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Board Spotlight – Coalter Baker, CPA

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Coalter Baker was born and raised in Austin, TX, and graduated with a degree in accounting from the University of Texas. Since then, Baker has had a very full career and says he has no regrets about the career path he has taken. “It is so much more than numbers. This is a learned profession that allows us to help people solve problems in their financial lives,” he said.

Baker has been married to his wife, Missy, also a CPA, for 38 years. They have two children, Boone and Jackson. Boone is a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps and Jackson is a student at Southern New Hampshire University and works with Baker part time.
To become better acquainted with Baker and his journey to becoming the leader that he is today, he was interviewed for the CPT’s Board Spotlight series. The full interview can be found below.

1. Tell us a little bit about your background.

I initially worked for an out-of-state comptroller, until the opportunity to work in public accounting was presented to me. My client relationships are personal, not institutional.
I was then very honored when the Governor of Texas asked me to join the Texas Board of Accountancy in 2003. I approached my service on the Board very seriously and had the chance to serve and chair several committees and task forces, as well as serve as presiding officer, over the 11 years I served. During this time, the chair of the University of Texas Accounting Department allowed me to teach a course in taxation. This was probably the most rewarding, yet difficult, role I have ever undertaken.
Once I became involved with NASBA, I experienced opportunities that I never thought possible. Since attending my very first regional meeting, I have served on the NASBA Ethics, Nominations and Strategic Planning Committees as well as a NASBA representative to the AICPA Professional Ethics Executive Committee. I am now in my fifth year serving as an elected NASBA Board of Directors member and continue to be honored to serve the profession that has given me so much.

2. Tell us about your work on the Texas State Board of Accountancy.
I was provided ample opportunity to participate and lead various committees and task forces of the Board. I chaired the Ethics Task Force, which developed program requirements that are still used today for licensees. I also served on multiple enforcement committees during my tenure on the Board.

3. How did you first become involved with the CPT? Was there anything that surprised you about the organization?
The CPT is very visible at all NASBA functions. Its goals and objectives advance the ethical ideals that our profession should hold and begin training the next generation at a time when they are besieged with personal conflicts almost daily. I have been fortunate to get to know Alfonzo Alexander and his family over the last few years, and the CPT is an extension of his heart. The love he has shown for each student in the program is to be admired.

4. What has been your greatest motivator over the years?
I am a happy person and believe that 99 percent of people have good hearts, no matter where they come from or their economic state. Helping people solve problems in areas they do not understand is the most rewarding experience a professional can have.

5. Can you share a valuable leadership or life lesson you learned after having made a mistake?
I was not the greatest student in college and thus was unable to obtain the type of job in the accounting profession I desired. When rejection came, and there were quite a few of them, I had a choice to either quit and find something else or “get back on the saddle” and push forward. I have spent my career overcoming this early setback by learning to be the best I can be.

6. What is one characteristic you believe every leader should possess?
“Listen, Learn and Lead.” And always do it with a smile!

7. Which book would you recommend every leader read?
River of Doubt follows the trials, tribulations and near-death experience of President Teddy Roosevelt in his quest to explore the rivers and jungles of South America. It is one of the few books that made me feel like I was involved in the mission.

8. What is the key to developing the next generation of leaders?
The CPT is a perfect example of how to train the next generation of leaders. The earlier young people can be taught how to handle conflict and dilemma in their lives, the better. Young adults will then be able to deal with more difficult issues later in life. The young people of today also need to learn the skill of not rushing to judgement until they gather all the facts.

9. Why should every leader enroll in the CPT’s programming?
When CPT students speak at NASBA functions, they appear to have a high level of self-esteem and are focused on who they are and how they can be a part of solutions. People of any age could benefit from a connection with people of similar mind, who have goals to lead us into the future.

