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Kenneth Goldman: Jewish American Heritage Month

Ken Goldman, a Partner with more than 45 years of professional experience under his belt, has been a member of the MGO family for more than 11 years. He is a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a Jewish American. Both Ken Goldman’s maternal and paternal grandparents fled persecution in Eastern Europe in the 1910s and arrived at Ellis Island, off the coast of New York. Both of his grandfathers had their names changed on the way in. Although he has never been the direct target of any discriminatory acts because of his heritage, Ken almost opted not to share his story with MGO’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team. “With all of the anti-Jewish activity in the Los Angeles area and around the country, I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea,” he said. “However, after considering it, I think it’s more important than ever to show my pride in my heritage, in being Jewish.” Ken graduated from California State University Northridge in 1973 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and quickly learned after interviewing and being rejected by six of the Big Eight accounting firms that finding a prestigious job with a sub 4.0 graduating GPA would be more difficult than he thought. He then applied to four Jewish-owned CPA firms in Beverly Hills and Century City and received offers from all four. He chose a firm in Beverly Hills, though the offer was the least lucrative. “You won’t believe how much they paid me per month,” he said. “Only $700! But I liked the firm. I liked the people, and I knew that was where I wanted to be.” The firm grew rapidly, eventually merging with another firm that focused on serving the entertainment industry. Ken and his team were introduced to an exciting new area for growth. The accountant who started at $700 a month was now a leader at an $8 million firm. Ken has seen many changes in the profession — especially with the way firms conduct the hiring process. “When I was starting out, there were fewer Jewish hires than the percentage in the graduating class populations. It wasn’t necessarily overt discrimination, but it was definitely a foregone conclusion that if you were Jewish, you had a much rougher time finding a job,” Ken said. “Now, the hiring process, especially at MGO, is more sensitive to ethnicity and heritage.” Ken believes that employees of diverse backgrounds should embrace their heritage and bring it to the work environment. “Never change yourself to fit in with your groups, professional or otherwise,” said Ken. “But never shy away from connecting with people who are different.” At MGO, we believe that by embracing our differences we can strengthen our relationships.



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