How This Award-Winning Women’s Network is Helping More Women Thrive in Their Careers

Sponsored by Crowe

Mary Ann Travers, principal (partner) at Crowe LLP, and her family. Photo Courtesy of Crowe LLP.

Mary Ann Travers, principal (partner) at Crowe LLP, and her family. Photo Courtesy of Crowe LLP.

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Mary Ann Travers, a principal (partner) at Crowe LLP, knows that reaching her level of seniority is challenging — particularly for women.  However, since she began working at Crowe in 2005, Travers has felt empowered by the firm’s women’s network to pursue her passions and work her way up in the company. 

Women Leading @Crowe (WL@C) has been externally recognized for its efforts to achieve gender parity at Crowe and has been successful in achieving greater diversity in a historically  typically male-dominated market. Forty-three percent of the firm’s Board of Directors are women, and the firm’s most recent partner class was 42 percent women. 

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Moving from an emerging leader nominated for Crowe’s Women into Leadership program to chair of WL@C, while running a successful consulting practice, Travers knows what makes the women’s network so unique. She shared how Crowe’s women’s network operates to empower every woman at the firm and how it is changing to match the firm’s continual growth. 

What is you role, and how long have you been in it? 

I’ve been in my role for 14 years. I was previously at a Big 4 firm in Valuations, and have also been an economic consultant and investment banker. I serve as Crowe’s national Valuation Services practice leader, as well as chair our women’s program, Women Leading @Crowe (WL@C). 

What’s the last thing you do at work every day? 

Map out my plan for the next day.

How and why did you first get involved in your company’s women’s network? 

Our women’s programming at Crowe has evolved over the years. Our program began as WIL (women into leadership), moved to a Women’s People Resource Network (WPRN) and, in the last eleven years, we’ve restructured as WL@C. WL@C has a tier-structure designed to support our women at all levels on their career journey. 

I was nominated for our WIL program when I joined the firm in 2005, served on our WPRN council at its inception and developed our current structure for WL@C in 2008.

What’s the #1 thing you think you colleagues should know about your company’s women’s network? 

There are resources and activities — along with a meaningful community —  in place for every woman at the firm who has an interest in connecting.

Tell me a bit about how the ERG works.

Our program, WL@C, is structured as three tiers:

1.WL@C Connect hosts quarterly events for all women of the firm with programming guided by the needs of our staff through senior managers.

2. WL@C Grow is a two-year intensive leadership development program for a select group of senior manager women who have been nominated by their business units to participate in the program

3. WL@C Inspire focuses on our officers, directors and partners. We meet annually to build community and drive business success, and host focused learning activities to help support continued growth in our leadership skills. We also meet virtually, and promote communication and thought leadership sharing to build our tool kits of knowledge.

What are your women’s network’s top three priorities right now?

Our priorities are to: 

1. Expand our communications strategy, 

2. To move to a virtual connection model to align with our firm’s growth, mobility strategy and global reach, 

3. And to focus on connecting emerging leaders within our community.

What has your ERG accomplished that you’re most proud of? 

We are helping our women and the firm be successful by promoting gender diversity, which leads to improved results. We’ve already seen the outcome of these efforts. 

At Crowe, we have 21 percent female partners and 38 percent female directors in our leadership ranks. Additionally, we have three women on our firm Board of Directors — making the board 43 percent female. Our most recent partner class was comprised of 42 percent women, and we have been recognized in the external market place for our WL@C initiatives. At the same time, our WL@C Grow program is helping to support growth of future leaders, so these outcomes are sure to continue. 

How is your company’s women’s network reflective of the overall culture at your employer?

Our firm culture is based on four core values – We care, We share, We invest and We grow. Our WL@C program touches — and lives — all the elements of our values.

What’s your #1 piece of advice for women who are looking for jobs right now?

Pursue your passion. 

What’s the one career move you’ve made that you’re most proud of? 

I have had an amazing career journey to date, and each move has made me proud. Learning from each step in the journey has enabled me to pursue my passions and contribute to our teams' successes over the years. Honestly, the “career move” that I am most proud of is being a working mother. I have an amazing husband and three incredible children and credit much of my success to their support on my journey. They make me a better leader and have allowed me to role model work/life integration, which I think is key to the future success in the business world.


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