April 12, 2012

Taylor brings business ideas, expertise to state government

From the time Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor was a little girl listening to baseball games on the radio, she enjoyed following the numbers and tracking statistics.

“That’s how I understood the game, by the numbers—how they worked and what they meant to the game, ” she told MAcc, MBA and Specialized Master in Finance students attending her lecture as part of the Ernst & Young Professional  Speaker Series on April 10. At that time, she didn’t realize it was a sign of her future career path as a certified public accountant and public official.

Taylor discussed her journey from a traditional career track as a private sector CPA to public office. First, she served on city council, and then as a state representative followed by a term as state auditor.Now she sits in the office of lieutenant governor. Taylor is the first CPA in Ohio’s history to be elected auditor as well as lieutenant governor.

Her experiences as an accountant for multinational clients at Deloitte & Touche and at a smaller firm in Akron helped prepare Taylor for public office.

“When I look at an issue or a problem, I look at the numbers,” she said. “To me, the numbers tell a story that I view as a factual story.”

With a nod to Taylor’s business expertise, Gov. John R. Kasich named her to lead the Common Sense Initiative, a program to reform Ohio’s regulatory policies, with the goal of making Ohio “a jobs-friendly” state. Taylor is also the director of the Ohio Department of Insurance.

While in college, “I never expected to become involved in public service and never expected to run for public office,” she said. “As accountants, especially, we plan our lives; we have it all mapped out and this is the way it’s going to go.”

She said she was caught off guard when an opportunity was presented to serve on the city council and help change policies in her Northen Ohio town, Green. Instead of sitting on the sidelines as an observer, she decided to get involved.  “I didn’t like what was going on and I wanted to do what was right for my community.”

Taylor earned a bachelor's degree in accounting and a master's degree in taxation from the University of Akron. Following four years at Deloitte & Touche, Taylor joined the Akron firm of Bober, Markey, Fedorovich & Company, where she served as director of the firm's tax department and senior manager of the employee benefits practice.