Celebrating the 110th Anniversary of the First Female NJCPA Member
The NJCPA commemorates the accomplishments of Dora G. Roworth (1885-1962) of Newark, who became the first female member of the NJCPA when she joined on April 9, 1912 — the 64th member overall.
On Dec. 11, 1909, Dora obtained her CPA license in New Jersey, originally referred to as a CPA Certificate (the 57th in the state). She worked as a CPA at Newark-based Frank G. DuBois, Inc. and later owned her own business. Dora was an active member of the Society, holding positions as auditor and treasurer.
As we reflect on the milestones of Dora and other groundbreaking female CPAs, watch as five female NJCPA members - Evelyn McDowell, CPA, Kathy Powers, CPA, Sofia Cordero, CPA, Twinkle Tailor, CPA, and Doris Vazacopoulos - talk about what drove them to become CPAs, the role that women play in the accounting profession and the messages they have for the next generation.
And here's what other NJCPA members had to say about what the achievements of Dora and other groundbreaking female CPAs mean to them.
- "Inspirational and paving the road for future generations!"
Jamila Bilimoria, CPA, MBA, CGMA, director of Finance & Accounting, GCT Global Container Terminals Inc.
- "Every step forward by a groundbreaking female makes the next step easier for all of us!"
Mary Buletza, CPA/PFS, owner, Mary C. Buletza, CPA/PFS
- "Dora's accomplishments made it easier for me to fulfill mine. She paved the way so that the trail was a bit more established, and it proved that women could participate in is such prestigious careers. Thank you, Dora!"
- "It’s a great milestone. It shows the capability of great women. If you have the drive and you believe in yourself, you will succeed."
Joan D’Uva, CPA, partner, EisnerAmper LLP
- "I was not aware of Dora's story and contribution to the profession; I think it's great to share her story with the rest of NJCPA members. Thank you for that. Dora is an inspiration for women in every professional path fighting to earn her place. I take her story as living proof that everything is possible if you work for it and don't take a no as final answer. Her contribution is valuable as she opens the door for the rest of us, female CPAs in NJ. Her journey as a CPA working for a firm and having her own business later on is the dream of many of us. If Dora accomplished it back when times were even harder for women, we can do it too!"
Cynthia Edwards, CPA, owner, Stellar Tax & Accounting Services
- "You can do anything you put your mind to."
Elaine Fazzari, CPA, partner, Raich Ende Malter & Co. LLP
- "Dora's accomplishments demonstrate women can do anything when we have a seat at the table. She is a trailblazing inspiration!"
Jacqueline Fenton, CPA, retired
- "She paved the way for female CPAs. Although still a male dominated profession, the number of female CPAs are increasing, thanks to Dora and the other female trailblazers."
Leila Griffith, CPA, senior accountant, Alston & Company, PC
- "They made it possible for me to have a career in accounting, but to tell you the truth I still felt like I was proving myself as a female when I joined the NJCPA 30 years ago, because there weren't that many women CPAs back then, but today I do notice a greater number of women CPAs at conferences and webinars in the past few years."
Deanna Jones, CPA, owner, Deanna J. Jones CPA LLC
- "If it weren't for the female CPAs that came before me, I might not have thought of becoming a CPA. Even though women still have to prove them worthy in most industries, the accounting industry seems to embrace women in the profession thanks to the people like Dora and other women. If they can do it in spite of roadblocks, then we can all do it today."
Jolene Kolvites, CPA, owner, Jolene L. Kolvites, CPA
- "They are trailblazers — they had the courage to go after their dreams so the women of today can dream bigger and go farther."
Jeneene Lake, CPA, senior consolidations manager, AdvanSix Inc.
- "Words cannot express the gratitude I have for Dora and other groundbreaking female CPAs to have had the determination and fortitude to have achieved such success in the profession. Their path to reaching their goals had to be extremely challenging and serve as an example to all of us female CPAs that followed in their footsteps!"
Arlene LaBanca Levenson, CPA, owner Arlene LaBanca Levenson, LLC
- "While I became a CPA before I heard about Dora, her accomplishments sure had paved the way for all female CPAs including myself. As a CPA for almost 30 years, I have been constantly inspired by many female CPAs and very happy with my professional choice of becoming a CPA."
Angie Lockard, CPA, owner, Lockard and Company CPA LLC
- "These were intelligent, brave and hardworking ladies who paved the way for the rest of us!"
Antoinette Marmora, CPA, CFO/controller, W.B. Law & Sons, Inc.
