Brandy Vannoy, MAC ’99: Third Annual Distinguished Alumni Award Winner
By Eliana Chow
During its annual celebration on November 4, the Jenkins MAC Program at NC State’s Poole College of Management recognized Brandy Vannoy, MAC ’99, as this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award winner.
Praised for her exemplary leadership at Johnson Lambert and her constant care for people in and out of the workplace, Vannoy embodies Poole’s interpersonal and professional values. “Brandy checked every single box on our list of characteristics we look for to determine a winner,” says Kelly Ward, who served as head of the selection committee as a MAC alumna and is the talent curator for Interim Executive Services. “There was no doubt in our minds that she deserved this high recognition for her innovative leadership, active community service and commitment to giving back to the MAC program.”
A Spirit of Innovation
After graduating from NC State, Vannoy launched her career in the prestigious world of Big Four accounting with a tax role at KPMG. After nearly five years with the firm, she was eager for a change of pace and transitioned to Johnson Lambert, a smaller firm that only had a two-person tax team at the time. The firm was on the cusp of emerging as a major player in the accounting industry, and Vannoy played an instrumental role in building a full tax team from the ground up.
Now, 17 years later, the tax practice of Johnson Lambert is the fifth largest property and casualty auditor, according to a list of top audit and actuarial firms in the 2020 edition of Best’s Review. With more than 20 full-time employees, Vannoy’s team has a strong presence in the nonprofit and employee benefit plan industries. From hiring and retention to training and mentoring younger professionals, Vannoy is front and center in the mission to achieve greater organizational growth. “Often, it’s hard to see where you fit in at a large firm with thousands of employees,” Vannoy reflects. “But in a smaller company, the workplace culture is more personal, and you have the chance to watch your work produce tangible results.”
Vannoy and her team work hard to cultivate a collaborative and supportive office environment. They consistently check in on each other, go out for team lunches and celebrate the end of busy season with more laid-back gatherings. They also emphasize mentorship across different roles on the team, with a focus on learning from one another regardless of their job title. “A happy team is also a more productive team,” Vannoy says. “In our connected culture, I have the opportunity to understand what makes a tax team thrive and help bring our values to life.”
Building a Road to Success
Reflecting on the steps that brought her here, Vannoy is grateful to the MAC program for equipping her with the motivation and work ethic to persevere through cyclical busy seasons and ever-changing tax laws. Her professors always went the extra mile to prepare Vannoy and her peers to succeed in their professional trajectories, she says. “Beyond teaching the technical skills I would need for the industry, my professors instilled in me an anchored readiness to establish myself and my team as caring leaders in the field.”
Paying It Forward
Outside of the workplace, Vannoy plays an active role in her church community, participates in the PTA at her children’s school and volunteers with several community organizations. “Among the many bright candidates for this alumni distinction, Brandy stood out as being someone who never hesitates to help the people around her,” says Ward.
Vannoy also remains a faithful member of the MAC community. Currently, she and her team at Johnson Lambert recruit the majority of their internship and full-time associate roles from Poole. Vannoy and her husband also established a generous scholarship to empower future generations of MAC students and recognize the humble dedication of Poole faculty. “I’m honored to be in a place in my career where I can actively pay it forward,” she reflects. “It’s a privilege to give other students the opportunity to pursue their dreams and receive an excellent education from the professors who played such a pivotal role in shaping my own path.”