The Kentucky CPA Journal


Women's History Month: KyCPA Board Presidents and Chairs

Issue 1
March 6, 2024

By Kimberly Lindsey

As we honor Women's History Month in March, we pay tribute to the remarkable women who have led the Kentucky Society of CPAs as Board Presidents and Chairs.

Ann Holt

Ann Holt, CPA: 1977-1978 

In June 1977, Ann Holt (Holt Moffatt) made history as the first woman to serve as Board President of the Kentucky Society of CPAs. In her address to members, she emphasized the professions commitment to public relations, aiming to dispel misconceptions about CPAs and their work. (Click here to read her President's Message.) Her presidency was marked by proactive engagement, including a notable ad campaign to educate the public regarding the CPA profession. 

"Our challenge is to communicate and demonstrate that our activities, individually and as a profession, are in the public interest." - Ann Holt

By October 1977, ads appeared in daily newspapers throughout Kentucky as part of the focus on public relations. Pictured below is one in a series of ads. Click here to read more regarding the ad campaign. 


In her last President's message, Holt shared concerns regarding Senate Bill 289, enacted without the Society's knowledge. An amendment within Senate Bill 289 substantially changed the licensing qualifications of the CPA profession. She calls upon members for their influence for more effective participation in the legislative process. 

Her legacy as a trailblazer for women in accounting spans over five decades, making her a revered figure in the Society's history. She was a KyCPA member from 1965 until she passed in 2017 at 82. 


2004 Annual Members Meeting: Past KyCPA President's
Gordon Ford, Paula Hanson, David Price, Ann Holt, Nolan Allen, Olivia Kirtley, and Bobby Baldwin. 


Olivia Kirtley

Olivia Kirtley, CPA: 1990-1991

Taking the helm in a period of significant change, Olivia Kirtley prioritized effective communication and support to navigate reforms in professional standards and legislative landscapes. Her leadership was instrumental in ensuring a smooth transition during times of upheaval, highlighting her strategic vision and commitment to excellence.

From 1988 through the beginning of 1990, changes enacted by the AICPA Plan to Restructure Professional Standards, Kentucky Society bylaw and legislative changes by the 1990 Kentucky General Assembly. 

"I see this next year as critical in directing and monitoring how these changes are put into place. As a result, my main objective over the next year will be communications and support to assure a smooth transition of these changes, especially in the areas of quality review and continuing professional education." - Olivia Kirtley

Click here to read Kirtley's President's message and the July/August 1990 issue of The Bottom Line. 

Kirtley shared how she and the others on the Executive Committee worked effectively with the Kentucky State Board in her article Two days in the life of a President.

" agree upon regulations in such a manner that both entities can carry out their obligations, i.e., to satisfy the state Board's perception of what is in the public interest in such a way that it will not create undo burdens on our membership." - Olivia Kirtley 

Kirtley joined the Society in 1973 and remains an active KyCPA member. As part of the Kentucky Society of CPAs 100-Year Anniversary Celebration Kirtley looked back at her time as Board President and more in this video interview.

Gail Broady

Gail Broady, CPA: 1996-1997 

Gail Broady's tenure as Board President, was marked by a focus on communication, image promotion, and legislative engagement. Under her leadership, the Kentucky Society of CPAs embraced technological advancements, launching its first website to enhance communication and member services. Broady's legacy includes a dedication to innovation and advocacy, setting a precedent for future leaders.

In the summer of 1996, Broady addressed the members of the Kentucky Society of CPAs stated the top 3 priorities are Communicating opportunities, Promote the CPA image, and Actively participate in the legislative process. Click here to read the complete article. 


During Broadys' time as Board Chair, technology opened the door for another communication opportunity, the development of the Society's first website. Broady announced in her President's message in the January/February 1997 issue of The Bottom Line. 

"Microsoft and the AICPA have entered into an agreement to assist CPAs in being on the leading edge of technology. Microsoft will be offering training to enhance CPAs skills as advisors to business in the area of technology as well as working with the KSCPA and other state societies to further advance its communication with members and the public through the use of the internet. The development of our own state-of-the-art website is now underway." - Gail Broady

The new website,, was introduced to members in the March/April 1997 issue of The Bottom Line.

In Broady's final President's message, she articulates her first experiences surfing the net. 

"I finally took the plunge. And things will never be the same again. So if you happen to be one of those CPAs who is not connected, I strongly encourage you to give it a try." - Gail Broady

Broady joined the Society in 1979 and remains an active KyCPA member.

