Stories of Our Community

Here we feature the CPAs that make up the New Jersey Society of CPAs. They come from many different walks of life, have varied hobbies and interests, and have diverse accomplishments. But they all share one thing: they are certified public accountants. Read more to find out what drew them to the profession and what keeps them going.

Want to share your story? Contact us! You might find your story on this page and in the next issue of New Jersey CPA magazine.

 

Rory Thomas Gannon, CPA
There are lots of connections between forensic accounting and law. Both rely on a "questioning mind."
Diahann W. Lassus, CPA,M.B.A., PFS, CFP
That's the thing that keeps you going in this business. You can really see the impact you've had on clients' lives.
Melissa Soranno, CPA
The accounting firm offered me an internship. I laughed at them saying, "I don't want to be an accountant!"
Jeffrey Christakos, CPA, CFP, CLU, AIF
Whenever I have a challenging task, I know that I can press through because I’ve been able to accomplish things I thought I could never do with my body.
Robert A. Raiola, CPA
They said, 'We are big fans of your work and we want to feature you on a trading card.' It was an honor to be part of the sports card set. I was flattered.
Christopher R. Stoop, CPA
We were brothers in the backroom, and now we're brothers in the boardroom. It's come full circle, in a much different environment.
Nicole M. DeRosa, CPA
Even when things get stressful, I always try to keep a positive attitude and stay enthusiastic.
Jatinder Singh, CPA
My parents wanted me to be a doctor. So I left India promising them that I would become a doctor in the United States. But I knew in the back of my mind I would never be a doctor.
Grant D. Ashley, CPA, CGMA
I think the most satisfying cases were the ones where my team was able to return kidnapped children to their parents.
Tony Novak, CPA
It really was like the movie The Wolf of Wall Street back then. I flew on private jets, wore power suits and had a red Porsche.
Martin H. Abo, CPA, ABV, CVA, CFF
At my practice, I deal with a lot of divorce, death and financial ruin. That makes me want to enjoy life, have a good time and share my home with family and friends.
Edward E. Adiele, CPA
Not only did the NJCPA scholarship lessen my financial burden for that semester, but it afforded me the opportunity to meet and connect with a partner at Deloitte. Today, I am a senior auditor at the company. I would not be where I am today without the scholarship.
Frank Bianco, CPA
My hobby complements my profession because they both gravitate toward precision and accuracy. You need to put in the time to get the right results.
James Blake, CPA
As the first child in my family to attend college, I certainly didn’t want to let my mom down, but I also didn’t want to disappoint the NJCPA members who had helped lead me through the scholarship process.
Jaime Campbell, CPA, M.B.A., CTT, MCT
Being good at math, I thought the accounting profession would be a nice use of my logical thinking. So, I began an accelerated M.B.A. program at Rutgers for non-business majors.
Patrick F. Chong, CPA
Financial security was always a concern for me, primarily because I was raised by my grandmother, now 90 years old, who had no financial means of her own. The scholarship allowed me to focus on my education, rather than the amount of student debt I was accruing.
Cheryl Corbett, CPA
I think my biggest mistake was trying to implement suggestions of many well-intentioned people. As an entrepreneur, you have to stay focused on your products and do what you feel is right.
Christopher G. Costa, Special Agent
I get a lot of satisfaction from helping convict someone who’s engaging in human trafficking or preventing money from going to criminal organizations.
Henrietta G. Fuchs, CPA
I moved to the United States at the age of 18, when I left my family and home country of Hungary to attend college in New Jersey. I chose to pursue accounting because it was something that came easy to me even though I had not yet mastered the English language.
Daniel J. Geltrude, CPA
We've sold more than a million cupcakes and are up to 200 flavors. Now, we need to determine how we will open additional retail locations. That's the type of thing I find really exciting about being an entrepreneur.
Bernard R. Gingras, CPA
Woodcarving is clearly different than my day job; there’s a precision and creativity there that’s also present in accounting. It’s been interesting developing that part of me.