Janessa Harkley – Alumni Spotlight

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Janessa Harkley, a campus recruiter for Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP (DHG), is an alumna of the StudentCPT program and this month’s Alumni Spotlight. Currently at DHG, Harkley attracts top talent on various campuses and leads campus recruiting efforts for offices in Florida, specifically Jacksonville and Tampa, in hiring entry-level audit associates, tax associates and interns. In addition, she leads recruiting efforts for DHG NEAR (Next Evolution of Accounting Resourcefulness). She graduated from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
To become better acquainted with Harkley and how she began her journey to becoming an ethical leader, read her full interview below.

Tell us a little bit about yourself, including your background and your journey to where you are today. I have one older sister and two older brothers, which makes me the “baby” of the family. This may not be an actual status, but I have the baby-of-the-family syndrome! I attended the illustrious North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University and currently work for DHG, a top 20 public accounting firm. When I am not working, I enjoy traveling, spending time with my friends and family, hanging out with my cousin to perfect my photography skills and more. To make a long story short, I got to where I am today by having faith in God and making-up my mind that I was no longer going to allow fear to stop me from taking advantage of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

Tell us about your experience in the StudentCPT program. Would you recommend it to other students and if so, why? The program helped build me as a person and as a young professional. Yes, I would strongly recommend the StudentCPT program to students. The StudentCPT program really prepares students to face ethical dilemmas head-on, as well as shape them into the ethical people and professionals that they desire to become.

Tell us about the StudentCPT conference. What was your favorite part or memory from that experience? The StudentCPT conference was amazing. It was my first time in Colorado, so I was very excited. I was also a little nervous because I wasn’t too sure what to expect. But, that quickly changed as soon as I went down to the lobby for registration and took a selfie with the CPT staff and the camera man! That is a moment that I will never forget and one of my favorite moments.

As a recruiter, what kind of ethical dilemmas do you think students face today? As a recruiter, I believe students face the ethical dilemma of being completely truthful or being partly truthful when interviewing for internships and full-time opportunities. They want to impress the interviewer, so they may fabricate a story and/or say everything they think the interviewer wants to hear.

Now that you work with students, how do you practice what you learned in the StudentCPT? I behave in an ethical manner and do not show any bias toward students. I view and treat each student equally.

What would you say to potential supporters who are thinking about contributing to the CPT? I would say to potential supporters that whatever amount you are considering donating…do it now. Your donation will not go to waste. If it weren’t for the supporters, I wouldn’t have been able to attend the 2016 StudentCPT Conference and had experience that I had. Nor would I have had the opportunity to meet the amazing people I met.

Student NEWS

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Ethics Matters

January 2019

Temple University Sees the Importance of Ethics Through For Eyes
Temple University StudentCPT members were treated to an interactive conversion with Professor Daniel E. Goldberg, founder of the national optical chain For Eyes. Goldberg spoke to students about the importance of ethics and how maintaining ethical business practices can sustain a successful business.

Home Depot CFO Encourages Auburn Students to Practice Ethics

Approximately 150 students joined the Auburn University StudentCPT chapter for a discussion with Carol Tome, CFO of Home Depot. Tome discussed the importance of a strategic and ethical organizational culture at Home Depot and some of her personal experiences overcoming ethical dilemmas.

ULL Students Discuss Ethics in Their Favorite Movies
University of Louisiana, Lafayette, StudentCPT members came together and had a discussion about ethical dilemmas in some of their favorite movies. Conversations of heroism and leadership were discussed in popular movies, such as The Avengers, Black Panther, Transformers and Harry Potter.

A Donor’s Social Return on Investment

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Ethics Matters

January 2019

During the start of a new year, you may take time to look closely at your personal return on investments, like the value of your home or your retirement plan. Do you ever wonder about your return on donations? As a NASBA Center for the Public Trust (CPT) donor, not only are you investing in students and their ethical leadership skills, you are also investing in the development of volunteer work and community relationships fostered by StudentCPT chapters.


