2016 Most Influential Women Honoree: Stephanie Weis
After graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor’s in accounting from Missouri State University in 1994, Stephanie Weis put down roots as a staff accountant at Springfield-based BKD LLP. Now, with more than two decades of service to the national accounting firm under her belt, Weis is shaping the lives of thousands of others within and well beyond the firm’s downtown headquarters.
Weis is one of 260 partners at BKD, where she works as the accounting and auditing director for its Springfield, Joplin and Branson offices, managing audit and consulting services for rural hospital clients in multiple states.
“This roll involves overseeing personnel assignments, review of engagements for compliance with professional and firm standards, assisting with client acceptance and retention decisions, and overseeing consultation on technical (accounting and auditing) issues,” Weis says.
Named a partner of the roughly 2,500-employee firm in 2009, she has risen the ranks to be among a select number of BKD’s female leaders. Weis, a member of the BKD National Health Care Group, also is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Show-Me Chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association. With the local chapter of HFMA, Weis serves as an audit committee chairwoman and is a past board member.
Beyond the office, Weis also works to improve the Springfield area as a board member for the United Way of the Ozarks.
She has utilized her accounting skills and background serving on the finance committee and community involvement committees as a financial-certification co-chair.
However, making an impact on the lives of others at BKD has been a source of pride, and she relishes opportunities to work with colleagues as a mentor and coach. In these conversations, Weis says she often is asked how she strikes a balance between being a successful professional and a mother. She says she always tries to be candid in such roles and share specific details about her experience, but also encourage team members to find what works for them instead of trying to achieve an ideal set by someone else.
This summer, Weis was buoyed by a conversation she had with a long-time colleague in another office.
“When she was pregnant with her first child, my son was around 5 years old, and I recall talking to her about my experiences as a new mom with a full-time career,” Weis says. “That was nine years ago, and she brought up, in very specific detail, the advice I gave her and commented on how it positively impacted her outlook and approach to being an engaged mom while progressing in her career at BKD.
“While being elected to the partnership was a wow moment for me, having a long-term impact on someone’s career is truly an accomplishment that I value.”
And being a leader at BKD also means giving back to future accountants.
Weis is involved in the firm’s planned giving and matching-gift programs for area colleges and universities to help support the training of local students preparing to enter the workforce.