Women Worth Watching 2015

Lia Patton

This BDO USA Assurance Partner Is Passionate about Diversity and Inclusion


web BDO_pattonIn her current role with BDO USA, LLP, Lia Patton serves as the firm’s Anchorage office lead for audits of Native Corporation entities, nonprofit entities, federal and State of Alaska Single Audits, employee benefit plan audits, and alternative investments. She calls on her more than 15 years of auditing and accounting experience to oversee the large, complex engagements handled by this office.

Lia participates in the development and implementation of the firm’s national strategies and initiatives, including activities that support industry, business, technical, and client-service goals. Passionate about creating a culture of flexibility, diversity, and inclusion within the firm, she supports the BDO Women’s Initiative and flex strategies by hosting many of the local office events focused on women’s networking and career development, and by serving as a mentor to women, both locally and nationally. “Being a woman in my profession has been tough but rewarding,” said Lia. “I have been fortunate to have a strong family support system and incredible professional mentors along the way.”

“…tough, but rewarding…”

Lia has been a frequent speaker on the topic of Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) for organizations such as the ERISA Forum and Associated General Contractors of Alaska, and attends annual American Institute of Certified Public Accountants national conferences, as well as BDO’s Annual Audit and Attest Conferences.

Prior to joining BDO USA, LLP, Lia served as an audit partner with Mikunda, Cottrell and Co.


Education: B.B.A. Accounting, University of Alaska, Anchorage

First Job: Mail sorter at an insurance company

What I’m Reading: “#GirlBoss” by Sophia Amoruso

The Career Advice I’d Give My Former Self: Ask – all they can say is no.

The most important quality a woman leader should have is…

…perseverance and resilience.

Words I live by:

Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.

The one thing I’d do differently in my career, knowing what I know now, is…

…pace myself and take more personal time. It’s a marathon; not a sprint.

When I really need to focus on a project, I…

…close my door, turn off all my devices, turn on some ‘80s music, and get to work.

My biggest career leap (and what I learned from it) was …

…when I became a manager. All of a sudden people skills were more valuable than technical skills. It was a steep learning curve for me.

Being a woman in my profession has been …

…tough but rewarding. I have been fortunate to have a strong family support system and incredible professional mentors along the way.

I’ve learned that failure is …

…inevitable and the best thing that can happen sometimes.

I maintain a healthy personal life by …

…taking time to enjoy my family, especially my children. They are my reason for doing what I do.

I knew my present career was what I wanted to do when …

…I called my partner on the job with some bad news and all he had to say were words of encouragement and appreciation for what I had accomplished so far. I thought , “this is it.”