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More than 1.5 million reasons to salute the 2009 Outstanding Member Volunteer: Jerry L. Esselstein, CPA: Jerry L. Esselstein, CPA, owner of Jerry Esselstein Company, LLC, is at his best when he's serving others.

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Most recently, he chaired the 2008 Centennial Campaign to benefit The Ohio CPA Foundation. He led a team of volunteers who raised more than $1.5 million in gifts and pledges, an unprecedented achievement in the Society's history.

This is just one highlight of Jerry's many achievements and leadership roles on behalf of the Society and the CPA profession. In recognition of his inspirational volunteer service, Esselstein received the Society's 2009 Outstanding Member Volunteer Award.

"It's a great honor to receive this award," Esselstein said. "I've always believed that it's important to volunteer. We need members who are actively engaged in shaping the future of the CPA profession. That's never been more important."

Since he accepted his first OSCPA volunteer assignment Esselstein has applied his own unique mix of candor, humor and hard work to each service opportunity. His history of service includes: Executive Board chair, Membership Committee chair, and trustee for The Ohio CPA Foundation. Outside of OSCPA, he has represented the profession as a board member for the AICPA and was the first chair of the Ohio University School of Accountancy Advisory Council, a board on which he still serves.

Esselstein began his CPA career in public practice. He is now an independent consultant offering business advisory, strategic planning and project management services. He also is a frequent presenter on professional development topics.

In 2008, his Society peers named Esselstein one of Ohio's Most Influential CPAs in recognition of his significant, positive influence on the growth and development of the CPA profession and The Ohio Society of CPAs. He is also a past recipient of OSCPA's Gold Medal for Meritorious Service to the Accounting Profession, the Society's highest honor.

As chair of the Membership Committee, Esselstein proposed offering the first year of Society membership free, a unique idea at the time. It was an important factor that helped OSCPA jump in size to join the top five state societies in membership.

Esselstein has focused much of his volunteer time on working with students and young CPAs.

"When I was a young CPA, the traditional path was to cut your teeth by working for a big eight public accounting firm," Esselstein explained. "Now more graduates are going directly into business and industry, making the role of a CPA much broader."

He firmly believes accounting students need positive CPA role models to help them understand the value of the credential. It's not just about being an accountant and doing the math, Esselstein insists, but about developing sound strategy that drives financial success for companies and clients.

"Ours is the only profession that has a direct responsibility to the public in financial matters and reporting," Esselstein said. "We need CPAs committed to attracting quality individuals into the profession--to be visible so that when students meet one, they say, 'I want to be a CPA.'"

That's a primary reason he stepped up to chair The Centennial Campaign.

"Jerry traveled the state for a year talking with individual CPAs and public accounting firms about the need to elevate the CPA image and recruit students to the CPA career path," said chair-elect and campaign volunteer Peter A. Margaritis, CPA. "He had incredible energy and passion for the cause, which was contagious to volunteers and donors."

As a Foundation trustee, Esselstein is now working with donors to develop a longer-range strategy for the organization.

"In retrospect, the decision to volunteer has been extremely easy," Esselstein said. "I've gotten incredible satisfaction out of doing my part to give back to the profession. The rewards are many for those who jump in and contribute their time and talents."
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Title Annotation:Membership
Publication:Catalyst (Dublin, Ohio)
Date:Jul 1, 2009
Words:603
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