QUESTION - First, please introduce yourself by sharing an anecdote or an experience, personal or professional, that has made you who you are today.
As an Indonesian citizen who moved to Germany in 1999 due to my husband’s work, it wasn't easy for me from the start. As a mother of two, I had to take care of my children while also adjusting to this entirely new country, its people, its culture, and most importantly, its difficult language. My husband traveled a lot, and I did not have family nearby. Working right away was out of the question as he German day care system was still limited to working mothers only and I was still learning the language. Eight years later, I found myself back in Frankfurt in a small US tax office that would be my new home for many years to come: my first job as a tax preparer. My first few years in the tax sector were challenging. While working, I still had another job that took up all of my energy: being a mother. Thanks to my understanding employer, I had the opportunity to work flexibly (when kids are sick, school activities etc.) but still learn more about tax. And in fact, I fell in love with tax, and decided to stay in tax industry instead of going back to the finance industry I originally studied in. I decided to get my Enrolled Agent in 2015. I have now been working as a Senior Tax Manager at Trowbridge for three years. Although it was a difficult journey in retrospect, my drive and curiosity enabled me to develop into the person I am today.
QUESTION - What does March 8th mean for you?
For me, March 8th is a reminder of the progress that women have made in the fight for equal rights and opportunities, but it is also a call to action to continue the work that still needs to be done. It is a time to reflect on the challenges that women face, such as equal access to education for girls, support for working mothers, discrimination at workplace, and unequal pay, and to work towards equal society for all.
On this day, I feel a sense of solidarity with women everywhere, and I am inspired by the courage and resilience of those who continue to fight for their rights and the rights of others. March 8th is a reminder that we are not alone in our struggle, and that together we can make a difference.
QUESTION - What advice or words of wisdom would you give young women who would like to learn from your career and follow in your footsteps?
I am not sure if I have advice for all young women, but for sure I have advice for my daughter who is on her journey for being a young professional. First and foremost, believe in yourself and your abilities. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't succeed because of your gender or any other factor beyond your control. You are capable of achieving great things, and with hard work and perseverance, you can overcome any obstacle.
Secondly, seek out mentors and role models who can offer guidance and support as you navigate your career path. Don't be afraid to ask for help or advice, and always be open to learning and growing.
Thirdly, be confident in your skills and knowledge, but also be willing to admit when you don't know something. It's okay to ask questions and seek clarification, and it shows that you are committed to learning and improving.
Finally, remember that success is not just about individual achievement, but also about lifting up others and creating positive change in your community and beyond.
In summary, believe in yourself, seek out mentors and role models, be confident but also humble, and use your success to make a positive impact on the world.
QUESTION - Tell us about your Role and Service Line at Trowbridge Professional Corporation.
I have been a Senior Manager for Private Clients, at the Trowbridge International, German office for the last three years. There are two managers who report directly to me. Each of the managers has three preparers. In total, we have six preparers, four in Pune, one in Ahmedabad, and one in Frankfurt.
My role is basically to build and maintain healthy relationships with clients, to coordinate and delegate tax activities, and to make sure the tax returns are delivered in a timely manner. I conduct high-level reviews of federal and state returns and ensure that tax returns are in compliance with laws and regulations. For this, I have to keep educating myself in various tax issues and tax treaties. I manage and support members of the tax team, mentor the team in India in reading German tax documents and including them in US tax filings. On top of that I support Client Support Germany and local Client Support. Recently, I became a member of a committee that commits to improve Trowbridge’s tax processes.