Shelley Stein is chief operating officer (COO) of Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd – one of the six global accounting, tax and business advisory organizations. She is a leader of thousands of people and w2wlink is delighted to have the honor to have Shelley Stein be a guest in our C-Link Suite Sunday Interview with the Editor series. We were fortunate enough to meet at the Women’s Museum’s Stories from the Top event, and Shelley Stein is certainly a woman at the top.
As COO, Stein is responsible for operational and strategic priorities critical to the firm’s success. In Ms. Stein’s role, she focuses her efforts on elevating Grant Thornton’s voice in the profession, including overseeing Grant Thornton’s Public Policy and External Affairs. She works with other firm leaders to significantly increase public awareness about the risks of auditor concentration, the importance of modernizing business reporting, and other policy-making directly affecting the accounting profession and the economy.
During her 30-year career with Grant Thornton, Stein served in a variety of other roles including membership on the boards of both the U.S. firm and the international organization.
In 2000, Stein was named Woman Certified Public Accountant (CPA) of the Year by the American Woman’s Society of CPAs. In January 2005, Business Finance magazine named Stein one of the top "50 Influencers Worth Watching." No doubt she has been instrumental in the firm’s Women @ Grant Thornton initiative and Grant Thornton being listed among Working Mother magazine’s "100 Best Companies" and PINK magazine’s "Elite Eight" employers for women in business.
Stein holds a bachelor of science degree in business, with distinction in accounting, from the University of Minnesota.
w2wlink.com Question from the Editor, Jean Lewis: Shelley, you rose up while many others did not. What do you think really distinguished your leadership ability from the others? And you’re in a male dominated industry, financial services.
I don’t tell people what to do. I learn about the expertise and areas of enthusiasm of the people who work with me and make it my business to create situations in which they are self-motivated. That includes valuing their contributions effectively. I don’t motivate them. They motivate themselves within the situation we have set up, taking into consideration their interests, passions and value to the company. The people who work with me have amazing ideas and love to contribute, and the result is a synergy that propels the company.
Many people make the mistake of thinking a leader orders people around and "makes" others do things. The command and control model is not effective for a knowledge based work environment.
w2wlink.com Question: How would you explain the dynamics of a team?
Each member of a team has clear responsibilities and leads in their area. One of the biggest distinguishing factors of a real leader is that a real leader creates a situation that empowers others to bring out their ideas, opens up members of a team to really contribute – just because they want to.
w2wlink.com Question: What is your best advice to women on their way up?
Know the values that you believe in and be true to yourself as you have to handle the company’s priorities. You need a balance that works for you.
w2wlink.com Question: What is important to you to keep inspired and motivated? What are your future goals?
What’s important to me is that I’m challenged in what I do and that I’m adding value to the organization. So every few years, I take on different challenges.
w2wlink.com Question: How important a factor of success would you say that networking has been to you?
Networking is a significant part of my life and career. I am a strong proponent of networking.
Groups that Shelley Stein is directly affiliated with Grant Thornton, The American Woman's Society of Certified Public Accountants, International Women’s Forum, and Catalyst.
has edited and written for consumer Web sites and publications reaching nearly 50 million people. Her credits include writing and editing online and print articles, sales and training materials, marketing collateral, and advertising and PR for conusmer companies including BeautiControl, a Tupperware subsidiary's publications to women ages 20s through 50s, the WHO Foundation, Women Helping Others, MCG Magazine, Los Angeles and Seasonal Living Guide for Sam’s Club, a retailing subsidiary of Wal-Mart. Her career also includes working and living in Canada and Japan. Jean is well regarded for her market-research based approach to managing story development enabling consistently original, relevant and timely content.