By Michelle Antico, Marketing Coordinator
As Black History Month comes to an end, we want to remind everyone to continue making efforts to acknowledge and take appropriate actions to help continue making progress in racial discrimination. We’ve highlighted several African American individuals to bring attention to their incredible stories; however, there are still so many people we could feature. To close out our blog series, we’re finishing strong with Rumbi Bwerinofa-Petrozzello – the first woman of color elected President of the NYSSCPA (New York State Society of CPAs) in 2021.
Bwerinofa-Petrozzello grew up in a more typical home and family environment than the other notable figures highlighted this month. Her parents were both working professionals with strong educational backgrounds. Following their footsteps, Bwerinofa-Petrozzello went to an all-girls high school and then an all-women’s college in Zimbabwe. Even though the accounting field is male-dominated and she completed her education attending girls-only schools, she never let that determine her chosen career path. She kept her head held high and continued to chase her dream.
Bwerinofa-Petrozzello started her career at Deloitte in Zimbabwe but left after a short three years because of the persistent inequalities she faced in the workplace. Because of her skin color, she was given the worst assignments and was told it was because she was seen as “aggressive.” She moved to the United States and was hired for accounting jobs, but soon into the early 2000s, when the tech bubble exploded and unemployment was rising, she found it hard to get a job because her degree was from South Africa. Nevertheless, she obtained her CPA license and continued achieving success in the accounting field.
Bwerinofa-Petrozzello joined the NYSSCPA in 2012. However, it was June 1st, 2021, when she was elected the 102nd President and the first Black woman elected into the position. Before her presidency, Bwerinofa-Petrozzello served on the NYSSCPA’s Board as a director-at-large and on the Moynihan Scholarship Fund Board of Trustees. In addition, she serves on the Diversity and Inclusion, the CPA Careers, and the Business Valuation and Litigation Services Committees.
Her intentions from the start of becoming President of the NYSSCPA were always inspirational, and she has reached every goal she set for herself. Bwerinofa-Petrozzello planned on making the NYSSCPA a center of resources and advocacy where CPAs can come together and leverage their talents, skills, backgrounds, and experiences to innovate, develop and grow. She also planned to bring light to diversifying the CPA profession. She did just that. Bwerinofa-Petrozzello, the first woman of color to become President of the NYSSCPA, has made her mark in the accounting profession and has inspired other women of color in the field.