Women in Business: HD Davis Staff ‘Found the Right Place’

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio – At HD Davis CPAs, women make up 73% of the staff. Last year, Accounting Today named the firm the best in the country for women. The previous year, the company was in the top three.

Among that 73% are Megan Roberts, director of operations; Erin Sturrus, director of tax; Alyssa Gray, Gina Getsy and Angela Frazis, all senior accountants; and Ally St. Clair, staff accountant.

HD Davis’ sister company, White Glove Payroll, is all women.

“I think we recognize that everyone is a person here,” Gray says. “We have obligations outside of work. I feel like HD is really good about accommodating that kind of stuff.”

Flex scheduling is an example. The firm designed that with work-life balance in mind, Roberts says.

“I think that’s been very intentional to not be average in that regard,” she says.

The women don’t believe they’ve experienced gender-based discrimination in their careers.

They have encountered clients who are surprised by their youth.

“I think building that relationship [with clients] and just establishing the trust with the client is the biggest obstacle or challenge,” says Frazis, who has been with the firm for about three years. “But once we get there, it’s solid.”

A lot of what helps to build confidence is developing a good relationship with your manager or team lead, who can mentor and guide you, the women say.

“All of our team leaders are women,” Getsy says.

St. Clair says sometimes walking into the business world as a woman, you might get looked at differently than as a man.

“But it’s nice to see that our management and our people that we look up to are all women,” she says. “It gives us more confidence that we are capable because the people that we look up to are all women. They’ve done it. So why can’t we?”

Frazis says she was the only woman in her federal taxation class at Youngstown State University, which was also taught by a woman.

Her classmates wanted to work on projects with her.

“To be fair, I was already working here. So they were, like, ‘Oh, she knows what she’s doing,’” Frazis says. “I was more familiar with the content.”

But Gray says there have been times when she had to call on a partner at the firm to have a conversation with a client because the client wasn’t receiving the information from her. She believes that was because she’s female.

“I had a client at my last firm yell at me. But when he spoke to my boss, it was, ‘Oh, man to man. We’re friends. We’re on the same level,’” Gray says. “I think that is where that feeling comes from.”

Roberts, the firm’s director of operations, isn’t an accountant. She’s been at HD Davis since February. Before joining the firm, she worked for 10 years in investment management.

“I think for young, female professionals, we have to work harder to maintain relationships …,” she says.

Roberts recalls a meeting she was facilitating at a previous job when the male speaker she had invited asked her to take notes.

“That’s not here,” she adds. “We all found the right place.”

Pictured at top: From left are HD Davis employees Megan Roberts, Ally St. Clair, Alyssa Gray, Angela Frazis, Gina Getsy and Erin Sturrus.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.