July 26, 2019
Meet A Matriot: Darci Congrove
By day, she’s managing director of GBQ Partners and co-owner of the German Village Guest House, by night (or at least many nights!) she’s serving area non-profits on boards, volunteer committees and by hosting fundraisers – for which she was honored as a 2019 Woman of Achievement.
1) You are a Matriarch and Founding Member of The Matriots PAC. Can you share with our members why you think The Matriots’ vision for more women in elected office is the solution to today’s political rancor?
The U.S. was founded as a representative democracy. Simply stated, a representative democracy is a system of government in which all eligible citizens vote on representatives to pass laws for them. It only makes sense to me that we should elect representatives who actually reflect the amazing diversity of our voting citizens – on the basis of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, wealth, education, etc. The U.S. is not a country of white men, so there is no reason that those chosen to represent “us” politically should be primarily white men. Additionally, research conducted by Goldman Sachs and the World Bank, amongst others has shown that when women are fully engaged in a society through education, participation in the economy, or representing others in a government, the measures of a healthy society are noticeably improved.
2. In 2010 you became the first female managing director of GBQ Partners, a Columbus -based accounting firm. Why do you think it is important to have more women in positions leadership? And what advice do you have for our members hoping to climb their own respective career ladders?
More than 50% of the American population are women. 47% of the American labor force are women. In my own profession, 50% of the accounting degrees earned in the U.S. for the last 20 years have been awarded to women. It’s honestly hard to understand why we still have to ask this question. We ought to instead ask, “Why aren’t half of our leaders in business (and government and nonprofits and everywhere) women?” Young people need to “see it to be it.” Women striving to succeed in their careers need to build a team of sponsors – both men and women – who can give them advice and advocate for them. Nobody succeeds alone.
3. You are actively involved in the Columbus community, serving on the board of the Columbus-Franklin County Finance Authority, Board member of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, Treasurer of Committee4Children. You’ve been recognized as a leader in the Columbus community, most recently recognized as a 2019 YWCA Woman of Achievement. And on top of that – we hear you are a fantastic cook! How do balance all of your involvements? And what initiatives are you excited about in the Columbus community?
I let the idea of balance go a long time ago and stopped keeping track of how much time I should spend on any one thing. I simply focused on doing the things that need to be done and that made me feel good. I have found that it generally works out fine to mix work and community involvement and friends and hobbies and fun into one big pot and enjoy all of it. I’ve currently found an intersection in my community service that aligns around education, workforce and addressing poverty. My volunteerism with the E3 program at United Way and on the workforce committee at the Columbus Chamber inform one another, and I know from my time on the board of the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio that poverty has a disproportionate and devastating impact on women and their children. This broad topic feels like a good place to focus for now.
4. The Matriots endorsed 34 women in 2018 and 9 running in May primary elections in 2019. Can you tell our members about a candidate who inspires you and why?
In the 2018 endorsement cycle, The Matriots endorsed Stephanie Summerow Dumas for Hamilton County Commissioner. I heard Stephanie give a very brief speech, all of which was about commitment and hard work and her own belief that if she just did what was right and worked hard, she could help others. Her words have been stuck in my head ever since.
5. Now for something fun: Tell us about your favorite thing to do in the great state of Ohio. It could be a hobby, a favorite place to eat or something we might not know about our state!
My very favorite thing to do is host parties. I love planning, decorating, cooking and making people happy through enjoyment of food, drinks and friendship. We generally have at least four big parties a year and a lot of little ones along the way as well.
Sharon Sweda is Changing the Game