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Saltmarsh Holds 2nd Annual Beacon Leadership Program for Accounting Students

6/5/2018 - By Zachary Farrington

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Saltmarsh welcomed 10 exceptionally qualified accounting students to our office on May 30th and 31st for Beacon, the firm’s summer leadership program. The dynamic, two-day program paired fundamental leadership training with team building and out-of-office activities to offer a 360-degree view of what it is like to work in the accounting field and be a part of Saltmarsh.

Students representing the University of West Florida, the University of Florida, the University of South Florida, Auburn University, the University of South Alabama and Troy University participated in this leadership and development program. After learning about the history of Saltmarsh and our firm culture and vision from President Lee Bell, the students and staff had the pleasure to hear a representative of Studer Group speak on Leadership in the Office. 

The rest of the day focused on the culture and team at Saltmarsh, as many shared their personal experiences and perspectives to give students a glimpse of what a career in professional services is like. Our Shareholder Q&A Panel featured Stephen Reyes, Frank Riehle, Bill Massey, and Molly Murphy. Our shareholders were followed by a Staff Q&A Panel which focused on the day-to-day life at Saltmarsh. As one student mentioned, “I was really glad to have the shareholder and accountants Q&A as it gave me time to ask pertinent questions about audit and tax to help me learn what personalities would fit into each role.” Whether they worked in Tax, Audit, Financial Institutions Consulting, Investment Management, or Information Technology, all agreed that the culture of Saltmarsh was a unique one that spans across the firm’s varying service lines. 

Before dinner, Diane Martinez and Destini Cooper treated the students to a guided tour of the Pensacola office. After a busy day, the students had an opportunity to eat and relax at The Fish House before steeling their nerves for the Escape on Palafox’s Museum Robbery Room. With only 19 seconds to spare, they made it out!

Beacon’s second day focused on the world outside of Saltmarsh, with an emphasis on community leadership and giving back. Our Entrepreneur Panel shared their thoughts on what it means to be a community leader and improve your local area, and Dr. Athena du Pre, Distinguished University Professor of Communication at the University of West Florida, shared a heartwarming presentation on what “etiquette” really means for businesses and individuals.  The day’s final speaker was Councilwoman Renee Bookout who provided practical advice on the highs and lows of internships.

The final team-building exercise pitted the students against each other as two teams faced off in our Beacon Game Show, hosted by Zachary Farrington and Lori Gambill. After lunch at Jaco’s Bayfront Bar & Grille, the students said their goodbyes and headed back home. Saltmarsh counts it our privilege to have provided these students an opportunity to learn about leadership values they can use wherever their career takes them.  

"Our goal for Beacon was to provide students with an opportunity to receive professional development, participate in leadership opportunities and to network with other students all while gaining a better understanding of Saltmarsh’s people and culture," stated Mel Kleinert, Recruiting/Learning & Development Manager. "I believe we accomplished our goal."

Special thanks to the following organizations and people who helped make this event a success:

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