Get Ready for the 2023-2024 Board of Directors Elections

NAEA’s Board of Directors provide the critical intellect and strategic vision necessary to serve the profession, to support the execution of the strategic plan, and to aid in positioning the association for the future.

Your voice counts. Before casting your vote, we invite you to learn more about our candidates and how they will serve to support the profession in those roles. Moderated by Nominating Committee Member, Phyllis Jo Kubey, EA, the Meet the Nominees Virtual Forum took place on Wednesday, November 2, 2022.

Learn more about each candidate below. Open voting will occur December 1st through the 15th. 

Nominee for President

Twila Midwood, EA

Twila received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. Having started her own firm in 1994, she has worked in tax for nearly 30 years. She is currently the president and sole owner of Advanced Tax Centre, Inc. in Rockledge, Florida. She earned the enrolled agent designation in 2003 and became an NTPI fellow in 2007. She has served in many volunteer leadership positions, including president of the Florida Society of Enrolled Agents and President of the Space Coast Chapter. Twila also served as a director on the NAEA Board from 2017-2021, Government Relations Chair from 2020-2021, Affiliate Council Chair 2016-2017, and is currently a member of the NAEA PAC Board. She serves as treasurer for the Nick Catechis Foundation, Inc. and was formerly the treasurer for the Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy Athletic Boosters.

What accomplishments would you like to see at NAEA, and how would you contribute to them?

Growth!! And not just in numbers, but also in the make-up of our members and their participation. This applies to growth for our leaders as well.

We need to encourage participation among members, especially new members. While, in my opinion, Advocacy is the biggest part of NAEA, we cannot achieve that goal or others, without growth within our organization.

To achieve success in growth, we must change our thought process on membership. We must support the younger members and their ideas. In reaching out to them, we must realize and accept that the world has changed. Things are not done “like we used to do them.”

I see a vision in which leadership (also consisting of committees) adopt a program of mentoring younger, new members. We cannot just sit by and “say” we welcome them. We must show it. We are failing as an organization in this respect.

Nominees for Director

Leslie Casteel, EA

Leslie is the owner of Casteel and Company in Knoxville, TN and is a Tax Expert Lead for Intuit. She has served in volunteer leadership positions in many business and community organizations, including President of the Tennessee Valley Coalition to End Homelessness, secretary for the Halls Business and Professional Association, and treasurer for the YMCA of Metropolitan Knoxville.

Leslie earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Tennessee and a master’s degree in accounting from Southern New Hampshire University where she was a Distinguished Scholar. She became an NTPI fellow in 2021.

What accomplishments would you like to see at NAEA, and how would you contribute to them?

 I would love to see the membership numbers grow. In Tennessee, we added 10 new memberships in July. Another thing I would love to see NAEA be successful in is the passage of Preparer Regulations for the uncredentialed preparers. We all know or have heard about the “Car Lot Accountants” (I use that term loosely), who will prepare the tax return and then the car lot uses the refund as your down payment. Those folks do not know the first thing about preparing tax returns or the tax laws, so you know they are not giving the customer the best possible results. Those two things are two of the three-year core focus areas in the NAEA Strategic Plan. Lastly, I would like to see is a focus on diversifying our membership so that we are known not only as the only group strictly for EAs, but the best and most elite of any preparer or representation group.

Kesha Dawson Harris, EA

Kesha is an Enrolled Agent with over 20 years of tax experience.  She is the owner of The Resilient Tax Group in Orlando, Florida. She has a bachelor’s in public administration from the University of Central Florida, and a master’s in organizational management from the University of Phoenix. Kesha is a Schuldiner/Smollan Leadership Academy Graduate and a NAEA NTPI Fellow. She currently serves on the NAEA Bylaws and Governance Committee and is the immediate past president of the Florida Society of Enrolled Agents.

What accomplishments would you like to see at NAEA, and how would you contribute to them?

 I would like to see NAEA be known as the premier organization for EAs. This success comes from recognizing change and positively changing. As an organization, it feels we are finally advocating for each other. Not just before our clients, state, and local government, but with each other. As a NAEA Director I would continue to advocate for my fellow Enrolled Agents and help the organization grow to be the “dynamic and diverse collaborative community”, we know only comes from change.

Julia Harvey, EA

Julia is the owner of International Tax Preparation and Consulting in Florida and provides tax compliance and advisory services for complex internationally connected situations since 2013.

Julia is an Enrolled Agent, Certified Acceptance Agent and NAEA NTPI Fellow she is also graduate of the Schuldiner Smollan Leadership Academy. Julia has served in volunteer leadership positions, as Treasurer for Greek Orthodox Church, President of Nevada Society of Enrolled Agents, NAEA Membership Committee Member, currently serves on the NAEA Affiliate Council Committee and NAEA Leadership Development Committee.

What accomplishments would you like to see at NAEA, and how would you contribute to them?

 I would like to see NAEA to continue to be a beacon for EAs all over the world, for all EAs: experienced or brand new, all ages, and all different fields of expertise. We are a special group of tax professionals because we have chosen Tax Law as our profession, regardless of what you do, tax prep, representation, planning, we are signatory to the Circ 230 the only tax professional who is just by the virtue of getting the licensure. Others chose either accounting or law, as their main “tree” and take the taxation as a branch of that tree, we are the “tree” and our branches are different fields we specialize in. We all have things that we can contribute, not only to the profession, not only to our practices, not only to the future EAs, not only to the association and to our local chapters and societies, but also to the respect and recognition of our knowledge and expertise as well as Enrolled Agent designation. We are a membership organization; we need to be involved in our organization because the only people we have to turn to is us. Difficult tax season, only another EA will “get” you; client who has impossible situation, only another EA will help you; getting ugly situation turned around, only another EA knows what it took and will congratulate you. Everyone knows to “consult your tax professional” but who does the “tax professional” consult? Another EA!

