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Brown Smith Wallace LLC

How to EnterCompany: Brown Smith Wallace LLC, St. Louis, MO
Entry Submitted By: Common Ground Public Relations
Company Description: Brown Smith Wallace is the second-largest locally owned full-service CPA and business advisory firm in Missouri with 200 employees. Brown Smith Wallace is the only CPA and business advisory firm that makes A Measurable Difference to its clients by delivering six measurable differences, which include providing a guarantee in writing.
Nomination Category: Individual Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Best Executive – Service Businesses – up to 2,500 Employees

Nomination Title: Donna Beck Smith, Partner at Brown Smith Wallace LLC

Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated executive during the eligibility period (up to 500 words):

Faced with the uncertainty of today’s economic climate, Americans would do well
to have more CPAs like Donna Beck Smith in whom to place their trust.  Donna, a
highly sought-after expert valuation witness, a national leader among accountants
and a Partner at Brown Smith Wallace as well as Director of BSW’s Financial
Advisory Services Group, possesses sterling character and an impressive, stand-
out résumé indicative of a life dedicated to the service of family-owned businesses
and publicly traded corporations alike.  What’s more, she beautifully embodies the
mental fortitude representative of the Stevie Awards.  Hers is a career punctuated
with accomplishment and well-deserving of recognition. 

She brings her experience as former Monsanto finance officer and former Allied
Healthcare Products finance officer to bear a unique combination of skills that has
led to her further success at BSW. In particular, her Financial Advisory Services
Group has seen marked growth. Under Donna’s leadership, the group has:
• Grown revenues nearly 10 fold in the last eight years
• Developed a team of highly qualified, results-oriented employees
• Expanded its offerings from divorce litigation and business valuation to include
fraud investigation and quantification; litigation support for commercial
litigation, employment litigation, personal injury/wrongful death litigation and bankruptcy
litigation; business interruption claims resulting from natural disasters and
accidents; white-collar crime investigations; valuations of businesses, business
interests, intangible assets, stock options and restricted stock for financial
reporting and tax purposes

Having built a formidable St. Louis-area practice, Donna continues to exemplify
leadership.  In the past twelve months, she has been called upon to give expert
testimony in two large business-litigation suits. These cases include:
• The recent $100M+ settlement related to the policy holders of General American
v. Goldman Sachs, wherein she worked closely with counsel for the policy holders
of General American, the plaintiff
• Structural Polymers Group v. Zoltek, which was the largest jury verdict of 2007
and was recently upheld by the Missouri Appellate Court
Of her professionalism, attorney Daniel C. Nelson, a partner with Armstrong
Teasdale, says, “Donna’s work is incredible; she is great in the courtroom and is a
consummate professional. What she does is essential and she has absolutely
distinguished herself from others in her field. She is my go-to person for her
analysis in business litigation.”

She is routinely published in business and trade journals, including:
• Missouri Lawyers Weekly
• The Valuation Examiner
• St. Louis Small Business Monthly
• Various Brown Smith Wallace publications

And, after having been accredited by the Missouri Society of Certified Public
Accountants, the American Society of Appraisers, the American College of
Forensic Examiners and the National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts,
Donna still strives to better herself, this year earning accreditation in Financial
Forensics from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

Donna also serves as one of 10 CPAs nationwide on the AICPA’s valuation
committee. With the two landmark lawsuits, the financial forensics accreditation
and most recently her appointment to vice president of the St. Louis Chapter of the
American Society of Appraisers in June, this year certainly has been a remarkable
one for Donna Beck Smith.  The year 2009, however, marks just another in a
series of 25 witnessing Donna’s storied achievements and contributions.  She
perennially gives back, serving as an active workplace mentor and offering
encouragement to fellow professionals at all levels. 

In addition to her designation as BSW’s first female partner, Donna readily shares
her expertise with professionals of all levels.  “I see first-hand how dynamic
she is in the work environment,” says mentee Robin Bell, a fellow CPA, “as well as how
she unbelievably manages to find the right balance of family, community and

A hardworking mother, she has made the time to give back not only to those
closest to her but also to the St. Louis area by:

• Serving as the Republican Party committee woman in the Missouri River
• Serving on Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital Foundation Board of Governors
• Serving on the board of Catholic Charities
• Serving on the board of the St. Louis Priory Mothers Club
• Serving as a founding member of Winning Women, a regional leadership group
that hosts empowerment events and provides professional education and
mentoring to motivated young women
• Suggesting and bringing about improvements to Boys Hope Girls Hope, whose
new fundraising strategy recently raised several thousand dollars
• Establishing the Cards for Kids program, benefitting Cardinal Glennon Children’s
• Initiating the Impact Board, a fund-raising arm of young professionals and
business people (under 30 years of age) for Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital

In everything, she remains an invaluable asset to the firm, to her clients and
to the public.

Donna Beck Smith is truly an executive of the highest caliber and a shining
testament to fair business dealings.  It is a joy to work with her, and it is my
sincere honor to nominate her for this decoration.

List the URLs (web addresses) of any online news stories, press releases, or other documents that you would like the judges to see that support your entry. IMPORTANT: List each URL on a separate line, begin each URL with http://, and enclose each URL in square brackets. For example, []:

Provide a brief biography of the nominated executive (up to 100 words):

Donna Beck Smith is a sought after financial advisor and consultant – a leader
within her firm and within her industry.   She is just one of 10 valuation experts
nationwide establishing and updating important industry standards as she serves
on the AICPA’s Business Valuation Committee.  She is routinely recognized by
her peers and is responsible for helping determine the direction of Brown Smith
Wallace, recently expanding the Missouri firm’s dealings westward to Kansas City
and north to Chicago.  Donna graduated first in her class from Saint Louis
University and has earned many important accreditations throughout her career,
while also serving in many volunteer roles in her profession and community.