Two GHJ Firm Leaders Promoted to Partner

LOS ANGELES, CA (October 19, 2023) – GHJ, a national advisory and accounting firm, is proud to announce Search and Staffing Practice Leader Derrick Coleman and Maria Pearman, a prominent beverage and food expert at the Firm, are being promoted to partner. They will begin their tenure as partners on Jan. 1, 2024.

“I am thrilled to welcome these two to the Partner Group,” said GHJ Managing Partner Tom Barry. “They embody GHJ’s core values of Bright Minds, Brave Hearts and Bold Actions, and we are excited to have them at the table driving the future growth and direction of our Firm.”

Derrick, who has been with the firm for over 15 years, is the second non-accounting partner to join GHJ’s Partner Group and brings a wealth of knowledge from his substantial expertise in executive recruiting. Maria provides advisory and accounting services to clients with a focus on clients in the beverage and alcohol and food industry. Previously, she had her own accounting practice.

Developing leaders is integral to GHJ’s mission and its success is driven by retaining and developing the best, diverse talent.


Derrick has more than 20 years of business experience and leads GHJ Search and Staffing, GHJ’s recruiting division that works both as an internal and client resource. His responsibilities include managing a fast-paced, successful accounting and finance recruiting service line, developing new business, supporting existing clients and managing the internal staffing and recruitment teams.

“It has been a pleasure to work with Derrick for the past 15 years,” Tom expanded. “Derrick’s enthusiasm and eye for talent have built GHJ into the Firm it is today, and I look forward to seeing what he achieves as a partner.”

Clients and candidates appreciate Derrick’s ability to effectively communicate the needs of stakeholders and recommend creative staffing solutions. He is known for his dedication to customer service, ability to build longstanding relationships and experience in establishing effective business partnerships.

A graduate of the African American Board Leadership Institute, Derrick serves as Catalyst on GHJ Foundation’s board of directors. He also serves the Downtown Women’s Center as a member of its Finance Committee and Godiss Love as a strategic advisor and board member.

An outspoken proponent of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA), Derrick is a member of GHJ’s DEIA Steering Committee and a leader of GHJ’s BIPOC Cohort, leading initiatives to support Black, Indigenous and other people of color in the accounting industry. He has written extensively on the importance of DEIA initiatives in employee recruitment and retention. Derrick has been featured as a visionary honoree in Los Angeles Times’ Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Magazine.


Maria Pearman, CPA, CGMA, has more than 15 years of public accounting experience and is GHJ’s Beverage Practice Leader. She is an expert in the food, beverage and alcohol industry and specializes in internal accounting processes, financial reviews, budgeting, cash flow forecasting, financial strategy and succession planning.

Prior to joining GHJ in 2021, Maria built a boutique accounting firm in Portland, OR, focused on beverage alcohol clients. She joined GHJ after moving to Los Angeles and realizing the Firm’s vision and values aligned with her own core values.

“I am happy to welcome Maria to the Partner Group,” said GHJ Advisory Practice Leader and Executive Committee Member Anant Patel. “From day one, Maria’s entrepreneurial spirit and exceptional client service have been a welcome addition to our team. I look forward to working with her as we continue to build a next-generation advisory and accounting firm.”

A major figure in the food and beverage space, Maria sits on the Finance Committee for the Brewers Association, the nation’s largest industry organization for craft brewers. She has written two books about running successful beverage alcohol businesses: Small Brewery Finance and Distillery Finance.

Maria is also a featured speaker and author on topics in the beverage space, specifically related to craft breweries. 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.

She has been named a Woman of Influence in the Accounting Industry by the Los Angeles Business Journal.

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 24 partners and more than 240 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).