Leadership, Loss, and New Life
Brockport guided Jennifer Arbore '98 to her dream job, her lifelong friends, and lasting legacies.
When Jennifer Arbore ’98 started as a transfer student at SUNY Brockport, she struggled to find her calling.
That changed once she enrolled in an accounting course taught by Professor Gary Briggs.
“I stepped in his classroom, and he said, ‘Look to your left, and look to your right; you won’t see these people in a couple weeks.’ He was right,” said Arbore. “I was one of the few who chose to pursue accounting as a major. He helped me find my passion.”
As she progressed through her college career, Arbore did find her calling. A native of Spencerport, NY, she aspired to become a partner at a local accounting firm.
“In the accounting field, you see a lot of men in partner positions; at first, I didn’t think it was achievable,” she said. “I remember professors telling me, ‘Don’t let that scare you. You can do this.’”
Upon graduating, Arbore started her career specializing in audits at the regional accounting firm EFPR Group (formerly Eldredge, Fox & Porretti, LLP), in Rochester. Eleven years later, her goal came to fruition, and she was named the first female partner of the 30-year firm.
“Going into a firm that had no female partners was really daunting, but I took it as a challenge,” said Arbore. “I hope I’ve set a legacy for others looking to follow in my footsteps.”
Many of those following in Arbore’s footsteps are Brockport graduates. The College’s annual Accounting, Recruiting and Networking Event (ARNET), hosted by the School of Business and Management, brings together representatives from dozens of accounting firms and nearly 100 accounting students looking to explore professional opportunities.
“ARNET is one of my favorite things to do, because the pool of candidates grows and
gets stronger every year,” said Arbore. “Looking around my own office at the number
of awesome Brockport graduates I have helped hire is extremely rewarding.”
Along with current students, Arbore stays in touch with Briggs and a few of her former accounting classmates.
“Four of us in the accounting program [Shannon Adams ’98, Jackie Neilson ’98, and Rich Wood ’98] were pretty much inseparable. Even today, Jackie lives about three miles from me, and our daughters are the same age,” said Arbore. “We often joke about their future at Brockport together.”
Adams, who had landed his dream job in the World Trade Center in New York City, lost his life on 9/11. Nine years later, Arbore’s twin daughters were born on the anniversary of his death.
“His tie to Brockport and my tie to Brockport have remained in my family and in my continued friendships,” said Arbore.
In 2015, Arbore was appointed the audit department head of EFPR Group; in 2016, her partners elected her to be the first female partner to serve on the firm’s executive committee; and, in 2017, the same year she was awarded the Alumni Association’s Outstanding Service Award, she joined a new firm: The Bonadio Group.
Arbore hopes to achieve a leadership role and grow the health care tax-exempt practice within the firm, both locally and in new markets. In her attempts to balance work and family, she looks to her years at Brockport for inspiration.
“I have lasting memories, lasting friendships, and lasting knowledge. I’ve carried each of those throughout my personal and professional life,” said Arbore. “Brockport is a hidden gem I hope much of the world gets to find.”