GHJ held its inaugural Women’s Empowerment Speaker Series’ focusing on influence, persuasion and negotiation on May 11. Guest speaker Natasha Case of Coolhaus: Awesome Ice Cream spoke to attendees about her entrepreneurial spirit, drive for success and the upside of taking risks.

The firm launched the series to further women’s equality in the workplace and to help women in business network and learn from top professionals. GHJ’s commitment to supporting women is deeply rooted in the Firm’s culture. With more than half the staff comprised of females and about a third of its partners being women, GHJ prides itself on cultivating a varied employee base and providing a welcoming and supportive environment for people of all backgrounds and experiences. We believe this creates a diversity of thought that brings the best results for our clients and our people.

Natasha has built the foundation of a great company and looking back, has been driven by the knack for taking smart risks. Her first major event was selling ice cream at the world-famous Coachella Valley Music Festival, which could have been a major blunder, but was a step toward what propelled her to success today. She is forward-thinking in how she innovates outrageously delicious ice cream flavors, has generated opportunities for partnerships and leverages technology applications.

Natasha has tons of “Yes! Energy” and continues to motivate students from her high school through a mentor program, and women in the community through many speaking events like our Women’s Empowerment Speaker Series.

Natasha’s speech really resonated with me. As an ambitious millennial passionate about furthering my career, it seems like there are unlimited leadership and learning opportunities both in the greater Los Angeles area and at GHJ. For me, it’s about being strategic. “Yes! Energy” is great, but you have to learn to take the right opportunities at the right time.

What opportunities are right for you, right now? What are your goals? What do you need to make them happen?

Much of the business and finance sector is driven by meeting revenue goals, but the industry is evolving to recognize that productivity is further driven by flexible schedules, challenging and rewarding work, and motivation techniques by leadership beyond traditional revenue goals. Innovation is top of mind at every new and growing business. If you work for a great leader, they can and will help you meet your goals. You just have to ask.

As a doctoral student, lecturer at a major university, and city official in my spare time, I am confident that I would not be able to do any of these things without the support and encouragement of GHJ and the great leaders in my life. The firm wants me to #BeMore, to empower me and my colleagues and our entire community. And for that, I am thankful.

Ellington Frances halfbody

Frances Ellington Gutierrez

Frances Ellington Gutierrez, DBA, CPA, is the State and Local Tax Practice Leader at GHJ with a focus on multistate income and franchise tax, indirect tax and credits and incentives. Frances assists her clients on state and local tax issues related to tax audit controversy, nexus and reporting…Learn More