As an accountant, Donna Massanova, CPA, ’00, is all about the numbers. However at La Salle, she also learned the power of words.
In one of Massanova’s last classes at La Salle, Al Massimini, assistant professor of accounting, recounted his experience of taking all four parts of the CPA exam at once—an incredibly demanding task. Massanova decided to attempt the same feat, and she spent her summer after graduation taking all four study courses at once.
“What Professor Massimini said was so typical of the Lasallian spirit. What it taught me was that if you can believe in yourself, you shouldn’t let anyone else tell you that you can’t do something,” she said. “Without that I don’t think I would have tried. I wouldn’t have thought it was possible.”
Massanova did pass and became a CPA. She is a partner at ParenteBeard LLC, one of the top 25 accounting firms in the nation, where she is now the practice leader of the employee benefit plan audit services group. She is recognized both within the firm and externally as an expert in all aspects of accounting, auditing, and tax services related to employee benefit plans.
In 2012, Philadelphia Business Journal named Massanova as one of its “Women of Distinction” in recognition of her professional accomplishments and her work in the community. She is active with the Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs and the Philadelphia affiliate of Susan G. Komen, where she served as honorary chair for the Race for the Cure in 2011 and 2012 and chaired the Pink Tie Ball for 2013.
Massanova also returns to La Salle to speak to aspiring accountants and to recruit for ParenteBeard, which now boasts more than 10 La Salle graduates on its staff.
She admits that she’s experienced success beyond what she imagined when she was a student in La Salle’s Evening Division.
“On paper, one would never have expected me to get in the position I am in, but I knew that if I kept working toward my goal, I would get to where I should be,” she said.
For several years, Massanova worked full time in public accounting, cared for her three children, and then came to La Salle at night for classes.
“After a long day of work and tending to a family, it’s quite a feat to get excited about going to class,” she said. “It took tremendous discipline to walk up that hill each night to get to class, but I really did enjoy it.”
Throughout her career, the common thread in all of Massanova’s professional and community activities has been her goal to be a role model and mentor to young professionals, particularly women.
“The reason I go back and talk to students is because of the impact others have had on me—how one professor’s statement impacted my entire life,” she said. “If I can be an inspiration and an influence on just one student, then I have accomplished my goal. I believe we have an obligation to society to bring forth the next generation of leaders.”