Taking the First Steps: A Roundtable Discussion on Defining DEI and Why it Matters - COMPLIMENTARY CPE

OL800-23  |  On Demand Course  |  Update  |  Self-Study


This roundtable discussion brings together a diverse group of CPAs to discuss what defines Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and why businesses should make it a focus.  

In part one of this series, moderator Clare Levison, CPA, CGMA, speaks with panelists Reynard Trea McMillian, CPA, Assistant Professor of Accounting at Tennessee State University; Jessica Sharpe, CPA, Senior Manager in A&A Leadership Group at Deloitte; Julie James, CPA, Managing Consultant for BKD's National Enterprise Risk Solutions (ERS) Practice; and Leslie Roberts, CPA, Partner at Brown Edwards about ways businesses can create an inclusive culture to positively impact recruitment and retention.

Looking for part two of this series? Click here.


Number of Credits Type of Credits
1.00 Personnel/HR



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Reynard T. McMillian, CPA

Reynard Trea McMillian is an accounting professional with 30 years of experience. He has worked for General Motors, HCA and in higher education over his career. He has held various roles, including Senior Auditor, Chief Financial Officer, Associate Vice President-Finance, and Chief Business Officer. He holds a Bachelors degree in Accounting from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA., a Masters in Business Administration from Tennessee State University, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Leadership Policy from Vanderbilt University. Trea is currently licensed as a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Tennessee, and serves as Assistant Professor in the Accounting Department at Tennessee State University in Nashville, TN.

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Clare Levison, CPA, CGMA

Clare Levison is the owner of Inspired Responsibility, a consulting company dedicated to delivering continuing education via positive messages and meaningful content that inspires change. She strives to help bridge gaps in continuing professional development with inspiring programs and meaningful experiences that deliver the message, as well as the WHY behind the message, to propel professionals from good to best.

Levison is a member of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and Virginia Society of CPAs (VSCPA) and is licensed in the state of Virginia. She has served on the Board of Directors of the VSCPA and the Board of Directors of the VSCPA Educational Foundation and currently serves as a member of the AICPA Consumer Financial Education Advocates group.

For over a decade, Levison has designed and delivered learning content for CPAs and finance professionals, including Virginia Board of Accountancy-approved ethics courses required to be taken annually by all Virginia licensed CPAs. In addition to her passion for professional ethics, Levison is a fervent financial literacy advocate. She is the author of "Frugal Isn't Cheap: Spend Less, Save More, and Live Better" and has appeared on major radio and television networks across the country discussing personal finance. She has been a contributor to numerous publications including Family Circle, Fox Business, Glamour, Kiplinger's, Redbook, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and U.S. News & World Report.

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Jessica Sharpe, CPA

Jessica is a senior manager in the Audit & Assurance practice of Deloitte & Touche LLP. She has been with Deloitte for over 13 years and currently serves in a program manager role over Deloitte's MADE Commitment (Making Accounting Diverse & Equitable) as well as a strategic PMO within the A&A Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team. Previous to this role, Jessica worked in the Deloitte audit practice and holds over twelve years of accounting and audit experience with specialization in serving public, multinational companies in the technology, media, and telecommunications industries. She also spent two years in a Management Development Program working in the Office of the NPPD focused on strategic quality initiatives.

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Leslie Roberts, CPA

Leslie is a Partner in the Brown Edwards Newport News office. She has more than 30 years of accounting experience, most of which is in public accounting. She has supervised and performed audits and consulting services in various industries including state and local governmental entities, governmental authorities, boards and commissions, regional and municipal airports, government contracting, various non-profits including foundations, higher education, religious organizations, and healthcare and construction contractors. She also served as Controller for a regional non-profit hospital and nursing home and has provided consulting services for healthcare clients (both long-term and acute-care facilities).

A large part of Leslie's practice involves auditing not-for-profit and institutions of higher education. As such, Leslie has extensive experience and has received advanced training in these industries. Her responsibilities include engagement management, client correspondence, presentations, practice development, work-paper review, and staff supervision, scheduling and consulting.

Leslie graduated from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

Leslie is a member of the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the Governmental Audit Quality Center. She has also previously been named a "Super CPA" in the Non-Profit and Governmental area of practice by Virginia Business magazine.

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Julie R. James, CPA, CISA

Julie R. James has 17 years of professional accounting and auditing experience, serving in various roles and levels within public and privately held companies. She is currently a managing consultant in BKD's National Enterprise Risk Solutions (ERS) Practice. Julie primarily services (for-profit and not-for-profit) healthcare entities.

Immediately prior to joining BKD, Julie was the Examination Review Board (ERB) Audit Manager for the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). In this role, she was entrusted with reviewing and evaluating the appropriateness of policies and procedures utilized in the preparation, grading, and administration of the Uniform CPA Examination. Julie worked closely with NASBA and NASBA board members, the AICPA, and Prometric personnel to assist in safeguarding the integrity of the CPA examination process. Julie also served as a staff liaison for NASBA's Diversity Committee and collaborated with NASBA's Center for Public Trust (CPT) to assist with diversity and pipeline initiatives.

In 2020, Julie was selected as a CPA Practice Advisor "40 Under 40" honoree. The award recognizes 40 professionals under 40 who have emerged as future leaders in the accounting profession. The CPA Practice Advisor's 40 Under 40 Awards "spotlight the top practicing public accountants, educators, and thought leaders who are leading their profession by visibly and incrementally changing the accounting profession through their exemplary leadership, their innovative thinking, their collaborative efforts to provide unity to the profession across the generations, and their community outreach which extends the visibility of the profession outside the workplace." She also joined a cohort of select progressive leaders from across Tennessee to complete a six-month training program with New Leaders Council (NLC) Nashville, a non-profit organization that works "to recruit, train, promote, and equip NLC fellows with the tools to run for political offices and be civic leaders."

Julie has consistently committed her time, talent, and treasures to serve public service organizations and her profession. She is an active member of Tennessee Society of CPAs. She has served three years on TSCPA's Accounting Career Education (ACE) Committee and worked on the Diversity subcommittee. Julie is also slated to serve as a 2022-23 at-large board member for TSCPA Nashville Chapter. She recently served as Treasurer for the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) Nashville Chapter and currently serves on the executive board of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. – Nashville Alumnae Chapter (NAC). She also served as a board member and on the Finance Committee for Quality Care for Children (QCC), an industry leader with a mission to "create a system that equips families and child care providers with the knowledge and resources to nurture and educate Georgia's infants and young children."

Julie is also a member of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), National Society of Black CPAs (NSBCPA), Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, ISACA, Junior League of Nashville (JLN), Jackson State University National Alumni Association (JSUNAA), and United Way of Greater Atlanta Volunteer Involvement Program (VIP) Alumni.

She holds active CPA licenses in Tennessee and Georgia.

Julie is a graduate of Jackson State University, an HBCU and comprehensive urban research university in Jackson, Mississippi, with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting and a Master of Professional Accountancy degree.

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