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MACPA’s leadership team, mission remain focused on helping Maryland CPAs thrive

For Tom Hood, the Business Learning Institute, and the Maryland Association of CPAs, a new era has arrived.

Hood, who has served as president and CEO of the MACPA for the past 24 years and is widely recognized as one of accounting and finance’s most influential figures, has joined the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (or the Association) as its executive vice president of business growth and engagement. He will report to the Association’s CEO, Barry Melancon.

In addition, the Association has acquired the Business Learning Institute, the MACPA’s training affiliate, to help organizations worldwide upskill and reskill their employees so they can continue to meet ever-changing market demands. Together, the Association and the BLI will accelerate the introduction of new, innovative content for accounting and finance professionals globally.

“I am excited to join Barry and his team to continue making accounting and finance professionals and CPAs around the world even more future-ready and able to thrive in a globally volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world,” Hood said. “The BLI team is looking forward to coming together as part of the Association to leverage our combined strengths, reach and scale.”

“At the same time, I will look back proudly on the great things the MACPA has accomplished, the differences we’ve made, and the countless friends I’ve made along the way. I will never forget the mark that the MACPA has had on my career and development, and the great people whose shoulders I stand on as I move on to help our global profession with the Association.”

“Tom’s vision and mission to help finance and accounting professionals grow in a changing business environment is well aligned with the Association’s goals of powering trust, opportunity and prosperity for members, students, the profession and those they serve. He brings energy, insight, enthusiasm and a unique ability to facilitate connections,” Melancon added. “Tom will add value to our engagement with businesses and the accounting and finance professions, increasing our understanding of the challenges they face and how to best meet their needs.”

Jackie Brown, who has spent the past 40 years as part of the MACPA team and has served as its chief operating officer for the past 23 years, will succeed Hood as the MACPA’s CEO. Her promotion provides the MACPA with a much-needed sense of familiarity and stability as Hood departs.

“I speak for our entire team when I say how #MarylandCPAProud we all are of what Tom has done — and will be able to do now — for the global profession,” Brown said. “I’m also confident that the team we’ve developed in Maryland is ready to take the ball to make him proud, too.”

“Jackie has been a fixture at the MACPA for decades, and she is ready to make the leap from COO to CEO and continue to help MACPA members thrive and become future-ready,” said Avonette Blanding, chair of the MACPA’s 2020-21 Board of Directors. “I’m excited about the future of the MACPA and the profession!”

MACPA: Familiar faces, same mission
Though Hood and the BLI have departed, little else will change for the MACPA. Its mission — to Connect, Protect, and help Maryland’s accounting and finance professionals Achieve success — continues to be its primary focus.

The MACPA’s leadership team also remains largely intact, consisting of talented professionals who have served the profession for decades in their respective roles. They include:

  • Technical Services and Regulatory Affairs Director Mary Beth Halpern, now in her 30th year with the MACPA.
  • CFO Skip Falatko (21 years).
  • Controller Laura Swann (21 years).
  • Chief Communications Officer Bill Sheridan (21 years).
  • Director of Learning Dee Sullivan (21 years).
  • Director of Development Rebekah Brown (nine years).

Each member of the MACPA’s leadership team is also building his or her own succession plan to ensure a smooth leadership transition when the time comes.

And though the MACPA will no longer own the Business Learning Institute, it will still be powered by BLI learning. The MACPA will continue to deliver BLI programs to Maryland CPAs, CPA firms, and corporate employers and will benefit from the Association’s ability to offer BLI learning on a global scale. Meanwhile, the BLI and its stellar team of thought leaders and course authors will remain committed to delivering the skills that accounting and finance professionals need in an environment marked by exponential change.

The BLI’s leadership also will have a familiar ring to it. Hood, who helped create the BLI in 1999, will continue to provide leadership in supporting BLI clients and itsCFO products and services through its integration with the Association. And Pamela Devine, who has served for years as director of learning and development for both the MACPA and the BLI, will continue in that role with the new BLI. She will be joined by select members of her MACPA team.

“The MACPA will benefit from this deal in terms of immediate cash and future revenue, which we will use to help our members become future-ready,” Hood said. “The BLI was created with that mission in mind — to help the profession become future-ready, but with a Maryland-first mindset.”

