Secrets From the C-Suite

The Best Career Advice This Philly Accounting Exec Has Ever Received

EisnerAmper’s Lori Reiner on her new leadership role (and spin obsession).


Lori Reiner

Lori Reiner in EisnerAmper’s Philly office. Photograph by Rebecca McAlpin.

THE DETAILS
Age: 54
Title: Chief people officer
Workplace: Accounting firm EisnerAmper
Trained as: Certified public accountant

On becoming 1,600-person EisnerAmper’s first-ever chief people officer: Last summer, our CEO presented me with the opportunity to become chief people officer, to move on from having been partner-in-charge of the Philadelphia office for five years. I loved my role of partner-in-charge, and there was risk in the new, unknown position. I’m an accountant by background — I’ve been a CPA for the last 33 years — but I have always thrived on getting out of my comfort zone. I jumped in.

On her new day-to-day: I’m focused on the experience of working in our firm. That’s everything from improving the daily experience to growing people’s careers the way they want to grow them. We’re creating a culture of learning. There’s a war for talent, so we’re making sure we provide a wonderful experience for our colleagues.

On her leadership style: I like collaboration. I want to make sure I’ve considered all points of view before making a decision.

On her morning routine: I start off my mornings with a Peloton bike class. If my schedule aligns, I do a 6 a.m. live class. If not, I do a recorded class. I’ve had my Peloton for four years now. It’s like bringing a live spin class into your house.

On a big misconception about her industry: People think accountants are only historians. But I’m a partner at a firm that encourages our colleagues to use data to help make decisions about the future. I first joined the firm in 1999, and it wasn’t the case back then, but it is now.

On the hardest part of her job: It’s difficult to effect change. There’s a well-known five-step process to change. It involves creating awareness, building desire, giving people knowledge, practicing the change, and then reinforcement in the end. It takes a while — we have to acknowledge all of these steps.

On her guilty pleasure: Don’t laugh, but … I like a weekly blow-dry! It’s a guaranteed time when I can just close my eyes, take a deep breath, and totally relax.

On the best career advice she’s ever received: When I was a staff accountant, a partner told me to get involved in the community. I got involved with a nonprofit that provided social services to families in underprivileged areas of the city. I had the opportunity to help them move their mission forward as I built new relationships and skills. The skills — fund-raising, event planning — were relevant. And they were things I wouldn’t have learned otherwise.

Lori Reiner

The orange frog that sits on her desk. Photograph by Rebecca McAlpin

On her desk: The orange frog. “The story goes: There were two frogs on a log in the middle of a lake, and one decided to jump off. How many frogs are now on the log? Two frogs. One frog decided to jump off but didn’t. That’s powerful, because in order to do something, you have to do more than decide it. I got this in training a few years ago, and it’s been on my desk ever since.”

Published as “A Pivot to People” in the May 2019 issue of Philadelphia magazine.