Gwen Tilton

Gwen Tilton: 2000-2001

During her tenure Tilton addressed critical issues facing the accounting profession. In her President's messages, she tackled topics such as the proposed establishment of a new global credential and the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) proposed changes to independence requirements for accounting firms auditing SEC registrants.

Regarding the new global credential, Tilton emphasized the importance of providing members with comprehensive information. She announced that the leadership team would visit various locations across Kentucky to facilitate discussions and updates. Tilton encouraged members to voice their opinions on this proposal, highlighting the Society's commitment to transparency and member engagement.

In her final President's message, Tilton highlighted the achievements of the Society under her leadership. She noted the successful implementation of the Leadership Council as an advisory body for the KyCPA Board of Directors. The Council, representing the diverse membership, addressed critical issues such as the AICPA's proposed professional designation and upcoming SEC regulations. Tilton praised the Council for providing a platform for grassroots discussions and serving as a valuable resource for Society decisions.

Furthermore, Tilton highlighted the Society's efforts to attract new individuals to the CPA profession. These initiatives underscored KyCPA's commitment to fostering growth and diversity within the accounting field.

Through her leadership and dedication, Tilton played a pivotal role in shaping the direction of the Kentucky Society of CPAs, leaving a lasting impact on its members and the accounting profession as a whole.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many volunteers and Society staff who together perform all the tasks associated with bringing our members the continued broad range of association services that we have all come to depend upon. It has been a pleasure to work with all of you. I urge you to keep up the good work, and I hope that you find, as I have, that by participating in the process you gain much more than you give." - Gwen Tilton

Tilton was an active member of the Society from 1980 until her retirement in 2018.


Paula Hanson, CPA: 2004-2005 

Paula Hanson's presidency was characterized by a dedication to financial literacy, professional standards and advocacy. She championed initiatives to enhance public access to financial resources and supported members in navigating complex regulatory changes. Hanson's leadership underscored the profession's commitment to serving the public interest and advancing accounting excellence.

Financial literacy resources for the public, financial reporting requirements for privately held for-profit entities, and the Society's 80-year celebration were the focus of her inaugural letter to the membership. 

"The Society stands for something. It is the hallmark of the accounting profession. It recognizes those who are the best of the best - the CPA- and works tirelessly to serve the profession and the professional." - Paula Hanson

During Hanson's presidency, the Kentucky Department of Revenue restructured its website. Hanson stated that the changes were helpful not only to tax practitioners but also included helpful tools for the general public. 

In her last President's message, Hanson addresses the beginning of Kentucky's Tax Modernization Act, in which Hanson directed members to the new KDOR website for updates and to read the tax law overview provided by John Chilton, CPA, also a KyCPA member. 

She also mentions an exposure draft proposing revisions to Uniform Accountancy Rules; the 150 required hours began to appear as a possible reality. 

Hanson joined the Society in 1981 and remains an active KyCPA member. As part of the Kentucky Society of CPAs 100-Year Anniversary Celebration Hanson reviewed her time as Board President and more in this video interview.


Mimi Kelly, CPA: 2010-2011 

Mimi Kelly's presidency focused on strategic planning and member engagement. She spearheaded initiatives to distinguish CPAs in the financial services landscape, expand educational opportunities, and enhance the profession's social media presence. Kelly's emphasis on volunteerism and innovation left a lasting impact on the Society's culture of service and excellence.

Kelly's goals for the Society developed during strategic planning along with other Board members included these five bold steps:

  1. Explore how to distinguish the CPA from other financial service providers.
  2. Restructure our Educational Foundation Board; rework the investment policy and develop a plan for raising the next $1 million for accounting scholarships and education.
  3. Increase PAC funding to $50,000 per-year and expand the number of CPAS who contribute.
  4. Implement a comprehensive social media plan for KyCPA.
  5. Appoint a membership task force to develop a new recruitment/retention/value of membership plan. 

She also promoted volunteerism among members. 

"Volunteer service gives you the opportunity to explore your world and share your talents." - Mimi Kelly

In her last President's letter, Kelly outlined the Society's progress, accomplishments and future plans.  

Kelly joined the Society in 1996 and remains an active KyCPA member. As part of the Kentucky Society of CPAs 100-Year Anniversary Celebration Kelly reviewed her time as Board President and more in this video interview.


