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Leavey School of Business Santa Clara University
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Accounting Leadership Series 2022-2023

The Accounting Department at the Leavey School of Business created the new Accounting Leadership Series program for the 2022-2023 academic year to engage all business students. Hosted by Dean’s Executive Professor, Chris Paisley, the program is an exciting opportunity for students to meet executives in the industry who are SCU Accounting alums.

The Accounting Department at the Leavey School of Business created the new Accounting Leadership Series program for the 2022-2023 academic year to engage all business students. 

Chris Paisley

Hosted by Dean’s Executive Professor, Chris Paisley, the program is an exciting opportunity for students to meet executives in the industry who are SCU Accounting alums. The program has two components: a fireside chat with the guest speaker and a dinner with a select group of Accounting and A&IS majors.

To kick off the Accounting Leadership Series, the first event was held on October 19, 2022 with guest speaker Jack Lazar, SCU alumnus ’87, Bachelor of Science in Accounting, former Chief Financial Officer of GoPro. Jack sits on the Board of Directors for Box (BOX), Global Foundries (GFS), Resideo (REZI) and thredUP (TDUP). He also serves as a member of the Advisory Board for the SCU Accounting Department. Jack has over 30 years of Silicon Valley experience with a focus on finance and operations. He has served in executive leadership roles at GoPro, Qualcomm, Atheros, NetRatings, Apptitude, and Electronics for Imaging. He was named a National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Top 100 Director in 2022 and CFO of the Year by the Silicon Valley Business Journal in 2008. Jack was named SCU Accounting Department Alumnus of the Year in 2022 and was part of the initial pledge class for SCU’s Sigma Pi fraternity.


Dean Ed Grier’s introduction and Jack’s Leadership fireside chat was well received by students. The Forbes room was packed full as 123 students attended the first event. Host Professor Chris Paisley navigated Jack through questions on how his SCU experience shaped his future experiences. We would like to share a handful of the student comments with you.

“I really liked how personal the stories were and how they connect to why Accounting is a good major for anyone.”

“I liked hearing about Jack’s philosophy.”

“The anecdotal side of Mr. Lazar going through each story of his experience such as the printing press or taking his wife to Tahoe.”

“I loved that he shared his experience with certain kinds of people, so that we would know how to choose the right people.”


The November 9, 2022 Accounting Leadership Series event featured guest speaker Joe Allanson.


The following excerpt on Joe was written by Melanie Cooper (Accounting '23), SCUAA senior officer:

Joe's visit in the Accounting Leadership Series was a wonderful experience for many business school students. Joe, SCU alumnus ’85, Bachelor of Science in Accounting, is the Executive Vice President of Finance Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) of Salesforce. He previously served as Salesforce’s Chief Accounting Officer and Head Controller. In 2018, Zuora Software named Joe as Chief Accounting Officer of the Year for his developments in the FASB standards on Revenue Recognition. Additionally, while attending SCU, he served as the co-chair of the Accounting Association during his junior and senior years.

Joe shared advice on many topics including leadership, making the most out of your career, and how to change the world for the better. He discussed how his “underdog” mindset contributed to his success throughout his career. The underdog mindset allowed him to excel beyond his peers and to inspire others to do the same. He elaborated on the leadership framework that he has followed in his career. Joe says, “One of the roles of a leader is to inspire others to go above and beyond – to be the best they can be”. He encourages others working with (not for) him to perform the best work of their careers. Joe encouraged students to find their passion when choosing a job, as it is a vocation in life, and reminded us of the importance of the commitment to lifelong learning.

The work Joe is doing at Salesforce is very inspiring. He believes businesses are the biggest platform for change, stating that “Businesses have people, and people are what make things happen”. Within his position at Salesforce, Joe is fostering progress in the right direction to understand and limit the climate impacts that corporations have on our Earth. Joe attributed his determination and work ethic to Santa Clara University. He said, “Here at Santa Clara, they prepare you for the real world. You are built to do the impossible… and make it look simple”. 

Dean Ed Grier’s introduction and Joe’s leadership fireside talk were well received as 118 students attended. We would like to share our students’ comments about Joe’s event:

“I loved the passion of Mr. Allanson, and his emphasis on work ethic and the unlimited potential that each person has.”

“I like the engagement of our speaker, Mr. Joe Allanson, with his audience and sharing his lessons in life: you will go a long way by having the mindset of lifelong commitment to learning and dreaming big.”

“Super informative, very enlightening in terms of what real life work looks like post SCU graduation.”

