CLEVELAND, Ohio – (April 21, 2021) – Apple Growth Partners (AGP), award-winning accounting and business advisory firm, has named Erica Ishida, MPOD, president and chief operating officer. Ishida joins chairman Chuck Mullen, CPA, CMA, MTax, CGMA, to execute the firm’s aggressive growth strategy.
Erica Ishida, MPOD, joined Apple Growth Partners in 2020, having previously partnered with the firm as an external executive coach and leadership consultant. In less than a year, Ishida has transformed the firm’s culture by focusing efforts on people and processes. Still navigating the ongoing pandemic impacts, Ishida collaborated with the firm’s leadership team to develop a hybrid/remote work strategy for employees post-Covid-19. Ishida also established the groundwork for the essential foundation required for growth, including identifying policies and procedures, chartering a change management program, and founding accountability models for employees. As a certified leadership development coach, Ishida’s experience includes people development, sales growth, cultural transformations, and individual and organizational growth. Through her consulting business, Coconino Partners, and positions as a C-level executive for Northeastern Ohio companies, she has helped companies and individuals achieve intentional development by focusing on leadership, culture, value creation, and change management, ultimately leading to revenue growth.
Ishida’s role will focus on charting the growth trajectory for AGP by managing the internal operations of the firm, including talent, culture, project and change progression, teamwork, and accountability. As the first female executive appointed by the firm, Ishida’s announcement represents expanding gender inclusion in the accounting industry, particularly in equity partner roles.
According to the 2019 CPA Firm Gender Survey published by the AICPA in 2020, only 23 percent of partners in CPA firms were women and only 29 percent of female representation in executive committees (for firms with 21 – 99 CPAs).
“Erica’s vast experience in leadership and team development is like none we’ve had in our firm’s history,” states chairman Chuck Mullen. “Along with her impressive resume of expertise and proven results in growing and scaling businesses, her input as a female executive is necessary for our firm. Erica brings the perspective of more than half of our employees to the operating committee. As all employers continue to outline the future of the workforce in a post-Covid world, her insight is significant to our culture.”
Recent studies show CPA firms can continue attracting and retaining female professionals by establishing ‘modified work arrangements’ (MWAs), including remote working, reduced hours, flextime, and seasonal roles. Ishida’s initiative since joining AGP in 2020 is the development of a hybrid work strategy for the firm’s professionals, continuing the success of AGP’s transition to a virtual workforce at the onset of the pandemic. The plan, known as AGP Anywhere, will support employees’ choice for their work setting and flexibility, along with hiring full-time remote professionals outside Ohio for the first time.
Collaborating with chairman Chuck Mullen, Ishida will play a significant role expanding the award-winning firm by managing the workforce and internal operations, while Mullen focuses on external collaboration and opportunities.
“Working alongside Erica will set our growth plan in action, as we have our sights set on expanding to a $100M firm within 10 years,” comments Mullen. “In the last 12 months, our firm successfully managed to transition to a remote workforce, which kept our employees and families safe during the pandemic and presented new opportunities for clients outside of Northeastern Ohio. We’re confident our firm will exceed aggressive growth goals and continue delivering healthy growth solutions to business owners anywhere.”
“Having Erica onboard as our firm’s president and chief operating officer provides a dual focus from our leadership team – navigating external opportunities for growth by appropriately managing internal workloads and culture development. With Erica on our team as president and COO, our firm is on the path of advancement.”
About Apple Growth Partners
Apple Growth Partners (AGP) is an award-winning accounting and business advisory firm with more than 77 years of creative solutions that deliver healthy, sustainable growth. AGP offers a full range of services for privately held businesses, including tax planning and compliance, audit and assurance, business valuation, litigation consulting, employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), fraud prevention and detection, family office services for High-Net-Worth individuals, and transaction advisory. With more than 100 employees, AGP collaborates with business owners and partners across Ohio and beyond, extending client services through a remote workforce in 2020 while maintaining office locations in Akron, Canton, Cleveland, and Kent. AGP’s professionals provide expertise in additional industries and services, such as employee benefit plans, bookkeeping, auto dealerships, manufacturing, construction and real estate, and Black-owned businesses. To learn more, visit www.applegrowth.com.