Let’s look at a donor’s social return on investing in StudentCPT chapters:


  • Tennessee Technological University raised funds and packed gifts for Operation Christmas Child, which supports children of low-income families during the holiday season.
  • East Central University collected over 2,500 books and donated them to schools and outreach centers in the community.
  • Valdosta State University participated in the Adopt-A-Road program with Beta Alpha Psi, disposing of trash and debris on a local highway.
  • The University of Alabama at Birmingham volunteered at a local women’s community center, dedicated to women rebuilding their lives.
  • The University of Delaware aided in preliminary and day of tasks for a 5K, which supported the Special Olympics.
  • Truman State University partnered with Rotaract and sold pretzels on campus. All proceeds went to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. In addition, students participated in Trunk or Treat, providing a safe environment for kids to trick-or-treat on Halloween.
  • Marshall University collected canned goods for a local food bank.
  • Ohio University partnered with Beta Alpha Psi and removed invasive autumn olive shrubs
    from Wayne National Forest.

These are just a few of the ways your support is allowing our students to make a impact in unique areas of need. Celebrate your social return on your investments!


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Ethics Matters

January 2019

Leaders are recognized for various things. Many receive acknowledgement for their work, awards for their success, and rewards for their achievements. A friend of mine is an example of a leader who has received accolades for all of the above, and more. However, in a recent conversation, he shared with me that what he values most is his giving.

My friend, who I will will refer to as Chuck to keep him anonymous, had a successful career prior to his retirement. He built a great reputation as an integrity-based leader, and he was recognized by many as an industry trailblazer in his area of expertise. All of this work, though rewarding for him, was not fulfilling.

Chuck receives his fulfillment from giving. Yes, he provides financial support to causes and organizations that compel him. However, he thrives off giving his time and talents to others. Chuck believes he experienced career success so he could share his knowledge and experience to develop others.

Through Chuck and other ethical leaders, I have noticed that many enjoy and value giving to develop others. I encourage you to incorporate this type of giving into your personal value system.

This year, join me in creating value by dedicating some of your time and talent to develop someone else.

As always, Lead with Integrity!

The CPT Welcomes Donald H. Burkett as Chairman

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Ethics Matters

January 2019

The NASBA Center for the Public Trust (CPT) is proud to announce Donald H. Burkett, CPA, as the new CPT Board chairman. Burkett is the former president and current vice president of Burkett, Burkett & Burkett, CPAs, PC, of Columbia, SC. He served as NASBA Board chairman, from 2015-2016, and experienced significant highlights and accomplishments during his term. Burkett also held several additional leadership roles as a member of the NASBA Board of Directors, including vice chair and Middle Atlantic regional director. He has also chaired and served as a member of several NASBA committees including the Communications Committee, Administrative and Finance Committee, Awards Committee, Nominating Committee, International Qualifications Appraisal Board, Standards Study Group and Past Chair Advisory Council.

Burkett is a former chairman, vice chair, secretary and member of the South Carolina Board of Accountancy. He is a member and past president of the South Carolina Association of CPAs and a member of the American Institute of CPAs’ Vision Project Team. Money magazine’s article on “The Best Tax Practitioners” cited him as one of the four South Carolina “tax pros” available for middle and upper-middle income taxpayers. Burkett is a graduate of the University of South Carolina.

The CPT is grateful for Burkett’s servant leadership, expertise and enthusiasm around ethics and leadership.

David A. Costello, CPA, served as the previous CPT Board chairman and will continue to serve the CPT Board as a life member.

Good News: John’s Crazy Socks Prioritizes Giving Back

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Ethics Matters

January 2019

In late 2018, NASBA was introduced to John’s Crazy Socks, a father-son venture lead by John Lee Cronin, a young man with Down syndrome. John’s love for crazy socks led him to create a successful sock company built on four pillars: inspiration and hope, giving back, socks you can love and making it personal.

From the day they opened, they pledged to donate five percent of their earnings to the Special Olympics. As the company garnered more recognition and growth, they were able to expand their Giving Back Program. With profits from their Charity and Awareness Socks, John’s Crazy Socks helps raise money for its charity partners, like the National Down Syndrome Society and the Autism Society of America.

NASBA was so touched by the tireless efforts of John’s Crazy Socks that the company bought many of John’s socks and included them in the 2018 holiday gift bags for each employee.

