Accounting for Our Differences
Professor Solange Lopes is on a mission to eliminate social barriers that interfere with her accounting students’ ability to maximize their intellectual and professional assets.
It wasn’t long after Stonehill professor Solange Lopes became a certified public accountant that she grew frustrated with the lack of resources and support for women navigating racial and gender hurdles as they seek to build a career, raise a family and live a life of purpose.
She knew she wasn’t the only woman struggling with these challenges, so she created a website — The Corporate Sister — where she could offer support as an advocate and mentor to other women. That type of support also informs her work in the classroom, where she is committed to helping empower future professionals — and women in particular —to embrace their potential as leaders.
“As an educator, I seek to empower all students to reach their highest potential,” said Lopes, an assistant professor in the Accounting Department of the Meehan School of Business at Stonehill College. “It is also important to encourage women and minorities who shy away from fields such as finance and accounting to pursue their dreams.”
It is, she said, an issue of profound importance not only to individuals but also to organizations and society.
“Women are lacking in representation in the C-suite and in the highest corporate and business levels, which is also hurting the bottom line of our organizations as well as diminishing the potential we have as a society.”
With more than a decade in public accounting and the corporate world, Lopes is able to leverage her professional and personal experience to enhance the classroom experience for her students.
“I am able to bring a real perspective and have pointed advice for students to show how they can adapt to be successful,” said Lopes, who serves as co-chair of the Faculty of Color Association at Stonehill. “Together, we’re able to look at what is happening in the world around us and use our current reality as the context for what we’re learning in the classroom.”
Her students appreciate her teaching style as well as her devotion to their development.
“As an aspiring CPA, I was able to gain valuable insight into what being a female CPA is like through Professor Lopes,” said accounting major Emily Foley ’22. “And she was a great mentor for me while I taught a student-led IDEAS course on working women.”
James Pentikis ’22, an accounting major who also served as Lopes’s TA, said, “She truly cares for all of her students and takes the time to learn about each student. She makes herself available to all of her students whenever they may need help or want to chat.”
In many ways, such support is a natural extension of the work Lopes does on The Corporate Sister, which features blogs, videos and podcasts on a variety of topics, from tips on how to increase productivity to common mistakes made during the salary negotiation process.
“I started The Corporate Sister to find answers to the questions we all have as working women and moms,” said Lopes.
Lopes has received an overwhelmingly positive response from fellow working women, moms and supportive men. Many working women and moms have found in the site a resource and community to help them navigate specific career, business and/or life issues they have faced or are currently facing in their careers or in their personal lives.
“The feedback that has resonated the most for me is from other working women who said that it is almost as if they read their own stories through mine. That’s when I realized how important it is to bring more awareness and solutions to the obstacles faced by women in the workplace,” said Lopes.
Ultimately, whether it is through her work as a teacher or through The Corporate Sister, Lopes is achieving her main goal: helping others.
“As a woman and accounting faculty, I hope to continue to learn, teach, mentor and help in whatever capacity I can as part of the incredibly important work of educating individuals and promoting increased representation and gender equity.”