Xero, the cloud-based accounting software provider, is partnering with the National Association of Black Accountants and the Association of Latino Professionals For America to launch two scholarship programs aimed at increasing diversity and representation in the profession.
The company joined with NABA to launch the Mary T. Washington Award, named in honor of the first Black woman CPA, Mary Thelma Washington. Natalia Arriaga, an incoming junior at Winthrop University, was the first to receive this award and is being honored at Xerocon New Orleans on Friday. In addition to being vice president of Winthrop University’s NABA chapter, Arriaga holds senior-level credits as a junior while also serving in many leadership roles for eight other student organizations at her university.
Xero also partnered with ALPFA to award scholarships to two more students at the event. The winners were Dayron Garcia, a sophomore at Monroe College majoring in accounting and taxation, who identifies as disabled and hopes to shine a light on misconceptions surrounding disabled individuals in the workplace; and Cynthia Sauceda, a sophomore at the University of Houston majoring in accounting and taxation. Sauceda also serves on the financial committee at her university’s Hispanic Business Student Association, and has a summer internship with Big Four firm PwC.
“Xero is thrilled to honor these three deserving students for their dedication to changing the accounting and business industries for the better,” said Xero U.S. country manager Ben Richmond, in a statement. “We believe in the importance of representation, equity and inclusion. Our collaborations with NABA and ALPFA are just two of many partnerships aimed at helping to diversify the pipeline of talent and creating opportunities for those of all backgrounds.”