A note from our Founder: One of my favorite things about the Alliance is watching our women choose to see one another as collaborators, rather than competitors. We share experiences with one another, so we can all learn from them without having to repeat them. Sometimes, we even find ways to cooperate through our businesses to expand the opportunities for all parties involved!

That’s why collaboration is so magical – it allows us to combine the individual gifts, talents and ideas that we individually have and amplify our collective impact!

Because I am so inspired by these extraordinary women, we’re starting a new feature – the Collaboration Station! Please read below for the first of many stories of collaboration that remind us of the magic we can create when we make the time to connect with and support one another. 


In February, I joined our Ellivate monthly Open Forum meeting (this is where we connect to share celebrations, challenges and everything in between) because I had a pressing challenge.

I am building a coaching practice upon the foundation of my work as a CPA specializing in the nonprofit industry. I wanted to share more with the world through speaking, but wasn’t sure where to start when it comes to creating content. When I shared my challenge, I discovered that many of the women in attendance had been here before. They shared some great recommendations and resources to get me started. It felt good to allow myself to be vulnerable so I could open myself up to such amazing support and feedback!

Then, Melisa Galasso shared her current challenge. Galasso Learning Solutions creates and delivers custom training courses in accounting, including the nonprofit and governmental industries, and Melisa was reaching delivery capacity. She couldn’t take on any more work. She wanted to add someone to her team, but struggled to find the right fit.

A lightbulb come on for me as we ended the meeting – Melisa and I share a love for CPAs and the nonprofit industry! I was seeking speaking opportunities, and Melisa was seeking a new team member she could trust. I reached out to Melisa right after the meeting to make a more personal, direct connection. I invited her to explore what it might look like to work together. Since we live in different regions of the country, we left things open-ended.

An amazing thing happened – in a matter of months, Melisa was scheduled to speak at my very own state society of CPAs in Iowa! I planned to attend her event so we could finally meet in person. I was simply excited about the opportunity to connect in person. Then, Melisa blew me away when she suggested we co-present at the event!! We met in person for less than an hour in Iowa, and then presented the session together. I was honored to be invited into her world.

Fast forward to today, and Melisa and I have formally contracted to work together. I get to speak more (without having to create the content), and Melisa gets to expand her team and reach. Talk about a win-win scenario!! This is the magic of Ellivate – women collaborating with women!

— Susan Stuzel, CPA