Illinois CPA Society Names 2011 'Women to Watch' Award Recipients

Nov 14, 2011, 12:06 ET from Illinois CPA Society


CHICAGO, Nov. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Illinois CPA Society is honoring four members with the seventh annual prestigious "Women to Watch" awards which recognize notable contributions to the accounting profession, their organizations and the development of women as leaders. 

The Illinois CPA Society's Women's Executive Committee and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Work/Life and Women's Initiatives Executive Committee together recognize and celebrate women who have promoted a work environment that provides opportunities for the successful integration of their personal and professional lives and the advancement of women to positions of leadership. The 2011 "Women to Watch" award recipients are:

Experienced Leader Category:

  • Melissa Kibler Knoll, CPA, is a Senior Managing Director with Mesirow Financial Consulting, LLC where she provides corporate recovery, financial advisory forensics and litigation services.  Ms. Knoll is the Immediate Past President of the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) and Chair of the AICPA Bankruptcy Task Force, and speaks frequently on bankruptcy and restructuring topics. She is Immediate Past Board Chair of the Chicago Children's Choir and a member of the Outreach Team of Women Employed.

  • Phyllis Malitz, CPA, is a Partner with Silver Lerner Schwartz & Fertel. She leads the firm's marketing and practice development initiatives and represents the firm in the Marketing Share Group of AGN International Ltd. Ms. Malitz has made significant contributions in promoting entrepreneurship and educating her community on tax issues through her work with the Skokie Chamber of Commerce, The Lilac Tree, and as a founding member of the Exclusive Professional Women's Networking Group. She also volunteers with the Food Bank and Clothes Closet program at St. Phillip the Apostle Church in Northbrook.

Emerging Leader Category:

  • Arla Lach, CPA, is a Senior Manager in the Audit Services Group of Grant Thornton LLP, where she was the first women in the firm's history in the role of Chief of Staff to the CEO. She leads the firm's women's initiatives in Chicago and is a founding member of the Illinois CPA Society's Women's Initiatives Task Force. Ms. Lach also serves as the Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Step Up Women's Network, an organization that mentors underserved girls, and has achieved a Lifetime Member status with her alma mater, University of Illinois Alumni Association.

  • Jody Padar, CPA, is the CEO and Principal of New Vision CPA Group. She has brought her family-owned firm into the future by adopting smart technology and proven practices to elevate efficiencies. She was recently named one of Accounting Today's "Top 100 Most Influential People", has been a featured speaker at AICPA events and has published various articles in Accounting Today and CPA Practice Advisor.  Ms. Padar is a champion of the Chicago Ladder Up program, organizing a group of student volunteers each year for the tax-assistance program, and she is a strong supporter of her alma mater, Saint Mary's College in Indiana.

"These award recipients embody the best and brightest within our profession," said Illinois CPA Society President and CEO Elaine Weiss. "They are amazing role models and mentors to the next generation of impressive women CPAs now entering the accounting profession."

Recipients are being honored at the Illinois CPA Society's Women's Leadership Breakfast on Thursday, November 17 at the Standard Club in Chicago.  More information on the winners and the event is available on the Illinois CPA Society website (

About the Illinois CPA Society
The Illinois CPA Society, founded in 1903, is the fourth largest state CPA Society in the nation, with more than 24,000 members. It is the premier professional organization that represents CPAs in Illinois. During its over 100 years of existence, the Society has advanced the highest ethical and financial standards of the profession, and has been a leader in educating the public on financial issues.


SOURCE Illinois CPA Society