benefit from the relationship. A mentee can potentially hook you into more tech savvy tools to make your job easier, show you the ropes of what has changed since you started, or much more.
  4. Be open to male and female mentors. While women may be more open to trusting and sharing with a mentor, gender doesn't matter too much in a mentoring relationship. There may be more men in the industry or company. The opposite gender can provide a different perspective.
  5. Keep in mind mentoring is simply conversation and relationship building. Formalizing mentoring can take more effort and time than making it simple. It can be as easy as a 10-minute phone call or a quick lunch to talk about needs of the day. But ensure there is always a purpose for talking or meeting.

Being both a mentor at your job, or as a business owner, or at a college, allows you the opportunity to build new relationships and learn new things from others and make a difference in another person's life. I encourage you to be a mentor today!



from US News
by Kimberly Palmer
March 4, 2015

When it comes to earning, investing and saving, women tend to lag behind their male peers. This gender difference is often blamed on women's caregiving roles, which often leads them to scale back their workforce participation when they become mothers or preemptively select more flexible jobs that come with lower pay.


According to a Fidelity survey released in February of 1,542 women over age 18, another overarching factor might be at play: a lack of confidence. While 92 percent of respondents said they want to learn more about financial planning and 83 percent said they want to be more involved in their finances, the majority also reported feeling uncomfortable talking about money, even with friends, spouses and financial professionals. In fact, 4 in 5 women said they have avoided talking about finances with someone they're close to because the topic is too personal, or it feels uncomfortable to discuss.

In a video of women talking about money that Fidelity released with the study last month, many women cite earlier habits, sometimes dating back to childhood, of watching men handle the finances in families. The survey also found that just 28 percent of respondents said they felt confident when it comes to picking investments without help, and 37 percent felt confident about handling retirement planning on their own.


"The confidence gap they have is, in my view, completely unwarranted," says Kathleen Murphy, president of personal investing at Fidelity. "I think the secret here is that investing is not that hard, and we need to do more to engage and empower women in investing."


To help engage female clients, Fidelity offers free seminars to women based on age groups. "We encourage them to bring a friend, and most women do. The focus is on investing, but they also appreciate talking to each other and sharing their experiences," Murphy says. "They feel intimidated, so we're trying to get them to take that first step."


It's particularly important that women embrace financial management, Murphy adds, because at some point in their lives, 9 in 10 women will be the "sole financial decision maker" because of divorce or death.


David Bach, author of the best-seller "Smart Women Finish Rich" and vice chairman of the financial planning firm Edelman Financial Services, says one of the most important steps women can take is to manage their own finances and not delegate that task to their husbands or partners. "You should be the one who is in charge of the money," he says. That way, women will be prepared to handle finances in the event of divorce or death.


Another challenge for women, particular those in middle age, Bach adds, is the stress that comes from caring for aging parents. "As Mom and Dad get older and get sick, women who have big careers often have to make a decision to stop working to take care of parents, and it's typically the daughter who takes on the elder care role," he says.


Many women end up trying to do it all - care for parents and children, earn money, be a great wife - and get stressed out doing so, Bach says. "It creates an amount of pressure that women didn't face 40 or 50 years ago," he says.


2014 American Psychological Association survey of 3,068 adults found that while 72 percent of respondents said they felt stressed about money at some point in the last month, about half of women were so stressed that they couldn't sleep, compared to 32 percent of men.


If you think your financial confidence might be lagging, here are some ways to give it a boost: <Click here for more>


How to Avoid the High Cost of a Bad Hire
from Robert Half
March 2015


Everyone in the office pays the cost of a bad hire. Managers waste time and money - up to 150
percent of that person's salary to find a replacement. But the effect on your staff is an even
bigger concern. In a recent Robert Half survey, 39 percent of interviewed CFOs said the biggest
cost of a bad hire is lower morale. Thirty-four percent named lost productivity.

