Hungerford Nichols announced that Shareholder Carla Grant has retired from the firm effective January 1, 2019. She has been with the firm her entire career, starting as an intern in 1985. She became a shareholder and developed a successful Employee Benefit Plan audit practice, all while working part-time. While this may be more common today, it was virtually unheard of for women in the 80s and early 90s, especially in the accounting profession. During her time with Hungerford, Carla provided Employee Benefit Plan audit services to clients of a variety of sizes, from just one employee to tens of thousands of employees. She also provided consulting services in ERISA compliance, plan design and administrative issues.
“During her time with our firm, Carla has built a reputation as a leader in the Employee Benefit Plan audit area. She has a keen attention to detail and unwavering commitment to her clients. She has been a valuable member of our leadership team and we thank her for her many years of mentoring her team and developing the culture of our firm.” – Rick Chrisman, CPA, MST, Managing Shareholder.
Carla Grant has been instrumental in helping to create the flexible work culture of the firm and has spearheaded work-life balance initiatives. She has been an advocate for flexible work schedules for all and helped to lead many initiatives throughout the firm to benefit families. Carla was honored for her success in business by being recognized with the YWCA Tribute Award “Woman of Achievement” and was also selected by the Grand Rapids Business Journal as one of the “50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan”.
“We didn’t hide it, but few people knew we were sisters-in-law working together as fellow CPA Shareholders in Hungerford Nichols for all these years. I introduced Carla to the Firm when she graduated from college and married my brother, Rich Grant. Knowing Carla desired to work part-time once her first child was born, we developed a plan for her to become indispensable to the Firm while still working part- time. It involved developing a significant depth of expertise in the area of Employee Benefit Plans and developing a team of specialists to work with her. By doing this, Carla blazed a trail for the next generation of female CPAs to become shareholders, working part-time. She eventually became a speaker for the AICPA on this topic.” said Peggy Murphy, CPA, CGMA, Shareholder.
Carla Grant, CPA, Shareholder
Carla graduated from Michigan Technological University in November of 1984 and started as an intern of the firm in March of 1985 (in the middle of tax season), when the firm employed only twelve people. She was hired as a Staff Accountant after her internship and passed her CPA exam (on the first try) in 1985. She moved up rather quickly within the firm. She became a Senior Accountant within one and a half years and a Manager within three years. By her fifth year, she gave birth to her first child. The firm leadership encouraged her to continue on her employment path and presented her a part-time work option so she could stay on at the firm while raising a family at home in 1990. Carla continued to work part-time throughout her entire career, became a shareholder in 2001, and helped to developed a hugely successful Employee Benefit Plan audit practice. Early in her career, she was also asked to lead the Human Resources within the firm and helped create many policies that we still have today.
Carla is very active in the community and is a passionate volunteer. She is as a member of St. Thomas the Apostle Church, where she has served on the Finance Council and as a volunteer musician. She currently serves as Treasurer of the Grand Rapids Public Library Foundation and acts as treasurer or trustee on several other boards. She is a heartfelt volunteer for these and other local nonprofit organizations, focusing on literacy and learning. Among her favorite activities are sailing, hiking, playing piano, singing, and traveling. Carla is excited to spending time with her family in her retirement and to continue her volunteer work with her husband Rich for Safe Water International Ministries (S.W.I.M.). She will leave her practice in the very capable hands of her team of Jennifer Onderko, Jenny VanderBoon and Steve Triezenberg.
Carla is proud of the legacy she has left behind including helping to carve opportunities for women as well as her advocacy for quality of life and flexible work arrangements. She encourages young staff members to make themselves valuable within the firm and to stick with public accounting because it can be incredibly exciting and rewarding.
We will miss you Carla!