When Maho Jordan first joined Ernst & Young after earning a degree in international relations from California State University, Long Beach, she didn't intend to stay long. She just wanted to have some firm experience: Her ultimate goal was to work in international diplomacy. That was 24 years ago.

Jordan, 45, is still with the accouting firm, serving as an international tax partner. Earlier this year, she was named people team leader for the Pacific Southwest region, working out of the firm's Los Angeles office.

What changed Jordan's mind and career path was some encouragement from her manager and mentor at E & Y.; He said she should stick around because she could become a partner someday if she really applied herself.

"His encouraging words really made
an impression and made me think someday I could do that," Jordan said. "It's important to have a great mentor in anyone's career."

As people team leader, she is responsible for creating a diverse work environment filled with talented personnel from various backgrounds.

"My greatest challenge is recruiting and retaining the best possible talent and the most diverse talent in order to provide our clients with the highest quality services," said Jordan, whose duties require her to spend a large chunk of her schedule with human resources.

Jordan said she finds her career rewarding, particularly in being involved in the firm's promotion process. She enjoys seeing employees move up to partner status.

"I took this position thinking that this would be my way of giving back and paying it forward, providing more opportunities for younger generations," Jordan said. "As the people leader in the firm, watching people grow and achieve their potential is the most rewarding experience."

Jordan was born in Japan and moved to Los Angeles when she was 14. She lives in Orange County with her husband, Earl, and 14-year-old cocker spaniel McKenzie. In her free time, she likes to fly-fish, tango dance and play the piano.

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