I would love to continue to inspire everyone to contribute to the NAEA by getting, being, continuing to be involved in the life of the association, as well as to mentor and to learn from my mentors to be the best EA possible, to lead and to inspire others to lead within association, society, chapters; to be proud and make sure everyone knows I am an Enrolled Agent, and we are American Tax Experts!

dannie lynn fountain (murphy) headshot
Dannie Lynn Murphy, EA

Dannie Lynn Fountain, DBA, EA, SPHR, CDR, is a Seasonal Tax Manager at Intuit TurboTax and a graduate of Albion College. She has been working as a tax professional for over 10 years and has extensive experience working with small businesses and side hustlers. She is a licensed Enrolled Agent and is a member of the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA). Dannie is a passionate storyteller who helps companies focus on people. By day, she’s a staffer at Google hiring the world’s most talented software engineers and by night she supports clients and brands with HR-focused diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies. She’s also a multipassionate human – beyond working in HR, Dannie Lynn is a five-time author and founder of the #sidehustlegal movement. She has been interviewed or quoted in the New York Times, Forbes, Bustle, Bloomberg, Business Insider, Cosmopolitan, Digiday, The Everygirl, Girlboss, and more. Dannie Lynn is also the author of Ending Checkbox Diversity, released on October 25, 2022.

What accomplishments would you like to see at NAEA, and how would you contribute to them?

I would like to see NAEA grow as an organization to better support Millennial and Gen Z tax professionals, as well as those tax professionals with a strong entrepreneurial mindset. NAEA has already named DEI as a priority – adding these two demographics as focus areas would position NAEA as a thought leader not only in tax education and support, but also in the broader business world.

  1. Side hustle and full-time entrepreneurship has not only exploded in the past decade (more than 6 million new side hustlers in the past 10 years), it is also a near-standard for Millennial and Gen Z professionals.
  2. Millennials and Gen Z professionals currently represent roughly 55% of the total workforce and this number will only continue to grow. If NAEA does not implement targeted and strategic plans to directly engage this segment of the professional world, our organization will suffer as a result.
  3. Millennials and Gen Z also represent the most diverse generations yet. Implementing strategic plans to address (1) and (2) while layering in an intentional and intersectional mindset will only serve to bolster NAEA’s ongoing success.

I would contribute to these plans for success through (a) my own skillset as an entrepreneur, (b) my research as a doctorate degree holder whose doctoral research focused on points (1) and (2), and through my own experiences as a human holding multiple marginalized identities.

John Perry, EA

John became an Enrolled Agent in 2012 and has been a member of NAEA and the Oklahoma Society of Enrolled Agents since 2013.  John passed the Tax Court exam in 2012 and was admitted to practice in 2013.  John is also a proud NTPI Fellow, class of November 2014.  He is an annual supporter of both the NAEA Education Foundation and NAEA PAC.

John is currently the President of the Oklahoma Society of Enrolled Agents and a member of the NAEA Board of Directors, as well as the at-large member of the NAEA Executive Committee. He also serves on the Education and Bylaws and Governance Committees and is the board liaison to the Awards Committee.  He attended the Schuldiner/Smollan Leadership Academy and the Affiliate Presidents’ Exchange in 2019.

What accomplishments would you like to see at NAEA, and how would you contribute to them?

Two years ago, I made it my first goal, and promised that it will be a continuing goal, to do everything I can personally to make the NAEA a welcoming organization for all individuals and encourage others to do the same. Our Association had in many ways developed into a toxic environment, one that many of our members would no longer abide. They simply would not put up with the criticism, snark, belittling, and downright meanness that permeated too many of our interactions. We are better now, due I believe to a collective effort on the part of many, many of us. But we’re not better enough. I would like to see us have success in getting a lot better. I will continue to work every day and, in every interaction, to make it better still. To the extent this little light of mine can shine, I will let it.

Nominee for Treasurer

Ed Ryan, EA

Ed to begin his career at the property and casualty insurance company of Investors Insurance Group in 1979, eventually achieving the position of Vice President/Controller. He was responsible for managing all of the company’s accounting operations, several private placements, the purchase and sale of related business entities, and the eventual sale of IIG. This gave him wide-ranging accounting experience that would serve him well when he eventually opened his own business.

While still working in his corporate role, Ed started doing taxes on the side when his children were young. He began to realize that working directly with clients brought him satisfaction he wasn’t getting in the corporate world, and this gave him the confidence to leave and start his own tax and accounting practice. In 1992, this business evolved into Ryan Financial, allowing him to serve both the tax and wealth management needs of families and small business owners like himself. He is an Enrolled Agent and an Investment Advisor Representative. He holds series 6, 52, 62, 63, and 65 licenses as well as life, health, property and casualty, and variable insurance licenses.

Both Ed’s professional success and community involvement demonstrate that he is a a natural leader. Since 2001 he has been an HD Vest (now called Avantax) Chapter Director, which means he regularly provides guidance to other financial professionals in the area. He has also been appointed to various leadership and mentorship roles within HD Vest/Avantax several times. Since 2010, Ed has been recognized as a top 75 advisor (out of over 3,300 advisors) at HD Vest/Avantax. He is also very active in his community, serving as Trustee of the William Carlos William Center, a non-profit corporation of the Arts, and a member of the Rutherford Downtown Partnership. Ed has also been a Director of the New Jersey Society of Enrolled Agents since 2012 and recently completed a term as its president. Ed has been a Director of the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA) since May 2022.

What accomplishments would you like to see at NAEA, and how would you contribute to them? 

Continue the path the finance committee has taken in the past year where we have timely reporting and forward looking finance goals. I would continue to lead this effort.