“I loved where he shared how each specific inspiration fueled him to want to grow and make himself better than today.” 


The January 25, 2023 Accounting Leadership Series event featured guest speaker Judy Bruner.

Judy Bruner, SCU alumna ’86, Master of Business Administration, is the former Executive Vice President of Administration and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of SanDisk Corporation and former Senior Vice President and CFO of Palm, Inc. In 2018, Judy was recognized by Women Inc. magazine as one of the Most Influential Corporate Board Directors. In 2012, she was recognized by the Silicon Valley Business Journal as CFO of the Year for a large public company.  She currently serves on the Board of Directors of four public companies: Applied Materials (AMAT), Qorvo (QRVO), Rapid7 (RPD) and Seagate Technology (STX).

During the discussion, Judy shared her insights about a number of different leadership topics. In particular, she shared her lessons learned when developing skills for effective leadership, her experiences as a female leader in the Bay Area, and her insights into opportunities for developing business relationships. Many students provided feedback on how meaningful her discussion was to them.

When discussing leadership skills, Judy highlighted that in order to be an effective leader, it helps to delegate more. She acknowledged that initially it was hard for her to delegate for a couple of reasons. She could get it done faster or better.  And at times she wanted to protect the workload of her employees. Ultimately though, she found that with delegating tasks, there are important benefits of involving a diverse team and  gaining the value of a broad opinion base.

Being a female leader, Judy shared that sometimes she encountered roadblocks, but also opportunities. She highlighted a positive attribute of being the only woman in the room – even with a dissenting opinion, the team listened to her!

Judy also discussed opportunities for developing business relationships. She found that a lot of business takes place out of the office, and that when you are a part of an executive team, you travel a lot together and do things together. She expressed that being a part of that informal grouping is important because business conversations take place and relationships get formed.

We received such positive feedback from Judy’s talk that below we’ve highlighted some of our students’ comments.

I thought Mrs. Bruner had great insights and offered a good perspective to both accounting and non-accounting majors deciding where they want to go with their future endeavors.”

I liked the Q&A setting. I think it’s cool that she shared lessons about times where she struggled. She also spoke about SCU and how much it has changed.”

 “I liked how she talked about her experiences as a leader and a woman. She was really friendly and her experiences are motivating for other women who are trying to succeed in the business world.”

I liked the stories that were told. They were motivating and make me want to consider following in the accounting path.”


The February 22, 2023 Accounting Leadership Series event featured guest speaker Lewis Chew.

Lewis Chew, SCU alumnus ‘84, Bachelor of Science in Accounting, served as Executive VP and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Dolby Laboratories from 2012 to 2021 and as CFO of National Semiconductor Corporation from 2001 to 2011.  Prior to National Semiconductor, Lewis was an Audit Partner at KPMG in their technology practice.  Currently, Lewis serves on the Board of Directors of Cadence Design Systems and Arista Networks, where he chairs the Audit Committee of both of those Boards.  Lewis also served on the Board of Directors of PG&E Corporation from 2009 to 2019.  Lewis has been a member of the Advisory Board of SCU’s Accounting Department since 1996.  He has moderated the SCU Accounting Information Night on numerous occasions over the years.  Lewis is also a member of SCU’s Board of Fellows. 

Lewis Chew

When Lewis asked students what they were interested in hearing from him, their response was that they wanted to know what Lewis wished he knew before going into public accounting and becoming a CFO.  Lewis said that he wished he would have done an internship in order to know what audit was.  Since he paid his way through school, working 30 hours a week, he was not able to do an internship.  Lewis encourages students to do internships so that they can have a better understanding of what the job is.

Lewis’s advice for someone coming straight out of college is to care about the job and what you do, to work hard, and to have curiosity.  He suggests that you research whatever it is that you want to do and learn about it.

One of the hardest decisions Lewis had to make was to leave public accounting as a partner.  His mother was surprised and disappointed.  He went to the corporate environment as the Director of Internal Audit.  It became the gateway for him to do other things.  Eventually, this move gave him the opportunity to become CFO of National Semiconductor.  It changed his life forever.

Lewis’s Leadership talk in the Benson Memorial Center, California Mission room, was well attended by more than 190 students.  We would like to share some of our students’ comments from his talk.

“Lewis gave good advice to all the undergrads that were there!”

“What I liked about the event is that Lewis Chew took a very passionate and personal approach to explaining his journey in his industry. The way that he tackled our questions allowed me to believe that he is very sincere about helping us college students in following our paths. I hope that there are more people such as Lewis who are able to teach us how to launch our careers. One thing that he said was to make sure that you care and that is something that really stuck with me.”

