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Rise to the challenge of the moment

Chair's Message

Katie Gabriel, CPA | February/March 2022 Footnote

Editor's note: Updated January 27, 2022

I really enjoyed serving as the MNCPA board chair this past year, but I’ll be straight with you with the understatement of the (fiscal) year: I would have much rather led the board when we were not in a pandemic. I was looking forward to showing up to represent the MNCPA in every way possible and, unfortunately, that had to look quite a bit different again this year. 

Fortunately, not everything was virtual; I feel lucky that our board was able to meet in person for a few meetings and for the annual board retreat, and I was able to host, live and in color, the MNCPA’s Fall Recognition Dinner. I’ll always cherish the memory of reading my cousin’s name as one of Minnesota’s newest CPAs. In the end, my year as chair didn’t unfold how I envisioned, but how often do our ideas go exactly according to plan? We adapt. It’s what we do.

We’ve all been adapting for some time. We’re ready for the pandemic to be over, but it feels like the end isn’t quite in sight. Through all its ups and downs, it’s OK to be upset and tired of it all. The fatigue is real. By now, many people, myself included, have lost a loved one to COVID-19. We’ve also missed out on travel, celebrations, conferences and connections — all vital to the human experience. We’ve missed out on spending time with family and friends, which, in my case, means my 2-year-old and 6-month-old haven’t met many of their relatives. We don’t have to fake a smile and say that everything’s all right.

The past two years challenge us to find the positives, to find what motivates us all to move forward, personally and professionally. Those reasons will vary, but my own answers allow me to reflect on this well-known quote from John Steinbeck’s “Travels with Charley: In Search of America,” which said, “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?”

We can

We can be upset, take a deep breath and decide how to proceed. We can be thankful for our health, the people in our lives and the opportunities we have. We can be thankful to work in a profession where there is such a high demand for our skill set. We can be thankful the MNCPA is in our corner.

We’re fortunate to be in such a strong market where we need to get creative for staffing solutions. There are incredible opportunities ahead for people in the profession; we all need to do our part to help guide people into the profession, a vital effort to not only sustain, but grow our ranks and value.

As I sign off, I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to work closely with the incredible MNCPA staff. The MNCPA staff work tirelessly to support its members and the profession. It’s been a pleasure to work alongside the other members of the board and we appreciate each member of the MNCPA. The board will be in great hands as Charles Esler steps in as chair in April.

Katie Gabriel, CPA

Chair, MNCPA board of directors