2012 Influential Women in Business

Monica Zumo

Monica Zumo

Managing partner, Hannis T. Bourgeois

Monica Zumo, managing partner of Hannis T. Bourgeois CPAs, made a choice some time ago that she was going to forge a successful career in a male-dominated industry and have a family. It's a balancing act that has required Zumo to break fresh ground in a lot of areas. But it has paid off—both for Zumo's career and for the firm she has helped grow.

When she was hired fresh out of college, there were only 12 people on staff at HTB and one other female. She is now the fourth managing partner and head of the executive committee in one of the largest certified public accounting firms in Louisiana. With existing locations in Baton Rouge and Denham Springs, the firm recently opened its third office in Metairie and has grown to include 17 partners and a staff of more than 100.

“Over my career, I definitely went through a lot of firsts with the firm. I was the first woman staff member to get pregnant, the first woman partner and the first woman managing partner,” Zumo says. “Through the years, I hit a lot of firsts with the firm, paving the way for where we are today.”

Zumo has never felt there is a glass ceiling at HTB, and she says the men in the firm have been very open and have mentored her along the way. Likewise, her male colleagues say she has excelled in her career through hard work, long hours and an enthusiastic attitude.

“She is a positive influence on all those around her—whether it is making firm decisions, supervision of a project or mentoring others,” says former managing partner Randy ?Bonnecaze. “Monica has a keen knack for seeing the good in all people; and as she mentors her peers and other staff at the firm, she inspires all to a higher level of achievement.”

Zumo says she truly loves her work, the interaction with clients and providing exceptional client services.

“Originally, I thought it was all about math. I've come to see that numbers are important, but it's about people,” Zumo says. “I feel accomplished watching the successes of my partners, clients and staff.”

That's particularly true of mentoring the younger members of the staff, which is what Zumo says she most enjoys about her work.

Zumo says her successful career has been possible because of the balance she achieved between the personal and professional aspects of her life. She's been married for 34 years, which is an accomplishment in and of itself. Her perspective as a pioneer for working mothers, combined with her position as managing partner, has influenced the development of the new 9-to-5.

“The younger ones make you realize how important work/life balance is. For us, the 9-to-5 will never be again,” she says. “We offer varying schedules, and not just for women when they have babies. It's just as important for guys, too.”

Zumo's service to the community has often revolved around her children. She has served as head of the St. Alphonsus School Board, treasurer of the Catholic High School Mothers' Club, and a member of the St. Joseph's Academy Mothers' Club, as well as on the St. Alphonsus Church Finance Committee.

She also served as treasurer of the Quota Club Trust Board of Directors and is currently a sustaining member of Quota Club. And as head of HTB's executive committee, she is instrumental in developing policy to ensure the continued success of the firm.

She is a former chairman of the Financial Institutions Committee of the Louisiana Society of Certified Public Accountants, a member of the Louisiana Association of Business & Industry Taxation and Finance Committee, and an associate member of the Louisiana Bankers Association.

In addition, Zumo is actively involved with PKF North America, one of the largest and most successful accounting associations today, in which HTB holds membership.

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