Apple Growth Partners

Erica Ishida

President and Chief Operating Officer

Erica Ishida

What does “leadership” mean to you?
Leadership is a mindset and a commitment to knowing and leading oneself– in our thoughts, actions, behaviors, and interactions with others. It’s knowing who we are, what we value, and making choices aligned with that. And it’s encouraging, supporting, and empowering others to know and value themselves, and to live accordingly. Leadership is about living an intentional life and seeking to be of service to others and to the greater good.

What does it mean for you to be part of the OC leadership team, and how do you all work together?
The Operating Committee of AGP is a group of four of us who are charged to make day to day strategic, operational, and leadership decisions for the firm. It is a privilege to be part of this team, with Chuck Mullen, Randy Misch, and Jason Bogniard.  Each of us has unique strengths, and areas of expertise, that compliment each other and help us to make well-rounded decisions for the firm. We all respect one another and trust each other. We each know our limitations. We rely on each other to bring a necessary perspective to all conversations and to the decision making process. All of us put the firm, and the greater good before anything else. None of us lead with ego – in any conversation, debate, or in decision-making.

What is the most rewarding part of being a leader?
Being in a position to create a compelling vision for an organization and its people, and to align the organization effectively to execute on that vision, live our collective values, and help the firm, and everybody at the firm move closer to actualizing their potential. Also, being of service – empowering and advocating for others, removing obstacles to success, and enforcing “doing the right thing for the right reasons” – every time.

How do you practice leadership in your daily life?
I work hard to be self-aware – how I’m feeling, how I’m managing those feelings, and how I’m impacting others. Living an intentional life, and consistently living my values is how I try to practice leadership in my daily life. I am constantly seeking to learn and grow and move closer to actualizing my potential.

How do you refine your leadership skills?
I work to become a better leader by consistently seeking to grow and learn as a person and as a professional, and by seeking feedback from those around me who will be honest – about what I am doing well and where I can be better. Also by getting better at taking care of myself. The more rested, energized, and healthy I am, the stronger leader I am.

What has been the hardest lesson as a leader?
As a leader, I have learned that my actions, words, tone, and body language have a bigger impact on others than I might think. With leadership comes immense responsibility – to check-in with myself, manage myself (my energy, thoughts, and feelings), and be honest with others about how I’m feeling so that any negativity or stress I might be feeling doesn’t get unintentionally transferred to someone else or be mistaken by someone else as something they did wrong.

Who do you admire as a leader and why?
Queen Elizabeth I is one leader that I admire. She had a combination of love for her people and tremendous courage that I have always admired. I also admire Maya Angelou. She has dug into the depths of her soul to understand herself and her life’s experience. She created meaning from it and shared it with others so that we too might find deeper meaning in our experiences, our relationships, and our lives.

In your opinion, why is our firm’s leadership team different than other CPA firms?
We all put the firm and greater good before our egos – every time; Each of us has a growth mind-set and is willing to learn, grow, and adapt personally, and to lead change within the firm; We have complimentary but different backgrounds, personalities, and skill-sets that ensures we collectively take a balanced perspective to making big decisions for the firm. Each of us has a service mentality, seeking first to serve others before gaining anything for ourselves. We have fun together, we trust each other, and we support one another – always.

What would you like prospective employees to know about your leadership style?
I am driven to make progress – for the firm, and for every person at our firm. I, and the other leaders at AGP, are here to champion the growth of our firm, our clients, and our people. We have the courage to do whatever it takes in service of that purpose. No egos, or alternative agendas will stand in our way of pursuing growth for our firm, our people, and our clients. We are committed to taking care of those who rely on us and our firm. We will pursue those things with all the energy we have – always.

What would you like business owners/clients/potential clients to know about your leadership style?
I, and the other leaders at AGP, will bring the same integrity, passion, strength, and commitment to the growth of your business as we do to the growth of our people and our firm.

A fun fact about yourself for prospective employees and clients to know about you.
I am also a certified dog trainer. And I prefer fleece, hiking pants, and boots, to high power suits and high heels.

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