GHJ Leaders Recognized at the L.A. Times Inspirational Women Awards

LOS ANGELES, CA (November 8, 2023) – GHJ, a national advisory and accounting firm, is thrilled to announce that State and Local Tax Practice Leader Frances Ellington and Maria Pearman, a leader in GHJ’s Food and Beverage Practice, were recognized at L.A. Times B2B Publishing’s Inspirational Women Awards. Frances was named a finalist in the "Rising Star" category and Maria received a nomination in the "Company Executive" category.

“I am incredibly proud of Frances and Maria for their achievements.,” said GHJ Managing Partner Tom Barry. “Their dedication, innovation and leadership have been instrumental in our Firm's success, and this honor is a testament to their contributions.”

L.A. Times B2B Publishing’s 2023 Inspirational Women Forum and Leadership Awards took place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills on Nov. 7. This annual event showcases accomplished female leaders from across Los Angeles County and highlights their contributions to their organizations, industries and communities.


Frances Ellington, DBA, CPA, is a recognized expert in state and local tax matters and an inspiration to the people around her. She is a go-to expert on tax issues and has been quoted in national and international media. Going beyond personal achievements, Frances has used her position to elevate others. She co-founded GHJ’s Women’s Empowerment Cohort, which leads essential discussions about building gender equity in the accounting profession. She was promoted to partner in 2022 and leads a team of highly skilled tax professionals.

Frances is a Director on the Los Angeles Chapter Board of CalCPA with a focus on partnership and sponsorship initiatives for the accounting industry. She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor for the University of North Carolina’s Master of Accounting program.

Due to her significant contributions in the community and accounting industry, Frances was a recipient of The Accountant’s and International Accounting Bulletin’s 2020 Young Accountant of the Year Award and CalCPA’s 2019 Women to Watch Award in the Emerging Leader category. In 2022, she was named to the Los Angeles Business Journal and CalCPA’s inaugural list of Top 100 Accountants.


Maria Pearman, CPA, CGMA, is a powerhouse in the food and beverage space. Her unwavering commitment to providing outstanding service and her in-depth industry experience have earned her the trust of clients, colleagues and peers alike. Maria not only excels as a food and beverage expert but also generously shares her knowledge through industry events and media, contributing to the growth and success of the industry as a whole. Maria’s legacy of excellence, leadership, and mentorship within the industry continues to inspire and empower others. She enters the GHJ partnership on Jan. 1, 2024.

Dedicated to serving the food and beverage space, Maria has written two books about running successful beverage alcohol businesses: Small Brewery Finance and Distillery Finance. She has taught courses at the Business of Craft Beer program at the University of Vermont as well as the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States Academy. In acknowledgement of her leadership as a client service provider, Maria was named a Woman of Influence: Accounting by the Los Angeles Business Journal in 2022.

Prior to joining GHJ in 2021, Pearman built a national practice focused on beverage alcohol clients. Pearman helped clients improve financial results and maximize the efficiency of operations. She also guided them through ownership transitions.

About GHJ

GHJ is a national advisory and accounting firm with employees in nearly 30 states and clients around the world. Our team of experts meet clients where they are and provide personalized service for nonprofit, food and beverage, entertainment and media and health and wellness companies. Ranked as a Top-100 Firm, 7th Fastest-Growing Firm, Top Regional Leader in the West and Best Firm to Work For by Accounting Today, GHJ is passionate about helping clients and its people #BeMore by focusing on building thriving businesses and creating a better future.

Through its affiliation with HLB International, a global network of independent professional accounting firms and business advisers, GHJ is able to partner with other top firms around the world. GHJ’s audit, tax and advisory teams leverage the HLB network to partner with its clients and give clients access to member firms in over 157 countries across the globe. GHJ has 22 partners and more than 200 staff members, who serve thousands of clients. The Firm is also a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the AICPA Governmental Audit Quality Center (GAQC), the California Society of CPAs and the California Association of Nonprofits (CalNonprofit).