The profession’s future starts in Maryland
The MACPA also will expand its role as a training ground for the profession’s next generation of national and international leaders. Kimberly Ellison-Taylor, who served as the first Marylander to chair the American Institute of CPAs’ Board of Directors in 2016-17 and is consistently ranked among the most influential people in the profession, started her leadership path in the profession as chair of the MACPA’s 2010-11 Board of Directors. Former MACPA Chair Anoop Mehta also has been confirmed as an incoming AICPA chair. His term will run from June 2022 to May 2023.

The MACPA is also one of the profession’s leading voices for diversity, equality and inclusion. Maryland has played an important role in advancing diversity in the CPA profession and in state society and AICPA leadership, including:

  • The first Black state society chair, Graylin Smith in 2002.
  • The first Hispanic state society chair, Marianela del Pino Rivera in 2014.
  • The first Indian American state society chair, Mehta in 2012.
  • The first Black Maryland State Board of Accountancy chair, Benjamin King Sr. in 1969.
  • The first Black AICPA chair, Ellison-Taylor in 2016.

Other former MACPA chairs — including Blanding, Raymond Speciale, Samantha Bowling, and Byron Patrick, among others — have carved out niches for themselves throughout the profession in areas such as artificial intelligence, diversity and inclusion, compliance, and the future of work. That proud work will continue after Hood’s departure.

A legacy of leadership
Still, Hood’s efforts on behalf of the MACPA and its members will be missed. Almost from the start, he worked tirelessly to expand the MACPA’s profile and brand and advance the mission of accounting and finance professionals throughout the world.

After being named the MACPA’s president and CEO in January 1997, Hood immediately volunteered to help lead the CPA Vision Project, a nationwide grassroots effort to map the future of the profession and the skills CPAs would need to thrive going forward. The final Vision Project, published in 2011, identified those future-ready skills as communications and leadership; strategic and critical thinking; a focus on customers, clients, and markets; interpretation of converging information; and technology-related competencies.

Hood studied that list of competencies and asked himself, “If these are the skills CPAs will need to thrive in the future, shouldn’t the MACPA be teaching those skills?”

His solution was the Business Learning Institute, a training affiliate whose mission would be to provide higher-level, future-ready learning to accounting and finance professionals and CPAs in Maryland and across the country. The BLI was formed in 1999 and incorporated on Jan. 7, 2002.

Hood’s focus, however, went well beyond the future of learning.

  • He has helped the MACPA to not just survive but thrive in the wake of numerous economic downturns, including those that followed the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the 2002 Enron and WorldCom scandals, the 2008 housing crisis and the recession that followed, and the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.
  • He has helped build the next generation of CPA leaders as the principal instructor for the MACPA and AICPA Leadership Academies.
  • He has been focused solely on leading our profession, Maryland first, in transforming the world and making a positive impact.
  • He has been driven to Connect members, Protect their interests, and help a CPA-led profession Achieve success.

His new role with the Association isn’t the end of Hood’s work with the MACPA, though — far from it. As a Maryland CPA and an MACPA member, he will remain an active volunteer, providing counsel to its team and leadership in a number of critical areas, particularly on the legislative front, where he expects to play an ongoing role in the MACPA’s efforts to protect the profession in Annapolis and Washington D.C.

“Tom is also a great teacher, mentor, and leader,” Blanding said. “I’m thrilled by his decision to join the AICPA and expand his reach within the profession. We will sincerely miss him, but his guidance and leadership created a team that is prepared and able to assume the reins.”

Looking forward
In his new role with the Association, Hood will use his extensive connections, influence, experience, and passion for the accounting and finance professions to engage with businesses, their leaders, and their global networks. Hood will convert those insights into actions that support these professions and work across the Association to grow its understanding of their challenges and opportunities.

Another focus of Hood’s role will be partnering with Andrew Harding, FCMA, CGMA, the Association’s chief executive of management accounting, to further professionalize management accounting and support professionals in obtaining their Chartered Global Management Credential credential in the Americas. This includes the digital-first Finance Leadership Program, an online learning program that teaches candidates the finance, business, people and leadership skills needed to succeed in finance teams of the future.

Meanwhile, Brown and the rest of the MACPA team are looking forward to continuing the work to which Hood has devoted the past 24 years — helping the profession thrive and become more future-ready in a changing and complex world.

“I am confident in the MACPA and our leadership team under Jackie Brown’s direction,” Hood said. “She is critical to Maryland’s current and future success, and I look forward to celebrating the association’s successes under her watch.”

“Tom’s job has changed, but our work has not,” Brown added. “We remain focused on helping Maryland CPAs thrive in a world of exponential change. That’s our purpose, our passion, and the reason this association exists, and we’re proud to carry Tom’s legacy forward.”

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