International Women's Day Interview with Samantha Hsu
In an interview for International Women's Day with Samantha Hsu, our newly promoted Partner, she discussed her path to success, emphasizing perseverance, mentorship, and the importance of authenticity in overcoming gender bias.
Congratulations on your promotion to Partner! How did you overcome the gender gap in our industry to achieve your level of success?
Being promoted to partner earlier this year was a huge milestone and it has taken a lot of perseverance and resilience to get here. There have been times in my career where I have been the only woman in a room - relegated to the role of designated note-taker or added to the pitch at the last minute to showcase diversity. In spite of the challenges, I have remained confident in my strengths and talents, and have worked hard to make sure that my voice is heard. I also was fortunate to have a number of champions (both women and men) in senior positions who have offered guidance and encouraged me along the way.
How important has mentorship been in your own career?
I have never been shy about seeking out guidance from those with more experience, so I have learned a great deal from many wonderful mentors throughout my career. If you're like me, it can be hard to toot your own horn, so having mentors who believed in me and gave opportunities to shine and boost my confidence was a game-changer as I was coming up the ranks.
Describe your leadership style.
My leadership style is very team-oriented. We have a very capable team in place, and everyone has a different perspective. I try to encourage each person to bring their ideas, strengths, and experience to the table so that we can learn from one another, evolve our approach and get the best possible results.
How are you mentoring others?
Because I have benefited so much from mentorship myself, I am very focused on providing mentoring and guidance to my direct reports. Particularly with the women on my team, I hope that sharing my experience of what worked well and what didn't will help them advance in their careers.
How can we stop gender bias?
There has always been a pretty significant gender gap in forensic accounting, but I am encouraged to see more and more women entering and being successful in the field. I think we're doing the right things by educating and bringing awareness to issues, like gender bias, and continuing to develop and empower our women colleagues. An area where we have seen quite a bit of improvement in recent years is in allowing more flexibility and encouraging work-life balance, which has made it easier for women to continue to grow their careers while balancing family.
What is the worst career advice you've received?
A senior female partner at a prior firm told me that if I wanted to be successful, I needed to think and act more like a man. I couldn't disagree more. For me, it's more important to be authentic and be confident in my own identity, rather than trying to mimic the style of men. You have to develop your own style and know what works for you, which evolves alongside experience and maturity.
What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?
The connections you develop early in your career can be so beneficial as you advance, so make sure you are building and maintaining relationships with your professional network along the way. Beyond that, give your fullest and don't be afraid to ask questions and seek out guidance from those in senior positions. Even at the partner level, we are always learning and can benefit from your perspective, so don't be shy.