By Deanna C. White
Maximo Mukelabai was an extraordinary individual filled with passion, intellect, inspiration, and warmth; traits recognized by anyone who met him.
Professionally, he was a member of the inaugural class of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) Leadership Academy and the youngest and first African American chair of the North Carolina Association of CPAs (NCACPA) board of directors. Tragically, Mukelabai's life ended abruptly at the age of thirty-six.
In tribute to Mukelabai's legacy, the AICPA has founded the Maximo Mukelabai Award. The award will recognize a deserving CPA under the age of forty for his or her passion and contributions toward building the CPA pipeline, serving as an advocate of the accounting profession, and performing outstanding community service.
"Max was known for his incredible drive, enthusiasm, and respect for the profession. He was a true leader and would do anything to carry that torch", said Donna Salter, senior manager of the AICPA Young Member Initiatives program. "Because of his role as a leader, we wanted to remember him by establishing this award."
Salter said Mukelabai, who she met while working with the NCACPA, made an indelible impression on both his mentors in the AICPA Leadership Academy and his young CPA peers.
"Max was always the first person to reach out and welcome someone, which was indicative of his strong leadership skills. He was always very enthusiastic, he always wanted to make a difference, and he always wanted to contribute", Salter said. "He exemplified the qualities a nominee must have to achieve this award."
Peers, employers, AICPA staff, or state CPA societies may submit nominations for the annual Maximo Mukelabai Award. Self-nominations are not accepted. The AICPA Young CPA Network Committee will review all qualified nominations for the award.
The award recipient will be announced and presented with an award at the E.D.G.E. Conference in Orlando, August 8 through August 10, 2012. All nominators will be notified of the final selection in June 2012. Those with questions on the submission process may contact [email protected]. Nominations must be postmarked by May 15, 2012.
Visit the AICPA website for more information about the Maximo Mukelabai Award or to nominate a deserving CPA who emulates Mukelabai's passion for the profession, proven leadership acumen, and affinity for volunteerism.