Crystal Cooke

Crystal Cooke

Senior Manager of Governance and Talent

Center for Audit Quality (CAQ)

Washington, DC USA

I quickly learned that in order to change this dynamic, someone had to be "first," so why not me. Instead of being saddened by the situation and walking away, I turned it into a positive and wore it as a badge of honor that I was selected first.


My road in life has been direct.
1994 - I graduated from high school and was on my way to the University of Cincinnati on a basketball scholarship. Because my mom was an accountant, I decided to follow in her footsteps.
1998 - I graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a BBS in accounting in June. Two weeks later, I began working at Fifth Third Bank in their Internal Audit group.
2000 - I attended a National Association of Black Accountants conference in Washington, DC and networking reps from KPMG LLP, I decided to make the move from internal audit to public company audit.
2001 - I moved to Washington DC and worked for KPMG LLP for the next seven years. I learned so much during my time here. My experiences will be with me forever & shaped me into the professional I am.
2007 - Because making money was my priority, I didn't consider how that choice would affect getting my CPA. Life progressed quickly, I never earned my license, and had to move on from KPMG LLP.
2007 - In searching for my next opportunity I was blessed to be introduced to the CAQ. An organization where I could remain connected to the profession, but take on a role that did not require a CPA.
2015 - I enjoyed my work, but wanted something more purposeful in my work. This year, the Governing Board introduced our Talent initiative and I immediately asked to be a participant.
2019 - I now help lead our Talent initiative and find passion in the work I do around helping to educate ethnically diverse audiences about the career and benefits that it can provide.
Keep following my journey


High School
Westerville North High School
University of Cincinnati


Senior Manager of Governance and Talent

I help carry out the mission of the Governing Board, including managing financial reporting and Talent initiatives.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Upholding a Cause and Belief

Day to Day

My governance responsibilities include managing our Governing Board operations. My financial oversight responsibilities consist of managing the CAQ's financial reporting and budgeting processes. My talent related responsibilities include overseeing a collaboration of members from the Governing Board organizations to develop programs designed to broaden the pipeline of students electing to enter the public company auditing profession. My particular focus is on efforts to increase ethic diversity.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for everyone

As a promoter of the career for the CAQ, I would first instruct people to visit to learn all about auditors. Students should talk to their parent(s) and school counselor about the career. Earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, information systems or a related field. While in college, consider interning at a public accounting firm to learn more about what the career. Plan to become certified before you start working, if possible. Work for a public accounting firm!

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:



The Noise I Shed

From Society in General:

"As an African American in the public company audit profession, I am often put in situations of being the "first" or "only" person of color in the room. Being put in this position was often uncomfortable and made me question whether it was for me. "

Challenges I Overcame