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Accounting for Impact

March 28, 2021 Ali Pfeiffer
Amelia Sebastian CoB Alum

For tax and accounting professional Amelia Sebastian, working in the finance world was a no-brainer. “I took accounting in high school, and…loved it….I knew what I was going to do.”

With that goal in mind, Amelia attended the University of Louisville College of Business and graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, majoring in accountancy. Since graduation, Amelia has spent the last 14 years growing, professionally and personally. She became a certified public accountant (CPA) in 2008, married her husband, Sean, and had two children, Sawyer and Andrew. She’s also worked her way up the tax professional ranks of Dean Dorton, a regional accounting firm based out of Kentucky.

“I actually got my job while I was in school,” she says. “The Ulmer Career Center in the College of Business was fantastic. I got set up with all the interviews; I didn’t have to go anywhere…it was all on campus.”

As a student, Amelia took advantage of all that UofL had to offer, from taking a weightlifting class as an extracurricular (“It was just nice to have something active, not sit at a desk all day”), to joining and becoming president of the UofL chapter of Beta Alpha Psi. The accounting, finance, and CIS student organization provided her the chance to get acquainted with her future career field and develop a passion for giving back.

“We would have different firms or companies come in and talk to us about what they do, we would do community service projects, we would go to the regional and national conferences — I loved it,” Amelia says. The range of opportunities provided by Beta Alpha Psi allowed her to start making connections for her post-student life. “When I went through my recruiting senior year, [I had met with everyone] at some point already.”

Upon graduating and starting her career in tax services, Amelia continued fostering a passion for personal and professional development through multiple projects rooted in service. In 2016, she participated in Ignite Louisville, where she established lasting connections — one being a network of professionals that she says she can call up anytime for help. The second was the organization their Ignite project centered around — Hand in Hand Ministries, a local non-profit focused on connecting those in need to housing, education, and healthcare resources. Amelia continues to volunteer there to this day.

Amelia has carried this dedication to community building into the workplace. She helps manage the new hire program at Dean Dorton that helps students get their public accounting career started, enjoying the chance to watch their progress in those first few years. She’s also a performance coach and a member of the community outreach committee. Though her desire to give back wasn’t quite sated with just workplace and community involvement.

“I had a great experience at UofL and [thought] ‘How can I give back to the College of Business?’” Amelia kept an eye out in the years since graduation, looking for the right way to get involved with her alma mater. When a survey went out a few years ago about starting a College of Business Alumni Council, she jumped at the chance to get involved. Though COVID put the Council’s big plans on pause, she’s still very excited about the possibilities the group will have in impacting students. “My passion is helping out, like how can alumni pair up with current students now? That was my main interest.”

Amelia knows the impact an individual can have by utilizing their experiences to benefit others, academically, personally, and professionally. Her academic career was fully lived through impactful mentorships (she cites former COB instructors Prof. Christy Burge, Dr. Julia Karcher, Dr. Betty Brown, as well as School of Accountancy Director, Bill Stout, PhD as lasting influences), a range of class options to offer new experiences, and extracurricular activities that enabled her to engage with the world around her. Amelia’s professional career has encouraged her to grow and advance in her field while seizing any chance of expanding her skillset and returning the favor to others.

Having seized all the opportunities she could, Amelia encourages students and alumni alike to do the same. “Just reach out [to the College of Business] and see what they need. If there’s something you’re really passionate about, say, ‘Hey, I really like mentoring students, is there a way I can help do that?’ Take different classes and see what you like…take something you don’t know anything about and learn something new.”

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