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Business Ocotillo woman first in AZ to win national SBA award

From living on a sailboat to running an award-winning business, Ocotillo’s Carolyn J. Brown has enjoyed a wide variety of life and business experiences.

CEO of The Accountant’s Office, LLC, Brown is the first woman business owner in Arizona to be honored as the Small Business Administration’s 2010 National Women in Business Champion.

Brown says she is “honored and humbled” by the recognition. A whirlwind trip to the nation’s capitol included a reception at the State Department, a black-tie gala at a Washington, DC five-star hotel where she received her award and a private winners’ reception at the White House’s Rose Garden, where President Barack Obama welcomed the group. “It was an experience of a lifetime,” Brown adds. It was during National Small Business Week, and the President’s remarks centered around the theme of the event: “Small Business: Driving America’s Economy.” Brown says he stressed the important role of small businesses in fueling our nation’s recovery and praised small business owners for their hard work and willingness to take risks. He says about 60 percent of all workers in the U.S. are employed by firms classified as small businesses.

Brown was selected for her years of support and advocacy for small businesses in general and women-owned businesses in particular.

“I have a passion for helping small business owners succeed,” says Brown. “Who knew you could get an award for doing what you love!”

Photo courtesy Cable Risdon Photography

A FIRST: Carolyn J. Brown, CEO of The Accountant’s Office in Chandler, receives the 2010 National Women in Business Champion Award from SBA Administrator Karen Mills.

Her effectiveness in improving the environment for the creation and expansion of businesses owned and operated by women is one of the things that made her the judges’ choice. Another factor in the decision was her firm’s offerings that support and enhance business ownership.

In nominating Brown for the award, Donna Davis, CEO of Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA), emphasized her leadership abilities. “Carolyn is a well-respected leader and role model to many women in the Valley.

I would describe her as a ‘make it happen’ leader who sparks action in others. She has encouraged many women to go further than they thought they could go.”

The administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Karen Mills, praised Brown for her accomplishments. “Your hard work, innovative ideas and dedication to your community have helped you succeed,” she said. “The SBA is pleased to be able to recognize your achievements and your role in driving our nation’s economic growth.” The SBA district director for Arizona, Robert Blaney, added his congratulations, and, with his wife, made the trip back east for the ceremony.

“Carolyn has been a very involved member of this community for a number of years. She is a person of values. This award speaks to her character and her tenacity to be in business.”

Brown spent five years living on a sailboat in San Diego with her late husband, Larry, who died of cancer in 2003. She’s owned accounting and computer services firms since 1973 and has worked with businesses in real estate, medical, manufacturing, retail and service firms and homeowners associations.

Her company was a finalist for the Better Business Bureau Business Ethics Award last year – “Next year we hope to win that one,” she says – and was selected as the 2008 Business Owner of the Year by the National Association of Women Business Owners, Phoenix Metro Chapter (NAWBO Phoenix), for which she is a past president.

The Accountant’s Office, LLC, founded in 2001, provides full-outsource accounting services for small business and personal bill paying services for individuals nationwide in a totally virtual and paperless environment. Seven women, including her daughter, Melanie B. Johnson, work at the firm. For additional information, visit or the company’s blog at Contact Brown at 480-219-4285 or

June 19 - July 2, 2010


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