Building your accounting dream team requires smart recruiting and onboarding. So here are
some tips to help you avoid making a bad hire:

1. Start with a solid posting. Base the advertisement on an airtight job description. Make the
job posting narrow enough to discourage potential bad hires, but broad enough to attract 
applicants who are missing a few teachable skills but otherwise meet your requirements.

2. Eliminate and screen. Right away, rule out candidates who don't meet your minimum
requirements or whose resumes raise red flags. When you're down to 10 applicants, conduct 
phone interviews, and eliminate those do not communicate well or who respond unconvincingly 
to your questions. Aim for three to five candidates to invite for in-person vetting. 

3. Test their hard skills. Some bad hires get through the door because their resume looks great
and they interview well - but they don't actually have the technical skills you need. These two 
methods help you evaluate their abilities: 

? Use a pre-employment exam to assess their knowledge of accounting procedures and
software. It can include your own questions or those of a third-party provider.

? Ask skills-based interview questions about the position's main responsibilities.

4. Check their cultural fit. Candidates who clash with your corporate culture won't work out,
no matter how technically brilliant they may be. So have finalists meet as many of their potential 
colleagues as possible. Also get opinions from employees who aren't part of the official 
recruiting process - security guards, receptionists and administrative assistants. You don't want 
to hire anyone who treats support staff poorly. 

5. Don't skip the reference check. It's tempting to make a job offer right away, when you find
an applicant who seems ideal. But don't take shortcuts. Ask for a list of professional references 
and contact each one. Calling is better than emailing because it's faster and easier to follow up 
on comments made on the phone. And you can pick up on a less-than-enthusiastic 

6. Support new hires. In some cases, a bad hire simply wasn't properly onboarded and trained.
Don't just throw new workers into the deep end. Set them up for success with a solid orientation 
program, regular check-ins and even mentoring.

7. On-the-job vetting. A temporary-to-hire model can really minimize the possibility of a bad
hire. Work with a staffing agency to bring in a skilled finance professional. Then, if that person 
is a good fit, offer a full-time job. 

Vetting and training take time and effort, but not nearly as much as the cost of a bad hire. A little
extra work on the front end will save you a lot of headaches down the line.

Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm  for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. Accountemps has more than  340 locations worldwide. More resources, including online job search services and the  Accountemps blog, can be found at


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 

Pictured from left to right, front row: Jeanne Kourmako, Nicole Letellier, Wendy Matthews, Eileen Perry, Nicole Sheets. From left to right, back row: Marvel Khan, Diane Ollila, Julia Beckland. Not pictured: Amrit Dhaliwal, Edronda Guiriba, Susan Wright.


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.

Speaker: Susan Parker
Presentation: Ethics

Speaker: Panel Presentation
Scholarship Award night

Spring Gala Event
Speaker: Dr. Frederic Luskin
Presentation: Forgiveness

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


Send in your articles!


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

The newsletter is prepared and distributed on a monthly basis.  Visit our web site  If you have questions regarding articles to submit or about the newsletter, email the newsletter chair, Edronda, at

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.  


The Foundation is all about us, accounting and financial professionals, we strive every day to make a difference in the financial world and in our communities. The Foundation is charged with raising funds for national scholarships, and educational advancement of our peers and rising leaders. 


The Foundation offers each of us the opportunity to support the future direction of the profession where we have gained our own personal successes.


It is important to support those entering the profession and working alongside us. Those that follow in our footsteps have much to teach us and much to learn from us. They embody the next generation of accounting and financial professionals. Our goal for you and AFWA is to lead the way in their development.




The Foundation promotes and advances education, career development and leadership in finance and accounting. Our vision is to guide women along the path to achieve success in finance and accounting.





The Accounting & Financial Women's Alliance Annual Conference is the premier networking and education event for professionals and students of Accounting and Finance. The event attracts hundreds of professionals from across the country for four days of educational sessions - providing up to 24 hours of CPE credit - presented by leaders in the industry.


2015 AFWA National Conference

Mark your calendars for the 2015 AFWA National Conference to be held October 26-28, 2015 in Pittsburgh, PA. More details coming soon!



 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.