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Lauren Foster

Lauren Foster

Mergers and Acquisitions Accounting
General Motors
Detroit, MI

 

In college, Lauren Foster was going to be a nurse. Definitely a nurse.

No, wait: a criminal justice major. That’s the call. Federal law enforcement.

Wait, how about an accountant? Well, that wasn’t the original plan. But after learning that to be a federal law enforcement agent (think FBI), a professional degree in law or accounting would help, she followed the accounting path. And then a funny thing happened: she learned to love accounting, and dropped the criminal justice major. The more she learned, the more she enjoyed it. The rest is history.

Lauren began her career as an intern at KPMG. After school, she stayed with KPMG for another three and a half years. Then she was given the opportunity to work at Michigan’s Wayne County Airport Authority, where she became the Assistant Controller. That put her at the center of a lot of hot-button projects, from financing big new construction projects to managing massive technology projects and a lot more. Lauren credits her training as a CPA for helping her get a leg up. “My CPA certification has given me the ability to step out of entry-level positions and play a direct role in managing the organization,” she says. “It’s helped me do a lot more with my career.”

In early 2010, Lauren made a strategic move to industry by taking a position for General Motors in their newly-formed Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) Accounting group, where she works with a small team to manage projects globally. Her responsibilities include managing M&A projects from an accounting perspective with a primary focus on risk-based oversight, technical accounting application and impact to processes. She was also elected to serve on the Board of Directors of Health Alliance Plan (HAP); a nonprofit health plan based in Detroit and has since migrated to serve on HAP’s Finance and Audit Committees.

Lauren is a member of the MACPA, serving on their professional Ethics Committee as the newly appointed Vice Chair and as a member of the Michigan Turnaround Task Force. She is an instructor in Ethics and has been sought out to speak on both technical and professional issues by various organizations.

In fact, Lauren feels that being a CPA has given her so much that she works to give back by becoming actively involved in professional organizations for CPAs and accountants. She extends her network through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. “Just shoot me a message some time!” she says.

For someone who started off thinking she would be a nurse, Lauren’s career path as a CPA has paid off in ways she never imagined. “Being a CPA helped me do a lot more with my career – I love that it provides so much flexibility and self-direction,” she says. “I get to manage my own workload and priorities, and it gives me a lot of options for the future.”

Just goes to show that you may not know the exact direction the road you are driving on is headed, but eventually we all find our true course.

Got questions of your own? Ask a CPA.

My CPA certification has given me the ability to step out of entry-level positions and play a direct role.

Stats at a Glance

Years as a CPA: 10

Best job: Current job

Worst job: Desk clerk at a health club

Hobbies outside of work: Playing piano, biking, dancing, running, cooking, singing

Words to live by: "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." - John Lennon