Recently I attended an AFWA Des Moines meeting and met some wonderful ladies.  They had never attended an AFWA Meeting before.  It was a great pleasure to meet them and talk about AFWA.  One thing I left out was how big a part of my life this organization is. 

I would like to share my story briefly.  I became a member early in my accounting career.  I also chose to be a part of the chapter board.  It was an exciting time for me.  All through the years as my career grew so did my AFWA career.  I was Chapter President off and on.  Then I became a member of the AFWA National Team and then on the AFWA National Board.   AFWA is the support and encouragement that I needed to step out of my shell, grow personally and professionally.  I completed my four year degree, my CPA and then my MBA.   The network I developed allowed me to see other successful women and know that I could do it.  I also have great satisfaction working with others who are just getting started.   Mentoring absolutely works both ways.

The benefits of the Des Moines AFWA Chapter are:  Monthly meetings,  whether you are a CPA in need of continuing education or not it is an excellent networking and learning opportunity.   There are leadership opportunities.  I earned my MBA but AFWA gave me leadership opportunities as well.  Volunteer opportunities, if leadership is not your path there are short term volunteer opportunities.  If you are concerned about commitment please consider being an active participative member of AFWA and enjoy the benefits.

There is also the AFWA National Organization.  There are about 70 chapters around the country,  regional and national conferences. The conferences are very energizing, continuing education, fun, and always at a fantastic place to visit.  The networking there is awesome.  Your National membership dues provide us the opportunity to have official continuing education at the chapter level, they provide the structure and support that membership requires, and there are multiple free webinars.   Many times I have heard about members relocating.  There is a great chance that you will find another AFWA chapter in that new location.  There is a National Board and Committees that make that possible.  AFWA National headquarters Staff are there to provide the advancement of our organization, the backbone of our organization, and secure sponsors that make that all happen.   Another part of the National AFWA is the Education Foundation.  Their missions is 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. 

My personal invitation and call to action today is please go to the Des Moines AFWA website and the AFWA National Website and research if membership is right for you and Please join us as a member. Please contact me or a member of the Des Moines Chapter if you have questions. 

If you are already an AFWA member please consider becoming part of the action.  The chapter board has made it fun and small commitment!  The reason we encourage membership involvement is to get new ideas and to have new members to fill the pipeline across the board so everyone has the opportunity to make a difference.  And no one has to feel as if they are over committed. 

The mission of the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance is to enable women in all accounting and finance fields to achieve their full potential and to contribute to their profession.

AFWA members are empowered professionals who succeed with passion and integrity.

Legacy of Expertise

Founded in 1938 to increase the opportunities for women in all fields of accounting and finance, members of the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance and their companies benefit from resources that accelerate their professional growth. The industry has evolved enormously for women in the past 75 years, with our organization smartly and passionately evolving with it, ahead of the curve, so that all women in accounting and finance can excel.

A plan for your future

AFWA promotes the professional growth of women in all facets of accounting and finance. Members increase their career potential by connecting with colleagues, receiving education and mentorship to advance their careers, and developing leadership skills. For more than 75 years, members have tapped into a network of successful, motivated, and influential professionals who understand the unique position of being a woman in the industry and who, together, contribute to the future development of their profession.


Gina Slack CPA, CGMA, MBA


July 2017

6 Ways to Keep Good Employees on Your Team


Thanks to a solid recruitment plan and an attractive benefits package, your organization has a full complement of highly skilled employees who do great work as a team. But what if a competitor poached your top performers, or if just a handful of workers opted for better opportunities elsewhere?

Before you think this scenario doesn’t apply to your current team, consider this: 42 percent of workers surveyed for a recent
Robert Half study said they’re likely to look for a new job within the year. For respondents aged 18 to 34, that number jumps to 68 percent. Imagine how hobbled your company would be if a sizable portion of your workforce left in the next 12 months.


The best way to reduce turnover is prevention: taking steps to increase employee satisfaction now rather than putting it off and possibly losing key people. Here are six tips you can start using today to help improve employee retention:


1. Become a morale monitor. Managers are often so focused on overseeing projects and putting out fires that they fail to notice the warning signs of an unhappy staff. To gauge employee satisfaction, take a good look at your team. Are workers enthusiastic or disengaged? How’s their body language — relaxed or tense? Do they have fun at work, or do they seem bored? Keep your eyes and ears open so you spot any early warning signs that star performers may soon leave.


2. Master the work-life balancing act. Businesses with the lowest turnover rates tend to have a workplace culture that values an individual’s personal life. That’s why a top retention strategy is to make sure employees have sufficient time away from the office. If the company culture involves continually working crazy hours and sacrificing vacation days, the best workers — the ones who have choices — are more likely to walk away. It could be time for your organization to make some changes, such as giving top talent the option to work remotely or have a flexible schedule, and walking the talk around work-life balance.


3. Give thanks often. When was the last time you recognized your top people, either publicly or one-on-one? A heartfelt expression of appreciation — in person, by email or via a handwritten card — takes little time but goes a long way toward improving retention. Other low-cost ways to thank valuable employees, such as a surprise catered lunch, help boost morale and can make people think twice about looking for another job.


4. Show them the money. Of the CFOs surveyed, 27 percent thought limited growth opportunities was the top reason good employees leave. But among the workers polled, almost four in 10 (39 percent) said inadequate wages and benefits are what would cause them to quit their job. Demonstrate how much you value top employees’ work with an unprompted salary hike. You could also offer spot bonuses or gift cards for exceptional work, or a retention bonus that would drop into their bank account after a certain number of months on the job. Check out the 2017 Robert Half Salary Guide for Accounting & Finance for more information on competitive salary ranges for your city and the latest compensation trends.


5. Talk about the future. Motivated and talented people have professional goals and dreams. Do their plans include your company? Showing key workers an in-house career path is a powerful employee retention strategy because it demonstrates your belief in their skills and an eagerness to invest in their future. During career-pathing conversations, lay out a possible trajectory of where you see them in the coming years. Propose training opportunities and timelines for promotions. People rarely leave if a promising future is in sight.

6. Have a lunch chat. This isn’t a formal meeting like an annual performance review. Rather, a casual chat over a meal is a chance to get to know key players in a comfortable setting. Throw out some questions, but let them steer the rest of the conversation. Listen to what they say about their ongoing projects, ideas for new products or services, current stress levels, and so on. Asking them out to lunch demonstrates you’re interested in them as individuals. You’ll also get a good sense of their job satisfaction level and whether you need to take extra steps to retain them.


At the end of the day, every organization must deal with some turnover. People leave their jobs for a variety of personal and professional reasons, and there’s no way to keep them all in the fold. But a strong retention program can help you minimize the number of good workers who leave for other pastures — because the grass is plenty green right where they are.


This article is provided courtesy of Robert Half Finance & Accounting, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm placing accounting and finance professionals on a temporary, full-time and project basis. For career and management advice, follow our blog at