- "My generation of woman CPAs in BIG 8 Public Accounting were groundbreaking in many ways (CPA in 1978) but clearly Dora was on her own in 1909!"
Eileen Miele, CPA, consultant, EC2M Consulting, LLC
- "Dora’s accomplishments and those of other groundbreaking female CPAs exemplify that it is possible for individuals to go beyond others’ expectations and norms and achieve greatness. These inspiring females broke the mold and showed that any hardworking individual can become a CPA no matter their gender. Dora’s story motivates me as I aspire to become a CPA, and I feel fortunate that NJCPA student membership was always open to me with Dora leading the way."
Caitlyn Napolitano, student, Ramapo College of New Jersey
- "Dora Roworth’s accomplishments as well as the incredible work of other female CPAs serves as an inspiration and motivator to me, as I intend to become a CPA. Indeed, Dora’s and other groundbreaking female CPAs’ achievements clearly showcase that people can do anything that they set their minds to do, albeit the societal challenges along the way. Overall, their accomplishments demonstrate that with enough dedication and perseverance, victory and success will inevitably follow."
Courtney Napolitano, student, Ramapo College of New Jersey
- Dora's accomplishments laid the groundwork for women to not only see a path but also the possibility of successful careers as a CPAs. Thank you, Dora!"
Kathleen F. Powers, CPA, CFO, Matheny Medical and Educational Center and NJCPA president-elect
- "It is a pleasure for me to recognize Dora and all the other talented women that work in the accounting field. As Dora broke the gender barrier in 1912, female CPAs today are key members of the accounting profession. Their contributions have greatly helped the profession’s ability to serve the financial needs of business, industry and nonprofits."
Dr. R. Gregory Quirk, EDD, CPA, CGMA, retired
- "It's incredible to celebrate such a meaningful milestone for women in our profession. Thank you to Dora Roworth and the NJCPA for opening the door for women like me — a CPA and now a Global Managing Partner of a top 50 accounting firm!"
Lori A. Roth, CPA, ABV/CFF, national managing partner, Prager Metis CPAs, LLC
- "'Groundbreaking female'— a term that's been thrown at me at times. Yes, I suppose in ways, but I don't think most people, no matter what the "groundbreaking,” think of themselves at the time as anything other than a person trying to achieve against difficult roadblocks that don't have anything to do with ability, intelligence, experience, etc. As a result, I see each "groundbreaking" achievement as a pebble that in time amasses to a hill and maybe even a mountain that others more easily climb in the future."
Debra M. Simon, CPA, MST, managing member, DMSimon CPA, LLC
- "This gives me such pleasure to write about this groundbreaking female and what it means to me as we continue to praise the accomplishments of women and push for gender equality. I have some insight on this topic as my great great grandmother was one of the first New York City policewomen, being hired in 1924. There are so many amazing women that are trailblazing for the rest of us, we need to make sure that once we have reached a level in our careers that we turn around and help empower the next group of women coming up. No woman can truly win unless we all win, the social and economical differences between genders should be a primary focus. Biology should not define what we can accomplish, women are thinkers, problem solvers, leaders and when we as women support each other, incredible things can happen."
Karen Patricia Taylor-Burke, CPA, senior manager, PKF O’Connor Davies, LLP
- "In my opinion, these groundbreaking women provide choices to women of subsequent generations. I was able to have a choice to work, or not to work. I was able to have a choice to work in a field that allowed me the flexibility to work less hours while my children were younger and work from home in my own practice as my children became older. Having choices is the equivalent to freedom and that cannot be undervalued."
Michele Theuerkauf, CPA, owner, Michele Theuerkauf, CPA LLC
- "Thank you, Dora, for blazing the trails to establish your CPA career. The path that you created has made it possible for many women to pursue accounting careers. We are eternally grateful to you, and others like you, who defeated the odds to pursue their dream career."
Elaine Thompson-Hunt, CPA, MBA
- "Dora earned her CPA before women were given the right to vote. Fearless. Leadership. Independent. Fortitude."
June M. Toth, CPA, CFF, CITP, CGMA, managing member, zbt Certified Public Accounting & Consulting, LLC
- "Dora's accomplishments opened the door for the many CPAs to come after; however, even though I believe there are more female than male CPAs in NJ, we have a long way to level the playing field."
Suha O. Uddin, CPA, tax partner, Clyne Eagan & Associates, P.A.
- "Such an inspiration. I’m sure it was very hard to accomplish what Dora did in that time."
Heidi Wohlleb, CPA, partner, Nisivoccia LLP