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National Association of Black Accountants meets with Saint Mary’s students

December 10, 2020

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On Saturday, Dec. 5, the First Generation Initiative (FGI) and Black Students and Allies (BSA) hosted the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) for a virtual meeting with Saint Mary’s students, including graduate students, undergraduate students, and students from our Lasallian and Catholic high school partners in the Countdown to College program. Derek Jackson, chair of the Business Department at Saint Mary’s, made the initial connection with NABA and emphasized the importance of students of color having professional networks and mentors in their fields that look more like them.

Taliya Harris ‘20 FGI grad and NABA member who joined the call, said she was the only African American business major in her graduating class, so going into NABA provided a level of comfort. Her father had a contact in the Chicago Chapter of NABA and suggested she join. Harris landed her internship with Allstate at a NABA Regional Conference, which led to her current position at Allstate as a project management consultant.

NABA Corporate Partner representatives from Thomson Reuters, CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen), and Best Buy showcased the work that they have been doing in diversity, equity, and inclusion and shared their personal journeys in the professional world, which included both traditional and non-traditional pathways. They emphasized the importance of networking and building relationships throughout their careers and being open to new opportunities. Enitan Onayiga, president of BSA, said, “The event gave insight on how you may start one journey but end up doing something else.” It was a great opportunity for students to engage and connect with real world professionals.

NABA is a nonprofit member association dedicated to bridging the opportunity gap for Black accounting and finance professionals by providing leadership and technical training, as well as networking and career opportunities. The president of the Twin Cities Chapter of NABA, Orlando Bryant, shared the benefits of joining NABA for students of color in accounting, business, finance, marketing, and related fields, including career development, internship and scholarship opportunities, and membership in a rich network of professionals.

The Saint Mary’s and NABA partnership will continue next semester. If you would like to participate in the next meeting or have any questions, please contact Tammy Brians at