When Kasey Henry received an introductory e-mail from Kate Urmeneta at the beginning of her career with YPTC, she wasn’t expecting to gain a best friend.

On that initial e-mail exchange, Kasey recalled, “We kept finding all these things in common, and I found it so weird because I’m from this tiny town of less than a thousand people in the middle of nowhere in East Texas and Kate is from the Bronx. What are the chances that we would meet via YPTC and have all of these things in common with such different backgrounds?”

Kasey was raised in Texas and earned her bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M. Upon graduation, she spent two years in Maryland before moving to Louisiana, where she and her husband remained for a decade before returning to Texas.

During those years, Kasey worked with various regional public accounting firms as an auditor. While at one of those firms in Baton Rouge, she began working heavily within their nonprofit niche and volunteering at charitable organizations in her free time.

“I got to a point in my career where I decided that I wanted to work exclusively with nonprofits. At the time I was looking in Baton Rouge and there wasn’t anything that felt like a right fit, and I wanted to move back to Texas anyway. So, I started looking in Houston and found another public accounting firm that focused exclusively on nonprofit clients, which was exactly what I was looking for at the time,” she said.

In 2017, Kasey flew to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants nonprofit conference in Washington D.C. and was formally introduced to Your Part-Time Controller, LLC—a longtime supporter and sponsor of AICPA’s not-for-profit conferences. After seeing YPTC’s sponsorship booth, Kasey was curious to learn more and looked the company up online.

As fate would have it, YPTC soon opened its Houston location—right around the time Kasey realized she needed to make a change. After a short search, Kasey once again found YPTC, and finally had the opportunity to apply. She officially started as an Associate in May 2018.

Kate’s background was indeed much different than Kasey’s. When she was six months old, her parents emigrated from the Philippines to New York City. She grew up in the Bronx, and only left the borough to attend Boston University as an undergraduate—an experience she remembers being as wonderful as it was formative for her future.

“Attending college in a town with so many other colleges was amazing. But after, I was thinking about what I wanted to be when I ‘grew up.’ I knew I loved math and loved talking to people. I didn’t think accounting was a viable career path for me—back then, it was very much ‘you could be a doctor or a lawyer,’ and actually, it was my mom that came up with the idea of being an accountant,” she said.

Kate took her mother’s advice and secured her first job out of school in public accounting, where she remained for 10 years. She then moved into the corporate side of the industry as a Controller at a boutique financial funding company before entering the nonprofit sector.

This “life-changing” turn led Kate to her position as Chief Financial Officer at the New York City LGBT Center for two and a half years, and then subsequently the Managing Director of Accounting at Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC). While Kate was drawn to the ethos of working with nonprofits, she wanted to utilize the unique blend of skills she acquired in corporate and public accounting. Kate credits her wife for finding YPTC during a LinkedIn search on her behalf. Once the two reviewed the finer aspects of the open Associate position in New York City, they realized that it sounded like a perfect fit for Kate’s desire to work with nonprofits in a client-centric setting. After applying and receiving an offer from YPTC’s Talent Acquisition team, Kate officially settled into her role in March 2018.

From the get-go, Kate made it a point to make all YPTC’s new hires feel welcome, including Kasey Henry. “I’m replying to all of these e-mails, and I saw [Kasey’s]. Not only did we both love cats, but we also both had a cat named Lily. Not only did we love theater, but we also loved the same shows. Not only did we love food and eating out, but two of our favorite restaurants in New York City were also the same. We just kept peeling these layers and finding out more about each other, and we were finding out that we weren’t only work friends, we were legitimate, real friends,” she said about sending her initial e-mail to Kasey.

The two were, and remain, real friends. What started as an e-mail pen pal relationship evolved into periodic trips to one another’s home states, the meeting of spouses (and cats), and chances to collaborate at YPTC.

One of the most important is YPTC’s Equity Committee. This internal coalition, which was formed in 2020, amplifies the causes and work of YPTC clients, supports YPTC’s Culture of Equity where differences are valued, and ensures equitable practices within the company. Kate was an inaugural co-chair and Kasey is a current co-chair of the committee. Kasey also served as an Equity Panel moderator at this past year’s Block Training, which is YPTC’s annual two-day training event.

According to Kate and Kasey, their friendship and ability to join forces continue to rely on YPTC’s culture of strong relationships. Both have won titles for exemplary efforts in this area, so it’s no surprise that they look forward to how they will connect with co-workers and clients in the future. “There is something freeing in feeling like you can be authentic at work, and I think that helps foster friendships and closeness among coworkers. Additionally, Kate and I have opportunities to collaborate with one another and with so many other colleagues doing work that is near and dear to both of us through the Equity Committee, as ambassadors for new hires, and through clients. It’s great to see the direction we as a firm are headed in, and I’m excited to see what is to come,” remarked Kasey.

Kate added, “Understanding the value of strong relationships ensures that we connect with both our clients and our YPTC colleagues. At YPTC, there isn’t a culture of competition, like I found in public accounting and in the corporate world. Like Kasey mentioned, we can be our authentic selves and that means genuinely supporting and championing each other. Plus, not only is there a traditional vertical growth path, but YPTC also allows us to explore a horizontal growth path. Being able to raise my hand and say I have the capacity to take on something new, like the Equity Committee, is really empowering.”

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