In Chinese, the word crisis is really a combination of two words – opportunity and risk. While unfortunately the world has experienced the global risk brought by the Corona Virus, there have also been some unexpected opportunities presented by the crisis as well.   But what do opportunity and risk have to do with SobelCo and Carolyn D’Anna?

Prior to 2020, Carolyn had spent her entire professional life at JH Cohn, the predecessor to CohnReznick, one of the nation’s largest CPA firms.

After graduating from Pace University she became a licensed Certified Public Account and joined the J H Cohn team. In just a few years, as a result of her hard work, commitment, and technical competencies she was placed on the partner track. Recognized for her skills and attitude, she was promoted to Accounting and Audit partner, before ultimately being asked to accept responsibility as the Chief Human Resource Officer at the firm. Carolyn agreed, and was proud to serve in that capacity for the remainder of her career. After many successful years serving in a role that brought her influence and authority over more than 3,000 employees, Carolyn felt she was ready for a transition.

It was just at this same time that the SobelCo leadership team was beginning to conduct a search for a Chief Operating Officer. 

The firm had been undergoing consistent organic growth over the years combined with several significant mergers, and, as such, it had new capabilities and a broader menu of steadily expanding service offerings. Along with their growing niche expertise the firm was building a significant presence in the tri-state community. Recognizing that with growth comes new responsibilities, the SobelCo leadership team agreed unanimously that the firm needed to create a Chief Operating Officer position.

When their paths converged, both Carolyn and SobelCo saw the potential of the situation and seized the opportunity to come together in a way that enabled each to achieve their goal.

As she was discussing her options with friends and colleagues in the New Jersey accounting community, she found herself engaging in an interesting dialogue with some of her old friends from SobelCo. She enjoyed many strong, long time relationships with several of the SobelCo leadership and so the informal dialogue turned into a serious discussion – offering both SobelCo and Carolyn a unique opportunity. As Alan Sobel, the firm’s Managing partner noted, “Unprecedented times often result in unprecedented opportunities.”

As good fortune and good timing would have it, the conversations with Carolyn clearly showed that she had the essential balanced blend of practical professional service experience, coupled with executive level operations capabilities to make her the perfect choice for the firm’s first COO.  The search was over!

From her perspective, Carolyn was energized by the chance to leverage her depth of previous experience gained while working closely with key executives in finance, technology, operations and strategy in order to add value to SobelCo and to be an influencing factor in its continued success. 

While through the eyes of the SobelCo team, the ability to bring a person of Carolyn’s distinguished talents and experience to serve as its first Chief Operating Officer was the silver lining in the COVID-19 cloud!