“I liked the stories about his time at SCU.”

“[I liked the] inspiration of his speech!”


On April 19, 2023 the Accounting Leadership Series event featured guest speaker Ken Miller.

Ken Miller, SCU alumnus '93, Bachelor of Science in Accounting, is the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Juniper Networks. In this role, he leads the company’s global finance and accounting functions, as well as supply chain operations and real estate. Ken’s leadership has included integrating several acquisitions, including Mist Systems, Apstra and 128T. He managed supply chain issues during the COVID-19 pandemic, and during his tenure, the company has generated over $5 billion in operating cash flow. Ken consistently earns some of the highest employee engagement scores on the company’s annual survey due to his commitment and passion for creating a great work culture.

Ken Miller

Ken knew in high school that he wanted to be an accountant because he heard that accounting is the language of business.  

Ken shared advice about how a leader should build trust and find team players who are motivated:  Part of the challenge of being a leader is finding how a person is going to fit in.  Sometimes you are leading people and teams you do not know about. Developing the culture and people connections is critical. Being a leader is about letting others grow.

He also expressed that sometimes a leader makes a decision which may not be popular:  As a leader, be clear when you speak to avoid having your team spinning on projects that you do not intend for.

An important piece that Ken shared during the fireside chat is that you learn to be a leader your whole life.  He encourages students to be engaged in class projects, in your community, in clubs, in sports, or wherever you can find involvement. 

More than 80 students attended Ken’s fireside. We would like to highlight some of the students’ feedback.

“I liked learning about not only how to be a leader but how to become one.”

“He was a very informational professional who gave a lot of insight about the soft skills that you need in order to thrive in the public accounting profession.”

“I liked Ken Miller’s stories where he gave insights about previous jobs he has worked in. He talks about roles he disliked and roles he liked stemming from the way his bosses treated him. He gives great advice.”

“I really enjoyed the insight Mr. Miller spoke [about]. With his time at Juniper Networks and especially how he mentioned how they handled the pandemic. Making sure to prioritize health first and then having to deal with uncertainty. [I especially appreciated] his points on interviews, making sure to fit the culture and adapt to the company.”


On May 17, 2023 the Accounting Leadership Series event featured guest speaker Betsy Rafael.

Betsy Rafael has over 35 years of executive financial experience in the technology industry. Most recently, she served as Chief Transformation Officer at GoDaddy. Prior to this, Ms. Rafael held positions at Apple, including Vice President and Corporate Controller and Principal Accounting Officer, and she served as Vice President, Corporate Finance for Cisco Systems. At Silicon Graphics, Ms. Rafael was Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. She also held senior management positions in finance at Sun Microsystems and Apple Computer. Ms. Rafael currently serves on the Board of Directors of Autodesk, Kinaxis, and Informatica. She graduated magna cum laude from SCU with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting in 1983 and served on the Santa Clara Board of Trustees from 2012-2017.

Betsy came to SCU as an undergraduate student because she was goal oriented and wanted to be an accountant. She also felt that SCU was a good fit for her because she wanted to go to a smaller school where you can get an one-on-one education with professors.

Betsy Rafael

During the leadership talk, Betsy provided invaluable interview advice. She talked about the importance of  having a genuine interest in your job and how always telling the truth, even if you don’t know something, will come across as authentic. She is a big believer in focusing on being yourself. Betsy said, “Focus and work hard. There is no shortcut in working hard.”

In her accounting career path, Betsy took a role in an internal audit department. She did operational assessments of the business. The job enabled her to travel to many places around the world while she looked at data centers and different parts of the business. She felt like she was able to get real world business experiences through these opportunities.

During her time as Chief Financial Officer at Apple, she found that the role required her to be a spokesperson for the company. She learned many leadership lessons in this role, including: The foundation of being a good leader is to have integrity. There is the fiduciary responsibility of ensuring that accounting is done accurately. You work as a team. You learn that communication is essential.  

Betsy’s leadership talk was attended by 75 students, who shared comments such as the following:

“I liked that she had a more non-traditional path into public accounting and worked in technology.”

“I thought it was really interesting how she explained that everyone had their own personal mentor and how this helped her know the type of leader she wanted to be. Little things that her past leaders had done allowed her to know and learn how to be a better leader.”

“Her preference for team players over achievers was interesting to me since Accounting doesn’t often strike me as a job that functions as a group but she valued that more.”


If you or others you know are SCU Accounting or A&IS alumni and are interested in participating as a guest speaker, please contact