Meet Elizabeth Pittelkow: 2016 Illinois CPA Society Young Professional Leadership Award Recipient!

Elizabeth Pittelkow, Director of Accounting and Compliance at ArrowStream, is leaning in and climbing the career ladder at an accelerated rate, and her contributions to the accounting profession and her community are equally impressive.

Liz Pittelkow Best and Brightest copy
Ms. Pittelkow is indisputably one of the most influential accountants in our field, despite her age. Some people argue that there are not enough hours in the day for their work. This statement is not true for Elizabeth! Not only does she manage ArrowStream’s accounting and compliance policies, but she also presents her data, works with shareholders, reviews company communication, and so much more!

She has served as a member of the Illinois CPA Society’s Board of Directors and Ethics Committee, AICPA’s Council, and on the AICPA’s Business and Industry Executive Committee. In addition to her professional involvement, she is a distinguished leader of Toastmasters International, volunteer for various homelessness outreach organizations, and mentor to many professionals and students.


Now she has another award to add to her list: Illinois CPA Society Young Professional Leader of the Year. (Try saying that five times fast!)

Every year, the Illinois CPA Society recognizes an outstanding leader within the CPA community who demonstrates outstanding leadership skills in his or her career, in public or community service, and through involvement with the Illinois CPA Society and/or other professional organizations.

The Career Goddess Academy caught up with Pittelkow to delve into her life as one of the most influential young CPAs.

Liz Pittelkow Profile PictureQ: What attracted you to the accounting profession?

A: When I entered college, I knew I wanted to do something in business and remained open to exploring which majors would resonate with my personality and skills.

My dad worked in a finance role, so I leaned toward that major first. Then, when I took my first accounting class, I was hooked. I enjoyed learning technical knowledge and pairing that knowledge with critical thinking skills.

I combined my love of accounting and finance and graduated with degrees in both. My advice for anyone pondering a major or career is to be open to possibilities and spend time exploring what fits with your unique interests.

Q: How do you use your unique skills and qualities to accelerate your accounting career, and what can women do in order to take responsibility for their own advancement?

A: I am a big believer that (1.) leaders are lifetime learners and (2.) leaders are regular readers. When I started in my career, I sought opportunities to learn as much about my job and industry as possible.

Liz Pittelkow Professor Pope and ICPA Chair

Approach your career as an infant in your industry — soak up knowledge early and learn how to apply that knowledge as you grow in your career. Prioritize pushing yourself into new opportunities and always find ways to learn new strategic skills (e.g., communication, networking, problem-solving, etc.) through formal trainings, on-the job experience, and talking to others in your field.

Reading is also an effective way to learn about new leadership behaviors and other concepts that are relevant to your personal development and company. If you are unsure where to start reading, follow leaders in your industry on social media and discover what they are reading.

Q: Women put their all into climbing the ladders at work and come home to give the highest levels of service to their families. But most women don’t have time to invest in themselves beyond the workplace. How important is it for women to find time to invest in professional development?

A: Professional development is extremely important to prioritize, even when it seems like there is not enough time. While professional development may sound like it is mainly for yourself, it also benefits your company and your customers. If you are able to better perform your job by learning new skills and behaviors, you will be more confident, your company will value you more, and your customers will be happy with your high-level customer service.

Liz Pittelkow AICPA Panel

I am passionate about integrity in business, so I spend time researching the topic. I talk about ethics all the time, and it has led to me becoming a national ethics instructor.

The same thing happened when I spent time working on my communication skills by watching TED Talks, participating in Toastmasters, and talking about the importance of speaking and listening. I am now a national communication and leadership instructor.

Liz Pittelkow and Charlene Toastmasters copy

I am a proponent of making your thoughts visible through conversations, written publications, and videos. When people know what you are passionate about, they will know what opportunities to give you, to match your interests.

To keep up with Elizabeth, follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.

What do you hope to achieve in your profession? Please comment below and share this article to empower women in business around the world.


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Charlene Rhinehart

I’m Charlene - International Speaker, Published Writer, & Career Strategist. I help women skip the most common career mistakes, move from fear to confidence, and enhance their professional profile so that they can create a life that is better than their dreams.

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