Leslie Murphy

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Leader & Innovator
President and CEO of Murphy Consulting, Inc., in Ann Arbor. Murphy Consulting provides services to businesses and professional firms in the areas of corporate governance, enterprise risk management, and programs dedicated to the advancement of women in leadership roles. Murphy also serves as a director of Kelly Services Inc., VSP Global, and the Detroit Legal News Corp., as well as such charitable organizations as St. John Providence Health System, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, Early Childhood Investment Corp., Children’s Leadership Council, and Covenant House of Michigan. Previously, she was chair of the board at St. John’s, where she oversaw several initiatives, including a system overhaul providing several million dollars in savings, hiring a new CEO, and the opening of a new hospital. Murphy is a retired partner and former member of the senior leadership team of Plante & Moran, the nation’s 12th largest public accounting and management consulting firm. Her positions included group managing partner in charge of all client services. She co–founded the firm’s Personal Tightrope Action Committee, whose groundbreaking policy recommendations helped Plante & Moran win recognition as one of Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For. In 2005, Murphy became only the third woman to chair the 350,000–member American Institute of Certified Public Accounting (AICPA). She continues her service as a member of the AICPA Governing Council, the subcommittee on enterprise risk management of the assurance services executive committee, and the subcommittee on relations with the judiciary. In 2012, she received AICPA’s gold medal for distinguished service, the highest individual award within the profession. Murphy’s other recognitions include the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce Fusion Group’s Horizon Award for Professional Services; the American Society of CPAs’ Woman CPA of the Year; an inclusion in Crain’s Detroit Business Most Influential Women in Southeastern Michigan and Health Care Heroes; CPA magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential Practitioners; and Accounting Today’s Top 100 Most Influential People. She received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Michigan and has honorary doctorates from Walsh College and Cleary University.

WHERE BORN: “Detroit.”

MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS: “My mother. We had a family with four girls and a boy, and my father was concerned that we wouldn’t have enough money to go to school. Dad said we have enough for the boy. Mom said girls have just as much opportunity and need it to be independent and make their own choices. She went back to work and they helped each of us as much as they could. For work, it was Frank Moran, co–founder of Plante & Moran. He was a philosopher by background and believed that if you motivated people through what’s important to them and play to their strengths, they’d be more successful and the firm would be more successful.”

LAST BOOK READ:Maya’s Notebook by Isabel Allende.”

WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ME: “I am interested in contributing to the success of others. I enjoy strategic challenges, complex business issues, and the intersection of business strategy and human talent. For me, it is all about impact in my board work (corporate and nonprofit), consulting, and professional activities. My background has prepared me with skills to analyze complex business challenges through a financial lens, and to couple that with my strategic insight and understanding of human and organizational dynamics.”

WHERE MY FIELD/INDUSTRY IS HEADED: “Consulting and board service capabilities are skills that are definitely in demand. Leaders of organizations increasingly recognize that they need perspective from those not involved in day–to–day operations, who offer diversity in experience and capability. I expect demand to continue to grow.”


FAVORITE PLACE: “My home, filled with family and friends. If not home, anywhere in Italy.”

FAVORITE HOBBIES: “Traveling, reading, and hiking.”

FAVORITE FOOD: “Italian, of course.”

MY HIDDEN TALENT: “I get things done. I provide a blend of a strategic, future oriented thinking and practical, action-oriented implementation capability. I am always driving toward action.”

HOW I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED: “As a loving family member and friend who utilized her professional capabilities to give back and contribute to the greater good.”