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Women in Business

How Elliott, Robinson & Company’s First Female Partner Cultivates Confidence

Amanda Kastler discusses the importance of mentorship and community.

By Lillian Stone

Sep 10 2018 at 4:35 p.m.

Amanda sits at her desk across from a client, smiling
Photo by Brad ZweerinkBeing the only female partner at Elliott, Robinson & Company LLP, Kastler feels committed to helping other women in their journeys toward success.

When Amanda Kastler made partner at Elliott, Robinson & Company LLP in 2014, she was the only woman in the room. She still is, actually—Elliott, Robinson & Company has seven partners, six of whom are male and three of whom are 60 or older. “It was a little overwhelming,” Kastler says. “I was at the table with people who had much more experience than I did, and I was the only woman.” 

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According to Kastler, a little self-confidence went a long way to set her up for success. Now, she’s committed to propelling other women to success in the financial realm. That starts with helping the firm’s younger employees know their worth. “Self-confidence is key,” Kastler says. “You have to trust why you’re there and believe in the things you have to offer.”

Amanda presents in front of a crowd at Ladies Who Launch event
By Brad ZweerinkKastler speaks on her experience in a male-dominated field at Biz 417's inaugural Ladies Who Launch on July 19 at Hickory Hills Country Club.

Kastler acknowledges that self-confidence can be challenging to cultivate, particularly for younger and less experienced individuals in a high-pressure field like finance. That’s where mentorship and community come in. Outside of its partners, Elliott, Robinson & Company has 45 employees, only three of whom are male. According to Kastler, that’s a common scenario in accounting firms, with women representing around 75 percent of accounting program graduates. For that reason, it’s especially important for Elliott, Robinson & Company’s employees to build each other up through the firm’s internal mentorship and community initiatives. “We provide the resources and internal support for our female employees to get to where they want to go,” Kastler says. Those resources include a mandatory mentorship program along with several more casual initiatives like the office book club.

Kastler’s advice for young women looking to climb the career ladder is simple: Find your people. “I have surrounded myself with some incredible women who have supported me,” Kastler says. “They’ll be honest with me, but they always want me to succeed. That’s the trick—to surround yourself with constant cheerleaders.”