Have you heard of a good news story lately? Share it with us at

The NASBA CPT Co-Hosts 13th Annual Audit Conference

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Ethics Matters

January 2019

On December 4, 2018, business men and women, public accountants, educators and policy setters gathered for the 13th annual Ensuring Integrity: Audit Conference at Baruch College. Hosted by the Zicklin Center for Corporate Integrity and the NASBA Center for the Public Trust (CPT), the conference provides a forum for interaction and discussion between representatives from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB).

CPT President, Alfonzo Alexander, opened the conference by welcoming guests and giving opening remarks. Other conference speakers and panelists included: Mark Adler (PCAOB); Cathy Allen (Audit Conduct); Noel Allen (NASBA); Douglas Bloom (PwC); Meredith Canady (KPMG); Douglas Carmichael (Baruch College); Robert Colson (Baruch College); Brian Croteau (PwC); Sheri Fabian (Grant Thornton); Chris Halterman (EY); Kathleen Healy (PwC); Matthew Jacques (SEC); James Kaiser (PCAOB); Brian Lunch (EY); Patrick McNamee (PCAOB); Kyle Owens (Crowe LLP); Marc Panucci (SEC); Amy Park (Deloitte & Touche LLP); Jennifer Rand (PCAOB); Thomas Ray (Baruch College); Mike Santay (ASB); Lisa Snyder (BDO); Scott Taub (Financial Reporting Advisors LLC); Scott Univer (Mazaras USA LLP); Phil Wedemeyer (Ensco LLC); Michael Young (Willkie Farr & Gallagher) and Megan Zietsman (IAASB).

Attendees were eligible to earn up to eight hours in continuing professional education (CPE). Are you interested in attending the 2019 conference? Email for more information.

How to Ensure Your Employees Feel Heard

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We have all heard about the suggestion boxes, located at offices across the country. They are typically positioned in a corner and encourage employees to leave a note with their feedback on any given topic related to their workplace. Recently, I have read a few articles that claim the suggestion box is outdated and inefficient. Why? Because it focuses too much on the problem without offering a solution, its contents often do not get addressed in a timely fashion, and they do not reward those coming forward. Instead, there are better ways to make sure your employees are heard.

No two employees are exactly alike. Therefore, your communication strategy should be one that is flexible and open. One way to achieve this is by remaining positive when speaking with employees. In turn, this will allow them to feel comfortable coming forward with concerns, questions and even policy critiques and suggestions.

If an employee contacts you about a sensitive manner, be sure to treat it with care and make it personal…because it is to them. If an employee confides in a supervisor or manager, it is best that they try to resolve the issue instead of handing it off to someone else to complete. By taking care of the issue, it will demonstrate to the employee that what is significant to them is likewise significant to his/her higher-up. Although this is not always feasible at first point of contact, it is important to try and resolve the issue in order to build trust.

Trust is earned and your employees will value your efforts to make them feel seen as well as heard. So, whether you were using a suggestion box or implement a different strategy, remember it takes gumption for employees to come forward with their concerns, observations and opinions. Implement programs that make employees feel safe to come forward and see your staff transform.

2018 Golf Classic

The 2018 CPT Golf Classic was held on July 9, 2018 at the Governors Club in Brentwood, TN. This year’s event was a huge success, and the CPT is grateful to all of the sponsors, teams, individual players and volunteers who participated.

The support of these individuals and organizations is essential to helping the CPT raise funds to develop, empower and promote ethical leaders. Below are a few photos from the 2018 CPT Golf Classic, along with information about this year’s sponsors:

2018 CPT Golf Classic

Why Your Support Matters

This event benefits the Student Center for the Public Trust program, which helps develop future American business leaders, by equipping them with the skills they need to be ethical decision-makers.

Thank you to our 2018 Golf Classic Sponsors:

RN’B Parts Team Archie, LLC

(Valinda Burks Agency)

Board Members

Great Lakes Regional Director
Board Members

Friends of the CPT


Thank you to our 2018 Tournament Gift Sponsors: