By Keiter CPAs
Ginny Graef’s Journey to Partner
When starting her career at Keiter five years ago at the tax senior manager level, becoming a partner was not something that Ginny initially focused on; her main focus has always been building trusted relationships with her clients and providing excellent client service. As she grew to understand more about Keiter’s culture and values, she realized that, as a partner, she had an opportunity to also be a part of a dynamic leadership team with a firm that shares her goals.
A culture and values-based career transition
Ginny was excited to work alongside a dynamic leadership team with a firm that shares her goals. She states, “Keiter recently came together to define its core values – Innovation, Relationships, Collaboration and Accountability – I am excited to be in a firm that challenges all of its people to live these values on a daily basis.”
After graduating from the University of Virginia, Ginny started her career in accounting at PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP. She also worked for BDO in the D.C. area, but ultimately discovered she preferred a smaller, more intimate work setting. That was Ginny’s initial draw to Keiter. She found the Firm to be like an extended family, with professionals that are skilled in technical knowledge and share her passion for client service.
Ginny was raised in the Richmond area, so coming to Keiter was coming back home for her. Her career transition to Keiter gave her an opportunity to enjoy family life—raising her now 13-year-old twins, and spending time with her husband without the hustle and bustle of DC.
Supporting flexible working arrangements in accounting
Ginny is known to be a master of time management, which has helped her balance the demands of work and home responsibilities while also finding time for herself and giving back to the community. Ginny credits this ability to her mother, who is an incredible inspiration for her. Her mother managed the family household and taught her the importance of balance and how to keep things in perspective. This is something that Ginny cherishes, with having a career that at times, can be busy. Ginny said, “During tax busy season, you need balance, and you need to know how to keep your cool in certain situations.” Her mother has taught her how to juggle multiple demands at a time while not sweating the small stuff.
Ginny hopes to contribute to the accounting industry becoming a more flexible career field. Because of the time demands, public accounting has historically been a tough environment to work in for employees with family responsibilities. While family responsibility used to reference mainly children, it now often includes employees assisting in the care of parents or other relatives. Ginny states, “She hopes the accounting field can leverage technology and embrace new, and perhaps less traditional, ways to manage time to provide more work/life balance. If you’re in a caregiver role, you should still have the opportunity for a successful career in public accounting.”
Outside the office: traveling, animal rescues, and art
During her spare time Ginny enjoys exercising, being outside, traveling, and volunteering with various animal rescues. Now that her children are older, she anticipates traveling more with them and showing them new countries. Ginny has a soft spot for animals and has two dogs; a pug named Bennett and a rescued American Stafforshire Terrier named Scout. Both of her dogs’ names have an interesting story as Scout is a character in her favorite book, To Kill a Mockingbird. Bennett is named after Tony Bennett who is the UVA basketball coach of whom she is a big fan. Go Hoos!
When she is not working, Ginny is also an active member of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) Charitable Board of Advisors. On this board she serves as an ambassador by supporting the development efforts of the museum. Ginny enjoys being exposed to different types of art because it is very different form what she does on a day-to-day basis.
Advice to future Keiter leaders
What is Ginny’s advice to interns that aspire to one day be in her position?
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions, be curious, always ask why and don’t just do what you are told without understanding the why.”
She states that the secret ingredient for her to be successful in the accounting world is (1) having a strong family support system and (2) teammates who support each other. Ginny was blessed with a strong family unit and now, at Keiter, Ginny has found a strong internal network of colleagues. “They are just really good people,” she said.
About the Author
The information contained within this article is provided for informational purposes only and is current as of the date published. Online readers are advised not to act upon this information without seeking the service of a professional accountant, as this article is not a substitute for obtaining accounting, tax, or financial advice from a professional accountant.