Woman to Watch: Kristen Clark

Woman to watch: Kristen Clark

Arlene Hisiger 
Kristen Clark Feb14

(Photo: Photo provided by Kristen Clark)

Kristen Clark, a partner at the accounting firm Bonadio Group, is a woman of firsts.

She was the first in her family to graduate college, and in 1998 she became the first "homegrown" female employee to achieve the rank of partner at the Bonadio Group's Rochester office.

About half of people with accounting degrees are women, but only 19 percent of partners in CPA firms are, Clark says. Bonadio is at a 24 percent female partner rate, something she sees as a sign that her firm is succeeding at retaining women.

Clark now plays a critical role within the firm as director of quality assurance and education.

The Syracuse native joined the firm straight out of St. John Fisher College when there were 30 employees. There are now 500.

"When I was first employed, I was careful not to call attention to my female status. Now, I'm very interested in promoting women. I like to think that I lead by example," Clark says.

Clark has witnessed an increase in the number of women pursuing careers in her field. "One of the biggest issues in the profession is people aging out (mostly men) versus people coming in," she says.

"We need to serve our clients," she says. "But where, when and how, well, there are a lot of options, if you are open to them."

For example, Clark is a believer in more flexibility in work schedules "not only for working moms, but for men and single women, as well; people need to have lives outside the office," she says. "If people are well-rounded and take care of their health, it makes for a much more successful business."

For those just beginning their careers, Clark believes it is critical to identify and align themselves, early on, with people they wish to emulate. "It doesn't necessarily have to be a woman — what's important is the person's perspective, style and success. And be patient, things take a lot of time and a lot of hard work," she says.


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