Maryann Holloway, CPA, RMA, PSA, CMFO
I've located one descendent who was the focus of a 1700s article in Benjamin Franklin's Philadelphia Gazette and another relative who, while selling his goods in town, was apparently chased by some British Redcoats.
Ivan Kossak, CPA
You build a collection, but don’t need room in your house to store it. And you get the thrill of the hunt without the killing. Plus, I’ve seen a lot of beautiful places and connected with nature.
James A. Kruper, CPA
I thought joining the Harley Owners Group (HOG) would be a good way to meet like-minded people, plus I thought it would be more fun to ride with others.
Howie W. Kutcher, CPA/MS (Tax)
I got a new piano teacher who was a hippie. He introduced me to The Beatles, Billy Joel, Elton John and other rock musicians, and it renewed my interest in playing.
John S. Lee, CPA
About this time in 1986, an attorney and NJCPA member who administered a charitable trust, came forward with a check for $20,000. The final count was just over $148,000, and we awarded 22 scholarships in 1986. But, the success did not end with the term of my office. Each year the support has continued.
Anthony F. Marone, CPA, CGMA
One of the great parts about the NJCPA and the various student programs, is the opportunity it provides young professionals to meet other CPAs and develop their network. As a student and fresh out of school, I was amazed at how much exposure I had to CPAs and CPA firms through my involvement in the organization.
Jesse C. Stoop, CPA
I have an aunt (78) to this day who says, 'Chris, right?' and I say, 'No, it's Jesse.'
Jonathan E. Perelman, CPA/PFS/MST
Breathing the clean air and seeing such scenic landscapes, fly fishing is such a peaceful, relaxing experience. It's the perfect antidote for a stressful tax season.
Christopher P. Zirrith, CPA
The boating's fantastic; it's a jumping-off point to many other great places. I wouldn't be surprised if my daughters captain their own boats one day.
Mark J. Philips, CPA
I can appreciate this incredible bonding time now and hopefully have a long career at the firm — so what's six weeks in the grand scheme of things?
O'Neil A. Reid, CPA
I get to interview athletes, the media and sports executives. We all have a story to tell.
Ainsley A. Reynolds, CPA, CGMA
We have judges, doctors, business people and others who share their success stories with the kids. Our first year, the school had no African-American kids in the National Honor Society. By the time this group graduated high school, there were nine.
Gail Rosen, CPA
Through politics, I get to meet a diverse group of people and get access to decision makers who can positively impact programs for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Megan A. Sartor, CPA
My college education got me to where I am today. I donate to the NJCPA each year. I believe every individual with drive and ambition deserves the chance to soar towards the sky and only stop when they want to, not because they can't afford it.
Kimberlee S. Phelan, CPA
It's amazing to be able to share the stage with these dedicated artists whose movements are so beautiful and fluid. It's really a wonderful way to express oneself without speech.
Michael P. Stinson, CPA
I remember in the immediate aftermath how quiet it was and all of the debris around. We've been through storms and floods in South Jersey before, but nothing like this.
Robert J. Traphagen, CPA , CGMA
My success was founded on an inspiring teacher who took the time to mentor me and on the dollars from the scholarship that allowed me a path to a quality higher education.
H. Jay Sexton, CPA
Prior to the trip, my wife made a felt heart and cut it half. She gave half to Myles and I brought the other half with me. When I got to the summit, I took it out and it brought tears to my eyes.
Julia L. Van Saun, CPA, MS
I grew up knowing that if I wanted something, I'd have to pay for it — whether it was a cell phone, a car or a college education. College is expensive and it is extremely daunting when your family cannot alleviate some of the financial burden. Receiving the scholarship eased some of this pressure, and I am now paying off less student loans.
Patrick M. Trombetta, CPA
I wanted to gain more coaching experience so I could one day coach at the high school or college level. Princeton Day School is small, but the staff and parents are very supportive and the kids are great.