Becky Phillips, CPA: 2018-2019 

Becky Phillips's presidency prioritized adaptability, talent acquisition and advocacy. She spearheaded initiatives to keep pace with technological change, attract top talent to the profession and support advocacy efforts. Phillips's tenure was marked by a commitment to member feedback and continuous improvement, setting a standard for leadership.

Phillips addressed those attending a 2018 Professional Issues Update in this video where she states she reviews three key areas of focus:

  1. Keeping up with the pace of change
  2. Attract the best and brightest to the CPA profession
  3. Keep up with and support KyCPA's advocacy efforts

In her last President's message, Phillips outlined the Society's accomplishments.  

"Thanks to the helpful comments and suggestions we received from member focus groups, a new user-friendly web site with more relevant content was developed and launched last year. In addition, we recently added an information portal with helpful links to essential resources."  - Becky Phillips

Phillips joined the Society in 1979 and remains an active KyCPA member. As part of the Kentucky Society of CPAs 100-Year Anniversary Celebration Phillips took a look back at her time as Board President and more in this video interview.


Elizabeth Woodward, CPA: 2019-2020 

Elizabeth Woodward assumed leadership during a period of unprecedented challenge, steering the Society through the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Her focus on unity, public service, and professional governance exemplified the CPA profession's resilience and commitment to excellence. Woodward's leadership during a crisis demonstrated the profession's ability to adapt and thrive in adversity.

In her Q&A in Issue 3, 2019 of The Kentucky CPA Journal, Woodward when asked about goals for the coming year:

"Our profession is one founded in the principle of self-governance. We need to move together to protect the public interest. The term “CPA” should always remind us of our obligation to protect and serve the public." - Elizabeth Woodward

Click here to read a Q&A where she provides advice for those considering a career in accounting.

Woodward was Board President at the time the pandemic began. It was a time of transition for everyone and the first time the Society rapidly moved everything virtual. Click here to read an article featuring how the Society adapted during the first few months of the pandemic. 

During the Virtual KyCPA 2020 Annual Members Meeting, Woodward made her final address as KyCPA Board President. 

"The knowledge and insights that we share as colleagues to improve the CPA profession make a positive impact on each other, our clients and businesses in Kentucky." - Elizabeth Woodward

Woodward joined the Society in 1995 and remains an active KyCPA member. As part of the Kentucky Society of CPAs 100-Year Anniversary Celebration she reviewed her time as Board President and more in this video interview.


Esther Thompson-Long, CPA: 2020-2021 

Esther Thompson-Long's presidency coincided with the challenges of the pandemic, highlighting her resilience and strategic acumen. She emphasized the profession's role in protecting the public interest and championed initiatives to enhance member engagement and support. Thompson-Long's leadership during a time of uncertainty underscored the profession's commitment to integrity and service.

Thompson-Long began her term as Board President in the virtual world of the pandemic. When inducted as KyCPA Board President, she shared her story of passing the CPA Exam. Click here to hear about how her daughter welcomed her into the CPA profession. 

Click here to read a Q&A where Thompson-Long outlines her goals for the Society and a significant issue facing the CPA profession.

In a letter to KyCPA members featured in Issue 3, 2020 of The Kentucky CPA Journal, Thompson-Long states:

"KyCPA strives to provide a sense of belonging, be a robust resource hub, and serve as your connection not only to the profession but also to your peers. KyCPA is the champion for your career success and the CPA profession's vitality now and into the future."

Thompson-Long joined the Society in 1997 and remains an active KyCPA member. As part of the Kentucky Society of CPAs 100-Year Anniversary Celebration Thompson-Long took a look back at her time as Board President and more in this video interview.

Kayla Gremillion, CPA, (Board Chair) and Olivia Davis, CPA (Chair-elect):
Continuing the legacy of women's leadership, Kayla Gremillion and Olivia Davis represent the future of the Kentucky Society of CPAs. As they lead the Society into its next chapter, they embody the values of excellence, innovation and service that define the profession. 


Kayla Gremillion, CPA: 2023-2024

Olivia Davis will be inducted as KyCPA Board Chair on June 14, 2024 at the Kentucky Society of CPAs 100-Year Celebration and Annual Members Meeting. You will not want to miss this celebration, make your reservation now. Her term begins July 1, 2024. 


Olivia Davis, CPA: 2024-2025

As we honor these extraordinary women during Women's History Month, we celebrate their contributions to the accounting profession and their enduring legacy of leadership and excellence.