by Ingrid Matta

The Brevard operations of RSM McGladrey | McGladrey & Pullen (McGladrey) have more than just a female touch.  The firm’s local team, based in Melbourne, is in fact lead entirely by women.

Managing Directors and partners Kathleen Thomas-Beck and Terri Burdine have called Brevard home from day one – literally.  Both Brevard natives, these professionals have managed to balance raising families of their own while excelling in a highly competitive, traditionally male dominated industry.  Coincidentally, they both started with the firm after college graduation on the same day some 20 years ago.

Thomas-Beck, who serves as the Consulting Service Leader for McGladrey’s Florida practice, oversees a full range of consulting services, including business process re-engineering, risk management, litigation services, business valuation and information system security reviews.  She also serves on the Florida Executive team, responsible for overseeing the operations and strategic decisions of the firm’s 350-person statewide practice.

Burdine oversees the tax services provided to clients throughout Brevard, devoting the majority of her time to serving clients who are closely held with growing and emerging businesses.  She has extensive experience providing both consulting and compliance services to a variety of industries, including manufacturing, consumer products, agriculture and real estate.

What Does It Take?

Thomas-Beck and Burdine appear to care about their vocation as much as they do the people with whom they work – both employees and clients alike.  Whether minimizing risk or maximizing revenue, much of their service focuses on strengthening the well-being of the entities they serve.

But for these women, it is not really about companies. “It’s about the people affected by that organization,” says Thomas-Beck.  “Their employees depend on them for their livelihood; their customers expect a quality offering; their shareholders require a profit to continue the economic cycle.  You have to possess expertise, but you also have to care about the people that are impacted every day to stay motivated to provide the caliber service they deserve.”

Burdine quickly picks up where her partner left off.  “A successful leader has to be able to empathize with her staff and show them support if she is to expect the same in return.  We seek out the best talent – professionals with a drive to succeed and qualifications to bring value to clients – but we keep that talent because we care.  We express a genuine interest.”

There is no doubt that these professionals have the experience to provide their services and are dedicated to their profession and their community.  Thomas-Beck, a certified public accountant (CPA), previously served on the Operating Committee for American Express Tax & Business Services and in 2007; she was also recognized nationally by McGladrey as ‘Employee of the Year’ out of 8,000 employees for her commitment to clients and employees that helped significantly grow the firm’s consulting practice.  Each month under Thomas-Beck’s leadership the office sponsors an employee-driven fund raiser to support and give back to the community.

Burdine, a CPA in Florida and Oklahoma, is a member of the Florida and American Institutes of Certified Public Accountants.  She has extensive experience working with the Internal Revenue Service and Florida Department of Revenue and has served on a national committee for the firm’s Women’s Initiative, a program designed to promote women into leadership roles. Burdine values her role as a mentor to several women just beginning their careers.

Other members of the all-female Brevard management team include Directors Carmina Clark, Yvonne Clayborne and Jennifer Murtha.

Clark, a CPA and certified fraud examiner (CFE), focuses on fraud investigation.  Clayborne, a CPA, was also born and raised in Brevard County.  Her professional focus is in performing external audits.  Murtha, also a CPA, focuses on risk management services.  She presents and participates regularly in continuing professional education training, and her clients include Brevard County and the School Board.

Keeping the Team Together

The McGladrey team not only cares about each other but also their community.  They share interests and are serious about giving back.  For example, they have risen thousands of dollars for Relay for Life and participate together and with their families in multiple 5k runs.

This type of bonding clearly pays off.  The team was recently acknowledged for having the highest employee satisfaction scores in their office for anywhere in the firm’s seven office Florida practice.

The fact that the firm’s Brevard office provides so many opportunities to female professionals is a reflection on the local leadership and the larger organization, a Working Mother “Best 100” Company and best-in-class for flexibility.