Early on in her career, Judy Kaltenbacher was told a part-time accountant could never become a partner in a firm. But with a growing family, she was determined to have a balance between her work and home life, and still move up the ranks of her company.
She did, and in the process, Kaltenbacher became a trailblazer, making it possible for other women CPAs to have the same balance. But it wasn’t easy.
“People sometimes made unkind comments, and thought I was getting special treatment. My choice was to stay and fight. I knew if I left, women coming up behind me might never get leadership opportunities in accounting firms,” said Kaltenbacher.
Now, Kaltenbacher is the director of the tax department at Stockman Kast Ryan + Co. the largest locally owned CPA firm in southern Colorado. And other women accountants at her firm and firms throughout the industry work part-time and rise to management positions.
“Working part-time was unheard of within my firm and the other firms. Now it’s common. It took longer to move up, but the trade-off was worth it,” said Kaltenbacher. “When I was starting out, professional women were told we could have it all. And we can. Not all at the same time, but we can.”
When she’s not working, Kaltenbacher serves as the treasurer of the corporate board of Newborn Hope, a nonprofit working to prevent premature births and improve the lives of critically ill infants.
She also serves on the boards of other nonprofits, including the SET Family Medical Clinics of Colorado Springs and the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado.